The current study measured the influence of national culture, anonymity levels, and technological support (CMC and non-CMC) upon participation input and participation equality within and between forty-two U.S. and Mexican groups constituting a total of 469 participants. Results indicate that both U.S. and Mexican groups supported by CMC technology (i.e., group support systems) were more productive in generating participation input than corresponding manual groups. While U.S. manual groups generated more unique or non-redundant ideas than U.S. CMC groups, Mexican CMC groups in contrast, generated more unique ideas than Mexican manual groups. With regard to perceived participation equality, U.S. groups indicated no differences between treatments while Mexican CMC-identified groups reported higher perceived participation equality than Mexican manual groups. With regard to actual participation equality, Mexican CMC groups generated higher actual participation equality indices than manual groups while U.S. groups reported no differences between treatments. A comparison of results between cultures revealed that U.S. groups in general, generated more comments and more unique ideas than corresponding Mexican groups particularly when participants were identified and not anonymous. However, Mexican CMC groups perceived higher participation equality levels than corresponding U.S. CMC groups. Mexican CMC groups that were anonymous generated higher actual participation indices than corresponding U.S. groups. Interactive effects were found between national culture and technology in comparing actual participation equality indices between U.S. and Mexican groups. The study addresses an important gap in the use of CMC technology across different cultures and how technology and national culture may interact to affect group participation within organizational setting.
computer mediated communication, cross-cultural, CMC, participation, participation equality, Group Support Systems, GSS
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