Identity Formation in International Virtual Teams (IVTs)

Research Project

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christian Scholz (Chair for Business Administration, in particular Organization, Human Resource Management, and Information-Management at University of Saarland). In cooperation with Volkswagen AG / Dr. Peter Hartz. Financially supported by the Volkswagen Foundation.


If the chairman of the board of VW corporate group plans to align the corporate group more centralized and to decrease federalism (as reported in Manager Magazin in September 2002), this reflects a general challenge: Globalization and extreme market pressure lead to the necessity to build up flexible, extremely value-adding structures and to control them. Despite of all existing centrifugal forces, effective cooperation, common goal-achievement and a common appearance in respect to the customers have to be guaranteed.


IVTs are „international virtual teams“: They are working all over the globe and have a specific project task which has to aim for profit for the corporate group. Their working structures exceed time zones and geographic distances. They are flexible and are changing their team configuration fairly often. Most notably, they are difficult to direct.

Research Objective

How can a common identity for teams/projects be formed for worldwide operating, flexible teams (so called „IVTs“)? Which practically oriented mechanism are existing regarding this question? How can an overall integration of locally spread, culturally diverse team members in direction to the common idea be enforced?

Pilot Project

The first „pilot project“ which is financially supported by the Volkswagen Foundation, deals with the topic of identity formation in international virtual teams. The research aims for a identity concept and derived recommendations regarding effective value-adding identity formation mechanism for organizations, e.g. virtual integration platforms.

Research Design

The research design includes theory orientated liturature-work and empirical analysis at selected international locations. International virtual teams are evaluated through the individual behavior of their team members at the decentralized units and through the overall team performance.


The result of the pilot project is a German/English publication. This book will popularize the project results to a expert public. The book will be supplemented by articles about IVTs in professional journals.
Book published 2005: Identitätsbildung: Implikationen für globale Unternehmen und Regionen ISBN-No: 3879888922

Project Team

Prof. Dr. C. Scholz
Dr. V. Stein
B. Kiock
Dr. K. Trauernicht
University of Saarland
University of Saarland
University of Saarland
Volkswagen AG

First Impressions

Dr. Stein and the Chinese sea cucumber! You understand: „international research“ holds many new, exceptional experience!


This means „International, Virtual Teams“ in chinese!