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The Role of the Individualism-Collectivism Dimension in Distance Learning Environments: An Empirical Study

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3 Author(s)

With increasing reliance on outsourcing, cross-cultural teams, distributed knowledge workers, and other international collaborations distance learning (DL) has become a key agent of strategic competitive advantage and organisational renewal. This study stresses the importance of culture to DL success. To effectively use DL, we must understand the role culture plays in conceptualizing, inventing, and adapting this technology. We focused on Hofstede's individualism-collectivism dimension and asked whether it impacts perceived satisfaction and learning climate, known measures of DL effectiveness. We find that collectivistic groups enjoy more than individualistic groups the learning climate of a DL environment yet are not as Satisfied as individualistic groups with the overall results. We contend that this is because the open-endedness of asynchronous communication gives collectivistic groups simultaneously a sense of connectedness to their peers and a sense of disconnectedness from the instructor. Organizations will increase the benefits of DL by providing choices that embrace cultural differences.

Published in:

System Sciences, 2009. HICSS '09. 42nd Hawaii International Conference on

Date of Conference:

5-8 Jan. 2009