GEC Scenario #7: Distant Collaboration

This sample scenario is from a collection of 70+ Global Engineering Competency (GEC) scenarios developed for instructional and assessment purposes. For more information, including links to usage tips and other supporting resources, visit our About page.

You are a junior R&D engineer based in California, working for a major multinational corporation in the information technology sector. You are paired with a senior engineer, Lily Chen, to lead a new project. Since she is located in Shanghai, your collaboration mainly occurs online. Lily usually looks tired during weekly videoconferences with your workgroup, and says very little even when important aspects of your project are discussed. Yet she frequently sends you e-mail messages the day after these meetings to explain why certain ideas won’t work or recommend alternate courses of action. Given her stature and expertise, you think Lily should take a more active role during the meetings. How would you handle this situation?

  1. Request a change to the meeting schedule so Lily doesn’t have to get up too early or stay up so late.
  2. Tell Lily that she should do something about her fatigue during the meeting and suggest that she could get a cup of coffee or something.
  3. Arrange for Lily to visit your facility so she can get to know the rest of the group in person.
  4. Schedule a one-on-one meeting with Lily to let her know your concerns and encourage her to speak up.
  5. During each teleconference, ask the team leader to announce that constructive criticism is more than welcome, and everyone’s opinion is valued.
  6. Try to schedule follow-up meetings with Lily after each videoconference so you can solicit her feedback.

Recommended Uses: INSTRUCTION/TRAINING (see our GEC Resource Guide for additional guidance)

Citation: Jesiek, B. K. and Woo, S. E. (Eds.). (2018). GEC Scenario #7: Distant Collaboration. Retrieved from

License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. 1160455 and 1254323. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. We also acknowledge support for this work from Purdue's Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment and Research (CILMAR).