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In the competitive market , virtual teams represent a growing response to the need for fasting time-to- market, low-cost and rapid solutions to complex organizational problems. Virtual teams enable organizations to pool the talents and expertise of employees and non-employees by eliminating time and space barriers . Nowadays, companies are heavily investing in virtual team to enhance their performance and competitiveness. Despite virtual teams growing prevalence, relatively little is known about this new form of team. Hence the study offers an extensive literature review with definitions o f virtual teams and a structured analysis of the present body of knowledge of virtual teams. First, we distinguish virtual teams from conventional teams , different types of virtual teams to identify where current knowledge applies. Second, we distinguish what is needed for effective virtual team considering the people, process and technology point of view and underlying characteristics of virtual teams and challenges they entail. Finally, we have identified an d extended 12 key factors that need to be considered, and describes a methodology focused on supporting virtual team working, with a new approach that has not been specifically addressed in the existing literature and some guide line for future research extracted.
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Aus tralian Jo urna l of Basic and Applied Sciences, 3(3): 2653-2669, 2009
ISSN 1991-8178
© 2009, INSIn et Pu blicat ion
Corre spondin g Author: Nader Ale Ebrahim, Department of Engineering Design and Manufacture, Faculty of Engineering,
Universit y of M alaya 50603, Lembah Pant ai, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Email: aleebrahim@p
Virtual Teams: a Literature Review
Nader Ale Ebrahim, Shamsuddin Ahmed and Zahari Taha
Department of Engineering Design and Manufacture, Faculty of Engineering, University of Malaya
50603, Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur , Malays ia
Abstract: In the co mpetitive marke t , virtual teams represent a growing res pons e to the need for
fasting time-to-ma rket , lo w-cost an d ra p id s o lu tions to co mp lex orga n ization a l p ro b lems . Virtual te ams
en a b le org anizat io ns to pool th e talen ts and expertise of employe es an d no n -e mp lo yees by elimin ating
time and s pace b arrie rs . No wad a y s c o mpanies are h e avily inves t in g in v irt u a l team t o enhan c e the ir
performance and competitiveness. Despite virtual team growing prevalence, relatively little is known
ab o u t this new fo rm of te am. He n ce th e s tudy offers a n extensive lit erature rev ie w with de f in it io n s
of virtual teams and a structured analysis of the present body of knowledge of virtual teams. First,
we d isting uish virtual tea ms from con ventional teams, different types of virtual teams to identify
where current knowledge applies. Second, we dis tingu ish what is needed for effective virtual team
considering the people, process and technology point of view and underlying characteristics of virtual
teams and challenges the entail. Finally we have identified an d exten d ed 12 key factors that need to
be considered, and describes a methodology focused on supporting virtual team working, with a new
approach that has not been sp ecifically ad dres s ed in the existing literatu re and s ome guide line for
future research extracted.
Ke y wo r ds : Virt ual te am, Lit erat ure review, Effective virtua l team,
Research on virtual teams is still in its nascent stages (Badrinarayanan and Arnett, 2008, Prasad and
Akhilesh, 2002) and because of the relative newness o f v irt u al t eams, many areas of research have not been
examined (Bad rinaray a nan an d A rnet t, 2008). Cama rin h a-M a tos and Afs a rmanesh (2003) co n clude th at, s ettin g -
up an in fras tructu re fo r virtu a l t e a m s till requires a large enginee rin g e ffort, wh ich represents a ma jo r o b s t acle
for the implantation of this new paradigm. Effective and efficient cooperation across disciplines and distributed
teams becomes essential for the success of engineering projects (Zhang et al., 2008). Therefore the experiments
s uggest th a t more research is n e eded t o explo re the ways to e n h ance the performance o f v irt u al te ams (El-
Tayeh et al., 2008).
Org a n ization s are c u rren t ly facing impo rta n t and u n p re ceden t ed ch a llenges in an e ver dy n amic, co n s ta n tly
ch a n g in g and co mp lex en v iro n ment (Rezgui, 2007). Economic a ctiv it y o f all types is moving in th e directio n
of glob a lization (Acs and Preston, 1997). Zhouying (2005) supports, the economic and technological gap
between develop ed and develo p in g c o u ntries can largely be explained by the gaps in the levels of so ft
technology and soft environments between the two sets of countries. As a result this matter should taking into
account. With the rap id dev elopment of electronic information and communication media in the last decades,
distribute d work h as beco m e m u c h easier, fa s ter and more e fficie nt (He rt el et al., 2005). Responding to the
increa s in g d e-centralization an d g l o b a li zation o f wo rk proce s s es , many organiza tions have res ponded t o their
dy namic en vironments by introd ucing virtual teams that collaborate by co mmunication tec h n o lo g ies acro ss
geo g rap h ical, temp o ra l, c u ltural an d o rg a n izatio n a l b oundaries t o a c h i e v e co mmo n goal in t h eir org anizatio n s
outputs. Virtual teams are growing in popularity (Cascio, 2000). Additionally, the rap id development of new
communication technologies such as the internet has accelerated this trend so that today, mos t o f the larger
o rgan iza tion emp lo y s v irtu al tea ms t o s o me degree (Hertel et al., 2005). Informatio n tech n o lo g y is p ro v id in g
the infrastructure necessary to support the development of new organization forms. Virtual teams represent one
such organizational form, one that could revolutionize the workplace and provide organizations with
unprece d ente d level of flexibility an d re s p o n s iv e n es s (Powe ll et al., 2004). Virtual teams are important
mechanisms for organizations seeking to leverage scarce resources across geographic and other boundaries
Aust. J. Basic and Appl. Sci., 3(3): 2653-2669, 2009
(Munkvold and Zigurs, 2007). Now complex p rod u cts are designed much more collaboratively with the
suppliers being involved in the design process. The production of a new car for example involves different
companies in the s upp ly chain acting more as p artners in a jo in t manufacturing exercise (An ders on et al.,
2007). However by co mp aris o n in today s compe titive g lo b al ec o n o my, o rg a n izatio n s capab le of ra p idly
creating virtual teams of talented people can respond quickly to changing bus in ess environments. capabilities
of this typ e o ffer organ iza tions a form of compet itive ad v antag e (Be rg ie l et al., 2008). Virtu al teams represent
a large pool of new product know-how which seems to be a promising source of innovation. At present, except
for open source software, little is known about how to utilize this know-how for new product development
(Fuller et al., 2006a).
