International cultures of collaboration: a MicroSoft/Verizon study

A new survey from Microsoft and Verizon says that web collaboration is making a significant impact on workplace productivity around the world. While both companies have lots of collaboration tools they’d like to sell you, I think the survey they commissioned has some interesting finds to consider.

One was a 3 to 1 preference for working with teams, but doing that work from home! I have to admit, I love working from home – but I also love face to face time. It’s indispensable. I don’t think that goes without saying anymore, either.

Check these excerpts from the international comparisons:

“As for the regional differences, American professionals were more likely to enjoy working alone, and prefer to send e-mail rather than calling a person or leaving a voice mail message. They are also more comfortable with audio, video and Web conferencing technologies than people of other regions and tend to multitask the most when on conference calls.

Europeans thrive on teamwork more than their counterparts elsewhere and prefer to interact in real time with other people. They are more likely to feel it is irresponsible not to answer the phone and want people to call them back rather than leave a voice mail message. Professionals in the Asia-Pacific region, more so than anywhere else, want to be in touch constantly during the workday. As a result, they find the phone to be an indispensable tool and prefer instant messaging to e-mail. ”

Sounds like something that could behove us all to keep in mind when communicating internationally – but how true are these statements? Robin Good told me in a recent conversation that making statements about all Americans was like making statements about all fish. Personal observations re cultural differences in communication would be more than welcome…

Of all the collaboration technologies that were studied,3 three were more commonly present in high-performing companies than in low-performing ones: Web conferencing, audio conferencing and meeting-scheduler technologies. Web conferencing was cited by respondents as the most commonly present tool. (High vs. low performance was based on a split for companies based on their performance index, which was derived from items measured in the questionnaire.)