The main sections of the paper will discuss the finding s fro m the literature survey in a number of areas.
There are sections discussing what virtual team is, definitions, types, examples, benefits and drawbacks, virtual
teams and its benefits and drawbacks. Last sections provide the basis for a summing up section describing what
are effective virtual team and a number of key challenges that are now faced. The next section dis cu sses the
definitio n o f v irt u al tea m.
What Is Virtual Team?
Vi rtual Teams: Orig ins and Trend s:
While work teams were used in the U.S. as early as the 1960s, the widespread use of tea ms and q u ality
circles began in the Total Quality Management movement of the 1980s. In the late 1980s and early 1990s ,
many companies implemented self-managing or empowered work teams. To cut bureaucracy, reduce cycle time,
and improve service, line-level employees took on decision-making and problem-solving responsibilities
traditionally res er v ed for management. By the mid-1990s, increas ing numbers of compan ies s uch as Goodyear,
M otorola, Te xas In s tru ments, and Gen eral Elec tric h a d b e g un expo rting the team c o n cept to their foreign
affiliates in Asia, Europe, and Latin America to integrate global human resource practices (Kirkman et al.,
2001). Now, due to communication technology improvements and continued globaliza tion, virtual teams have
increased rapidly worldwide (Kirkman et al., 2002). This era is growing popularity for virtual team structures
in organizations (Walvo ord et al., 2008, Cascio, 2000). Mart in s et al. (2004) in a major review of the literature
on virtual teams, con clude that ‘with rare exceptions all organ izational teams are virtual to s o me extent. W e
have moved away from working with p eo ple who are in our v isual proximity to working with p eo ple around
the globe (Johnson et al., 2001).
Definition of Virtual Team:
Literature related to virtual teams revealed a lack of depth in the definitio n s . Although virtual teamwork
is a cu rrent topic in t h e lite ra ture on global o rg a n ization s , it has b e e n p ro b l e ma tic to d efin e wh a t ‘virtual’
means across multiple institutional contexts (Chudoba et al., 2005). The concept of a “team” is described as
a s mall nu mb e r o f p e o p le with c o mp l e me n t a ry s kills wh o are eq u a lly committ ed to a common pu rpose, goals ,
and working approach for which t hey h o ld themselves mutually accountable (Zenun et al., 2007). It is worth
mentioning that virtual teams are often formed to overcome geographical or temporal separations (Cascio and
Shurygailo, 2003). Virtual teams work across b oun daries of time and s p ace b y utilizin g modern computer-
driven te c h n o lo g ies . The te rm “ virtual te am” is used to cover a wide rang e o f a ctivit ies and forms o f
technology-supported working (Anders o n et al., 2007). Virtual teams are comprised of members who are
located in more than one physical location. This team trait has fostered extensive use of a variety of forms
of comput er-me d iated communica tion tha t enab le geographic ally dispers ed memb e rs to c o o rd in ate t h eir
individual efforts and inpu ts (Peters and M anz, 2007).
Gassmann and Von Zedtwitz (2003b) defined “virtu al team as a group of people and sub-teams who
interact through interdependent tasks guided by common purpose and work across links strengthened by
information , co mmunication, and transpo rt techn ologies. A nother defin it io n sugges ts that virtual teams, are
distribute d work teams whos e memb e rs are g e o g ra p hically d is p e rs ed a n d coordinat e their work p red o min a n tly
with electronic information and communication technologies (e-mail, video-conferencing, telephone, etc.) (Hertel
et al., 2005), differen t authors hav e identified diverse. From the pers p e ctive of Leenders et al. (2003) virtual
teams are groups of individuals collaborating in the execution of a specific project while geographically and
often temporally distributed, possibly anywhere within (and be y o n d ) their parent organization. Lurey and
Raisin g h ani (2001) defined virtual teams - groups of people who work together although they are often
dispersed across space, time, and/or organizational boundaries. Amongst the different definitions of the concept
of a virtual team the following from is one of the most widely accepted: (Powell et al., 2004), ‘‘we define
virtu al teams as g roup s of g eo graphically, organizationally and/or time disp e rs ed workers b rought to gether by
information tech nologies to accomplish one or more organization tasks’’.
Aust. J. Basic and Appl. Sci., 3(3): 2653-2669, 2009
The degree of geographic dispersion within a v irtual team can vary widely from having one member
located in a different location t h a n t h e res t of the team to having each member located in a differen t country
(St aples and Z h ao, 2006). A long with Bal an d Teo (2001a) it c o u ld b e c o n c lu d e d that a tea m will be come
virtual if it meets fou r main common criteria and other characteristics th a t a re s u mmarized in Table 1.
Geographically dispersed teams allow organizations to hire and retain the best peo ple regardless of location.
T h e te m p o rary aspect of the team ap p e ars les s e mp hasized (Lee -Kelley and Sa nkey, 2008) a lthough (Bal a n d
Teo, 2001a, Paul et al., 2005, W o n g and Burton, 2000) included temporary in virtua l team d e fin ition but s ome
authors like Gassmann and Von Zedtwitz (2003b) us e may be temporary for some team members .
Table 1: Co mm on criteria of virtual team
Characteristics of Descriptions References
virt ual team
Comm on criteria Geographically dispersed (over different (Dafoulas and Macaulay, 2002, Shin, 2005, Wong and
tim e zones) Burton, 20 00, Nem iro, 200 2, Peters and M anz, 200 7, Lee-
Kelley and Sankey, 2008)
Driven by common purpose (Bal and Teo, 2001a, Shin, 2005, Hertel et al., 2005,
(guided by a common purpose) Gassmann and Von Zedtwitz, 2003b, Rezgui, 2007)
Enabled by communication technologies (Bal and T eo, 2001a, Nemiro, 2002, P eters and Manz, 2007,
Lee-Kelley and Sankey, 2008)
Involved in cross-boundary collaboration (Bal and T eo, 2001a, Gassmann and Von Zedtwitz, 2003b,
Rezgui, 2007, Precup et al., 2006)
Other characteristics It is not a permanent team (Bal and Teo, 2001a, Paul et al., 2005, Wong and Burton,
2000, Cascio and Shurygailo, 2003, Leenders et al., 2003)
Sm all team size (Bal and T eo, 2001a)
Team member are knowledge workers (Bal and Teo, 2001a, Kirkman et al., 2004)
Team members may belong to different companies (Dafoulas and Macaulay, 2002, Leenders et al., 2003)
A s u mmary of the defin it ion of virtual te am may b e taken a s : s ma ll temp o rary g r o up s o f g e o gra p h ic ally,
organizationally and/or time dispersed knowledge workers who coordinate their work predominantly with
elec tro nic informat ion and co mmun ication techno logies in ord er to acco mplish on e or more org an ization tasks.
Types of Virtual Team:
Generally, we can differentiate variou s forms of “virtual” work depend ing on t h e n umber o f persons
involved and the degree of interaction between them. The first is “telework (telec o mmuting) wh ich is done
partially or completely outside of the main company workplace with the aid of information and
teleco mmun ication s ervices .”Virtual groups“ exist when several teleworkers are combined and each member
reports to the same manager. In contrast, a “virtual team” exists when the members of a virtual group interact
wit h e a c h o ther in order to accomplish common goals. Finally, “virtual communities” a re larger entit ie s o f
dist r i b uted work in wh ic h members particip ate v ia the in t ernet, guide d b y common pu rposes, ro les and norms .
In contrast to virtual teams, virtual communities are not implemented within an organizational structure but
are us ually initiated by so me of their members. Examples o f v irtu a l commun ities are Open Source s oftware
project s (Hertel et al., 2005). Telewo rking is viewed as an alternative way to organize work that involves the
complete or partial use of ICT to enable workers to get access to their labor activities from different and
remote lo catio n s (Martine z-Sanch e z et al., 2006). Tele work pro v id es cost s av i n gs to emplo y e es b y elimina ting
t ime - cons uming commu t es to ce n tral offices and o ffers employ e es mo re flexibility to co -o rdinat e th e ir w o rk
and family responsibilities (Johnson et al., 2001). Cascio and Shurygailo (2003) have clarified the difference
form o f v irt u al t e a m b y c lass ify in g it with res pect to two primary variable s n a mely, the n u mb er o f lo catio n
(on e o r more) and the numb e r o f ma n a g e rs (one or more) Table 2 illus trates this g rap hically. Therefore th ere
are four cat egories of teams :
1. Te lewo rkers : A s in g le manag e r o f a team a t one lo catio n
2. Remote team: A s ingle ma n ager of a te am distribute d across mu ltiple lo c atio n
3. M atrixed tele wo rkers : M u ltiple man ager of a te am at o n e locat ion
4. M atrixed remote teams : Multiple managers across multiple lo catio n s
Table 2: Forms of Virtual Teams (Cascio and Shurygailo, 2003)
One Multiple
Locations One T eleworkers Matrixed Teleworkers
Multiple Remote Team Matrixed Remote Teams
Aust. J. Basic and Appl. Sci., 3(3): 2653-2669, 2009
Computer mediated collaborations (CM C) is als o u sed to encompass asyn chronous interactions throug h
a collaborative workspace, as well as e-mail, instant messaging, and synchronous interactions using a system
that incorporates desktop videoconferencing, shared workspace, chat and other features (Rice et al., 2007). On
the other hand extended enterprise concept in parallel with the concurrent enterprising looks for how to add
value to the product by incorporating to it knowledge and expertise coming from all participants on the product
v a lue ch ain (Sorli et al., 2006). Collaborative networked organizations (CNOs) are complex entities wh o s e
proper u n d e rs tan d in g , d es ig n , imp lemen t ation, an d ma nageme n t require th e integ rat ion of d iffe re n t modelin g
perspectives (Camarinh a-M a to s and A fs armanes h, 2007).
Examples of Uses of Virtual Team:
Working in tod ay’s b usiness world is like working in a world where the s u n ne ver s ets . Rezg u i (2007)
investigates the effectiveness of virtual teams, and any other suitable form of virtual collaboration, in the
construction s ector and explores the factors that influence their succes s ful adop tion. May an d Carter (2001)
in their case study of virtual team working in the European automotive industry have shown that enhanced
communication and collaboration between geographically distributed engineers at automotive manufacturer and
supplier sites make them get benefits are better quality, reduced costs and a reduction in the time-to-market
(between 20% to 50%)fo r a n ew p rod u c t vehicle. New product d evelopm e n t (N P D ) req u ire s t h e collab o ra tion
of new p ro d u ct te am memb e rs b o t h wit h in and outs ide t he firm (M artin e z-San c h ez et al., 2006, McDonough
et al., 2001, Ozer, 2000) and NPD teams are necessary in almost all businesses (Leenders et al., 2003). In
addition, the pressure of globalization competition companies face increased pressures to b u ild critical mass,
reac h n ew ma rke ts , a n d plug s kill g aps , NPD efforts are inc re as in g ly being p u rsued a cro s s multip le natio n s
through all forms of organizational arrangements(Cummings and Teng, 2003). Given the resulting differences
in time zones and p h y s ica l d is tan ces in s u ch efforts , v irt ual NPD pro jects are rec eiving increa s in g atte n tion
(McDonough et al., 2001). The use of virtual teams for new product development is rapidly growing and
org an izations can be dependent on it to s ustain competitive ad vantage (Taifi, 2007).
On the oth er h and, virtualit y h ave b een presen ted as one s olu tion for small and med iu m en terpris es (SMEs )
aiming to increase their competitiveness (Pihkala et al., 1999). The SMEs are one of the sec tors that have a
strong potential to benefit from advances in ICTs and the adaptation of new business modes of operation. The
combination of explos ive knowledg e g ro w th and inexpensive information tran s fer creates a fertile s oil for
unlimited virtually invention (Miles et al., 2000).
Benefits and Draw Back of Virtual Team:
During the last d eca d e, wo rds such as “virtual”, “virtualization”, “virtualized” have been very often
advocated by scholars and practitioners in the discussion o f social and economic issu e s (Vaccaro et al., 2008)
but the advantages and pitfalls of virtual team is concealed. The availability of a flexible and configurable base
infras tructure is on e o f th e main ad vantages of agile virtual teams. A nderson et al. (2007) suggest that the
effect iv e us e of commun ic ation , especia lly during the e arly s tages o f th e team’s deve lo p ment, play s an e q u ally
importan t ro le in gain in g and maint aining trust. Virtu a l R& D t eams wh ich membe rs do not work at th e s a me
time or place (Stoker et al., 2 0 0 1 ) o f t en face t ight sched u les and a n e ed to s tart q u ickly and perform ins tantly
(Munkvold and Zigurs, 2007). Virtual team may allow people to collaborate more productivity a t a distance,
but t h e tripe t o coffee corner or across the ha llway to a trus ted c o lleag u e is s t ill the mo s t relia b le an d e ffec tive
way to rev iew and rev ise a n e w id e a (Ga s s ma n n and Von Zedtwitz, 2003a). As a drawback, virtu al teams are
particularly vulnerable to mistrust, communication break downs, conflicts, and power struggles (Rosen et al.,
2007). On the other hand, virtual teams redu ce time-to-market (May and Carter, 2001). Lead time or time to
market h a s b e e n g enerally a dmitte d to be o n e of the mos t impo rta n t keys fo r s ucc es s in manufactu rin g
companies (So rli et al., 2006). Table 3 summarizes some of the main advantages and Table 4 some of the
main disadvantages associated with virtual teaming. We are in a transient phase that is pushing out beyond
th e env e lo pe o f team fundamentals into a space where we begin to lose track of reality (Qureshi and Vogel,
2001). Cle arly the rise of net work tec h n o logies has made the use of virtual teams fea s ib le ( Be ranek and Martz,
2005). Finally organizational and cultural barriers are another serious impediment to the effectiveness of virtual
teams. Many managers are uncomfortable with the concept of a virtual team b ecau se successful management
of v irtual teams may requ ire new methods of s upervision (Jarvenp aa and Leidner, 1999).
Forming and performin g in v irtual teams is useful for projects that require cros s -functional or cross
boundary s killed input s a n d the key t o their valu e crea t i o n is to hav e a de fin e d s t ra teg y in p lace t o o vercome
th e issues highlighted, especially the time zones and cultural issues. While communication could be seen as
a traditional team issue, the problem is magnified by distance, cultural diversity and lang u a g e or accent
Aust. J. Basic and Appl. Sci., 3(3): 2653-2669, 2009
Table 3: some of the main advantages associated with virtual teaming
Advantages Reference
Reducing relocation time and costs, reduced travel costs (Virtual (McDonough et al., 20 01, Ri ce et al., 2007, Bergiel et al., 2008,
teams overcome t he li mi tati ons of time, sp ace, and organizational Cascio, 2000, F ul ler et al., 2006b, Kankanhalli et al., 2006, P rasad
affiliation that traditional teams face (Piccoli et al., 2004)) and Akhilesh, 2002, Olso n-B uchanan et al., 2007, B oudreau et al.,
1998, Biuk-Aghai, 2003, Liu and Liu, 2007, Lipn ack and Stamps,
Reducing time-to-market [Time also has an almost 1:1 (Lipnack and Stamps, 2000, May and Carter, 2001, S orl i et al., 2006,
correlation with cost, so cost will likewise be reduced if the Kankanhalli et al., 200 6, Chen, 2008, S hachaf, 2008, Kusar et al.,
tim e-to market is quicker (Rabelo and J r., 2005)] 2 004, Ge and Hu, 2008, Mu lebeke and Zhen g , 2 0 0 6 , G u n i š et al.,
2007, Prasad and Akhilesh, 20 02, Zhang et al., 2004, S ridhar et al.,
Able to digitally or electronically unite experts in highly (Rosen et al., 2007)
specialized field s working at great dis tances from each other
More effective R&D continuation decisions (Cummings and Teng, 2003, Schmidt et al., 2001)
Most effective and rapid in making decisions (Hossain and Wigand, 2004, Paul et al., 2004b, Bal and Gundry,
Able to tap selectively into center of excellence, using the best (C riscuolo, 2005, Cascio, 2000, Samarah et al., 2007, Fuller et al.,
talent regardless of location 2006b, Furs t et al. , 20 04, Badrinarayanan and Arnett, 2 008, P rasad
and Akhilesh, 2002, Boudreau et al., 1998, B ou tell ier et al., 1998)
Greater degree of freedom to individuals involved with the (Ojasalo, 2008, Badrinarayanan and Arnett, 2008, Prasad and
development project Akhilesh, 2002)
Greater productivity, shorter development times (McDonough et al., 2001, Mulebeke and Zheng, 2006)
Producing better outcomes and attract better employees, Generate (Martins et al., 2 004, R ice et al., 2007, C hen et al., 2008b)
the greatest competitive advantage from limited resources.
Useful for projects that require cross-functional or cross boundary (Lee-Kelley and Sankey, 2008)
skilled inputs
On time implementation of the tasks assigned, Less resistant (Precup et al., 2006)
to change
Integrating talent in newly industrialized
Facilitating transnational innovation processes (Gassmann and Von Zedtwitz, 2003b, Prasad and Akhilesh, 2002)
Higher degree of cohes ion (T eams can be org anized wheth er or
not mem bers are in proxim ity to one ano ther) (Kratzer et al., 2005, Cascio, 2000, Gaudes et al., 2007)
Evolving organizat ions from pro duction-orient ed to service
/information-oriented, Faster response times to tasks,
Providing flexible hours for the employees,
More sense of responsibility is more developed (Johnson et al., 2001, P recup et al., 2006)
Provide organizations with unprecedented level of flexibility (Powell et al., 2004, Hunsaker and Hunsaker, 2008, Chen, 2008,
and responsiveness Guniš et al., 2 007, P rasad a n d A k h i l e sh , 2002, P ihkala et al., 1999,
Piccoli et al., 2004, Liu and Liu, 2007)
Perform their work without concern of space or time constraints (Lurey and Raisinghani, 2001)
Sel f-assessed performance and high performance. (Chudo ba et al., 2005, Poehler and Schumacher, 2007)
Optimize the contributions of individual members toward the (Samarah et al., 2007)
completion of busin ess t asks and organizat ional goal
Reduce the pollution, Creates and disperses improved (Johnson et al., 2001)
business processes across organizations
T he ratio of virtu al R &D mem ber publications exceeded (Ahuja et al., 2003)
from co-located publications
The extent of informal exchange of information is minimal (Pawar and Sharifi, 1997, Schmidt et al., 2001)
(virtual teams tend t o be m ore task oriented and exchange
less socio emotional information
Can manage the development and commercialization tasks (Chesbrough and Teece, 2002)
quite well
Respond quickly to changing business environments (Bergiel et al., 2008, Mulebeke and Zheng, 2006)
Improve communication and coordination, and encourage (Chen et al., 2008a)
the mutual sharing of inter-organizational resources and
Team communications and work reports are available online to (Cascio, 2000)
facilitate swift responses to the demands of a global market.
Em ployees can b e assi gned to m ultipl e, concurrent teams; dynam ic
team membership allows people to move from one project to
another. E mployees can m ore easily accomm odat e both personal
and profession al li ves
Cultivating and managing creativity (L een d ers et al., 2003, Prasad and Akhi lesh, 2002, Atuah e n e- Gi m a,
2003, Badrinarayanan and Arnett, 2008)
Sharing knowledge, experiences; Facilitate knowledge capture (Rosen et al., 2007, Zakariaet al., 2004, Furst et al., 2004, Merali and
Davies , 2001, S ridhar et al., 2007, Lipnack and Stamps, 2000)
Aust. J. Basic and Appl. Sci., 3(3): 2653-2669, 2009
Table 3: Continue
Improve the detail and precision of design activities (Vaccaro et al., 2008)
Provide a vehicle for global collaboration and coordination (Paul et al., 2005 )
of R&D-related activities
Allow organizations to access the most qualified individuals (Hunsaker and Hunsaker, 2008)
for a particular job regardless of their location.
Enable organizations to respond faster to increased competition (Hunsaker and Hunsaker, 2008, Pauleen, 2003)
Better team outcomes (quality, productivity, and satisfaction) (Gaudes et al., 200 7, Ortiz d e G u i nea et al., 2005, Piccoli et al., 2004)
Higher team effectiveness and efficiency (May and Carter, 2001, Shachaf and Hara, 2005)
Reduce training expenses, Fas ter Learning (Pena-Mora et al., 2000, At u ah en e-G ima, 200 3, Badrinarayanan and
Arnett, 2008)
Greater client satisfaction (Jain and Sobek, 2006)
Table 4: some of the main disadvantages associated with virtual teaming
Dis advantages references
Sometimes requires complex technological applications (Bergiel et al., 2008, Badrinarayanan and Arnett, 2008)
Face-to-Face collaboration (FFC) appears to be better (Cascio, 2000, Hossain and W igand, 2004, Kankanh alli et al., 2006,
developing a con ceptual understan ding of a problem Rice et al., 2007)
(lack of physical interaction)
Decrease monitoring and control of activities (Pawar and Sharifi, 1997)
Everything to be reinforced in a much more structured,
form al process (Lurey an d Raisi nghani, 2001).
Vulnerable to mistrust, communication break downs, conflicts, (Rosen et al., 2007, Cascio, 2000, Kirk man et al., 2002, T aifi, 2007,
and power struggles Baskerville and Nandhakumar, 2007)
Challenges of project managem ent are m ore relat ed to the (W ong and B urto n, 2000, M artinez-San chez et al., 2006,
dis tance between t eam m embers than to their cultural B adrinarayanan and Arnet t, 2008, J acobsa et al., 2 005).
or language differences
Challenges of determ ini ng t he appro priate task technology fit ( Q u res h i an d Vo g e l , 2001, Ocker and Fjerm estad , 2008 , Gri ffi t h et
al., 2003, Badrinarayanan and Arnett, 2008, Bell and Kozlowski,
2002, Pawar and Sharifi, 2000)
Challenges of managing conflict (Hinds and Mortensen, 2005, Ocker and F jerm e st ad, 2008, Kayworth
and Leidner, 2002, Piccoli et al., 2004, Wong and Burton, 2000,
Ramayah et al., 2003)
Cultural and functional diversity in virtual teams lead to (Bell and Kozlowski, 2002, Griffith et al., 2003, Shachaf, 2005,
differences i n the mem bers’ th ought processes. Jacobsa et al., 2005, Paul et al., 2005 , Poehler and Schumacher,
Develop trust among the members are challenging 2007, Kankanhalli et al., 2006, Badrinarayanan and Arnett, 2008,
Munkvo ld and Zigurs, 2007, Bo utellier et al., 1998)
Will create challenges and obstacles like technophobia (Johnson et al., 2001)
(employees who are uncomfortable with computer and
other telecomm uni cations technologi es)
Variety of practices (cultural and work process diversity) (Chudob a et al., 2005)
and em ployee m obi lit y negatively impact ed performance
in virtual teams.
Team members need special training and encouragement (Ryssen and Godar, 2000)
difficulties. For migration or similar large-scale projects, personal project management competency, appropriate
use of technology and networking ability, willingness for self-management, cultural and interpersonal awareness
is fundamentals of a successful virtual team (Lee-Kelley and Sankey, 2008).Thomas an d Bos trom ( 2005) foun d
that a technology facilitator role can be critically important to virtual team success.
Virtual a nd Traditional Teams:
Unlike a tradition al team, a virtual tea m w o rks ac ross space, time and organizational bo und aries with links
s trength ened b y webs of communica tion te chnologies . Howe ver, many of the b es t practic es fo r t ra d itional t eams
are s imilar to t h os e fo r v irt u al tea ms (Bergiel et al., 2008). Virtual teams are s ignifican tly different from
traditional teams. In the proverbial traditional team, the members work n e xt to one another, while in virtual
teams they work in different locations. In traditional teams the coordination of tasks is straightforward and
p e r f o rmed by th e members of the te am to g e ther; in v irtu al tea ms , in c o ntrast, tas ks mu s t be much mo re h ig hly
s tructu red . Also, v irtual te ams re ly o n elec tro n ic co mmu n icatio n , a s o p p o s e d to face -t o -fac e commun ic ation
in traditional teams. Table 5 summarizes thes e dis tinctions (Kratzer et al., 2005). In particular, reliance on
computer-mediated communication makes virtual teams unique from traditional ones (Munkvold and Zigurs ,
Kratzer et al. (2005) research shows that traditional R&D teams have become rare. The processes used
by successful virtual teams will be different fro m those used in face-to-face collaborations (FFCs) (Rice et al.,
2007). In a n innovation network resembling a “trad ition al” organ ization, th e innovation process is more
Aust. J. Basic and Appl. Sci., 3(3): 2653-2669, 2009
Ta bl e 5: Virtual an d traditional teams are usually viewed as op posites
Fu lly T raditional T eam Fu lly Virtual T eam
Team members all co-located. Team members all in different locations.
T eam m embers com m uni cate face-to-face
(i.e., synchronous and personal) Team members communicate through asynchronous means.
T eam m embers coo rdinate team task tog ether, in mut ual The team task is s o highly structured that coordinati on b y team
adjustment. members is rarely necessary.
res tricted by location and time. In other words , th e inno vation process mostly takes place within the framewo rk
of physical offices a n d working hours. In virtual organizations, individuals’ work is not restricted by time and
place, and communication is strongly facilitated by IT. Such a p ro du c t d evelopment environment allows a
greater degree of freedom to individuals involved with the development project (Ojasalo, 2008). Hence
multinational companies (MNC) are more likely to become tightly integrated into global R&D net work than
smaller unit (Boehe, 2007). Distributed teams can carry out critical tasks with appropriate d e cis io n s upport
technologies (Chen et al., 2007).
Yip and Dempster, (2005) in their study realized that perhaps the most important lesson is that the internet
help s co mp a n ies to be b o th global a n d local a t t h e s ame time. It is p o s s ible t o derive th e virtual teams
s ubs titute wit h in ternet . T h e in t e r n e t can fa cilitat e th e collab o rat ion of diffe re n t peo p le who a re in v olved in
pro duct developmen t, increase the speed an d the quality o f new prod uct t e s t in g a n d validation and improv e
th e effe ctiven es s a n d the e fficie ncy of product d e v elopmen t and lau n ch (M a rt i n e z- S a n chez et al., 2006). Rice
et al., (2007) found that the adoption of formal procedures and structured processes significantly increased the
effective n ess of virtual teams. (Arranz and Arroyabe, 2008) point out that geographical dimension is not a
variable that impact s s u b s tantially on the typology and objectives of R&D cooperation, in contrast with the
results highlighted in the literature review that they h ave d o n e. Virtual teams have more effective R&D
co n t in u ation d e cis ions than fac e-to-fa ce te ams beca u s e virt u a l t e a m has asynch ronous commun ic ation a n d it
allows for more time for diges tion and reduces th e p ress u re o f group c o n fo rmity (Cummings and Teng, 2003).
Phy sic al vs. V irtua l:
(Pa war an d Sharifi, 1997) s t u d y o f v irtu a l vers u s colloca ted te am s u cce s s and c las s ified p h y s ic al te ams
versus virtual teams in s ix categories. Table 6 su mmarizes these differences .
Ta bl e 6: classifying physical teams versus virtual teams
Activity Ph ysi cal team s nature Virtual teams nature
Nature of interaction opportunity to share work and non-work the extent of informal exchange of information is
related informat ion mi nim al
Utilization of resources Increases the opportunity for allocation and each collaborating body will have to have access to
sharing of resou rces sim il ar technical and non-technical infrastructure
Control and accountability the project manager provides the context for The collaborating bod ies we re a cco u ntabl e to the task
(over and wit hin the project): ongoing monit orin g of activities and events leaders and the proj ect coordinat or who had l im ited
and thus enhances their ability to respond authority to enforce any penalties for failure to
to requirements. achieve their tasks
Working environment they encountered constraints accessing sometimes not abl e to sh are ideas or dilemmas with
information and interacting with others other partners.
outside the collocated team within the company
Cultural and educational mem bers of the team are likely to h ave sim il ar and the team members v a ri ed i n t h e i r ed u c a t i o n , culture,
background complementary cultural and educational language, time orientation and expertise
Technological compatibility: situated and operating within a single organization, compatibility between different systems in
faces m inimal inco mp atibility of the coll aborating o rganizations ought to b e negotiated at
technological systems the outset
M os t likely, virtual t eams will n o t to t ally replac e conv e n tional t eams. A lthough virtu a l t e a ms are an d will
co n t in u e to b e an importan t and nec es s a ry type of wo rk a r r a n g e ment, th e y are not a p p ro p riate for all
circumstances (Nemiro, 2002). Lurey and Raisinghani (2001) b as e o n virtual teams survey in 12 separate
virtual t eams from eigh t diffe re nt spons or companie s in th e high tec h n ology found that, o rg anizatio n s choo sin g
to implement virtual teams s hould fo cus much of their efforts in the same d irection th ey would if they were
implementing traditional, co-located teams. Hossain and Wigand (2004) conclude that ICT-enabled v irtual
collaboration would be effective with the existence of face-to-face commun icatio n support and would lead to
higher levels of satisfaction in collaboration. Diversity in national background and culture is common in
trans national and virtual teams (Staples and Zhao, 2006). Pas t res earch has found that interaction in computer-
mediated communication environments is more impersonal, more task oriented, more businesslike, and less
Aust. J. Basic and Appl. Sci., 3(3): 2653-2669, 2009
friendly than in face-to-face settings (Schmidt et al., 2001). Akgü n et al (2008) found that the use of ICT had
a positive influence on the knowledge base team's performance.
Challenges for Virtual Team:
Virtual teams face particular challenges involving trust (Malhotra et al., 2007, Bal and T eo, 2001b, Paul
et al., 2004b) which is a key element to build s uccessful interactions and to overco me s elfish interes t s ,
effect iv e c o mmu n i c a tion (Beranek and M artz, 2005, Du s t d ar, 2004) th at is ev e n mo re critica l fo r s ucce s s in
the virtual setting (Shac h af and Hara, 2005), deadlines (Jarvenpaa and Leidner, 1999), and team cohesiveness
(Dineen, 2005). W hile there are great advantages that co me with the adoption of the virtual teams, new
challenges rise with them (Precup et al., 2006). Ca s c io (2000) declared that there are five main disadvantages
to a virtual team: lack of physical inte raction, loss of face-to-face synergies, lack of trust, greater concern with
predict ability a n d reliability , a n d lack of s ocial in t e r a c t io n . I n building a v irt u al te am, all of thes e is s ues mus t
be at leas t implicitly addressed in order to have an effective virtual team (Hun s aker and Hunsaker, 2008).
Virtual teams are challenged because they are virtual; they exist through computer mediated communication
technology rather than face-to-face interactions (Gaudes et al., 2007, Hardin et al., 2007). Sometimes they
report to d ifferen t s u p erv is o rs and t h ey functio n as empowered profes s io n a ls who are expe cted t o us e their
initiative and reso urces to contribute to accomplishment of the team goal (Hunsaker and Hu nsaker, 2008).
Fewer opportunities for informal work- and non-work-related conversations may form challenges to virtual team
(Furst e t a l., 2004). Fu rt h ermo re, v irtual te ams member are expecte d to bec o me int e rd e p endent , s ucc e s s fully
negotiate cultural differen ces (Dafo ulas and M acaulay , 2002, Dekker et al., 2008), and accomplish their tasks
throu gh computer-med iated technology (Hunsaker and Hu nsaker, 2008). The proces s to motivate team members
may d iffer dep e n d ing on th e ir o rien tatio n (Paul et al., 2004a).
What Is Needed for Effective Virtual Team:
A review of the literature shows the factors that impact on the effectiveness of virtual teams are still
amb ig u o u s. M a n y of the a ckn o wle d g ed ch a llenges of effectiv e virtual t eam wo rkin g , focu s on en s uring good
communication among all members of t he distributed team (Anderson et al., 2007). For example, Jarvenpaa
and Leidner (1999) found that regular and timely communicat io n feedback was key to building trust and
commitment in distributed teams. Lin et al.(2008) study indicates that social dimensional factors need to be
co n s idered e arly on in the v irt u al te am creat io n pro c es s a n d are critic al to t h e effect iv eness o f the te am.
Communication is a tool that directly influences the social dimensions of the team and in addition the
performance o f t h e tea m has a positiv e impact o n s a tisfactio n with t he virtual team.
Fo r t eams moving fr o m c o -lo catio n t o virtual en v iro n ments, an ab ility to ad a pt an d c h ange c an be a lo n g
process riddled with trial and error scenarios. This process is seen as necessary to encourage effective virtual
te ams (Kirkma n et al., 2002). Des p ite weak tie s b etween virtu a l team members , ens u rin g lateral c o mmunicat ion
may b e adequ a te for effe ctiv e v irt ual t e a m perfo rmance. In te rms of impleme n tatio n , la teral co mmu nicat io n in
both virtual context and composition teams can be increased by reducing the hierarchical structure of the team
(i.e. a flatter reporting structure and/or decentralization) and the use of enabling computer-mediated
communication tools (Won g and Bu rto n, 2000).
Malhotra and Majchrzak’s (2004) study of 54 effective virtual teams found that creating a state of shared
understanding about goals and objectives, task requirements and interdependencies, roles and responsibilities,
and member expertise had a positive effect on output quality. As criteria, effectiveness ratings were Herte l et
al. (2005) collected from th e te am managers both at the individual and at the team level. The results of the
field study showed good reliability of the task work-related attributes, teamwork-related attributes, and attributes
related to tele-cooperative work.
Sh achaf an d Hara (2005)s u ggests four d imensions of effe ctiv e v irt ual te am lea d ers h ip :
1. Communica tion (the le ader provides contin u o u s fe edbac k , en g a g es in regular an d p rompt communica tion,
and clarifies tas ks );
2. Un d ers tanding (th e lea d er is sens itive t o s chedule s of members, apprecia tes th eir o pinions and sugges tio n s ,
cares about member’s problems, gets to know them, and expresses a personal interest in them);
3. Role clarity (th e leader clearly defines res pons ibilities of a ll me mb e rs , exercises authority , an d mentors
virtual team members); and
4. Leadership attitude (the leader is assertive yet not too “bossy,” caring, relates to members at their own
levels, and maintains a consistent attitude over the life of the project).
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Bal and Teo (2001c) similar to their study in (1999) by observation and interview identified 12 elements
for effe ctive v irt u al tea m wo rking. It is illus trated in Fig u re 1. Th e Ba l and Gun d ry (2001c, 1999) model is
used as the basic framework for the discussions on topic.
Virtual Team Working: Technology Point of View:
Selectio n:
Simple transmission of information from point A to point B is not enough; the virtual environment presents
significant challen g es to effective communication (Walvoord et al., 2008). Be in g equipped with e v en th e mo s t
advanced technologies is not adequate to make a virtual team effective, since the internal group dynamics and
external support mechanisms must also be present for a team to succeed in the virtual world (Lurey and
Raisinghani, 2001). In fo rmat ion richness s eemed t o be th e mos t imp o rt ant crite rio n fo r te chnology s elec tion;
an d the greatest impediment to the effectiveness of virtual teams was the implementation of techno lo g y
(Mikkola et al., 2005). Virtual teams are technology-mediated groups of people from different discipline that
work on common ta s ks (Dekker et al., 2008) so the way the technology is implemented seems to make virtual
teams outcome more o r les s likely (Anderson et al., 2007). Table 7 matrix assist the virtual team facilitator
choose the appropriate technology based upon the purpose of the meeting.
Table 7: T ool s for virtual teams ( Adopted from T h iss en et al. (20 07))
T ool Examples Uses and Advantages Im mediacy Sen sory Modes
Inst ant M essaging and C hat • Yahoo Messenger • Instant interaction • Syn chronous or • Visual
• MS N M essenger • Less intrusive than a asynchrono us • T ext and limited
• AOL Instant Messenger phone call graphics
• Skype • View who is available
• Low cost
• Low s etup effort
Groupware / • Lotus No tes • Calendars • Asynchronous • Vi sual
Shared Services • Microsoft Exchange • Contact Lists
• Novell Groupwise • Arrange meetings
• Cost and setu p effort vary
Rem ote Access an d Control • NetMeeting • User control s a P C • Synchronou s • Visual
• WebEx without being onsite • Audio
• Remote Desktop • Cost varies • Tactile
• pcAny where • Setup varies
W eb Conferencing • NetMeeting • Liv e audio • S ynch ronous • Visual
• WebEx • Dynam ic video • Unlimited graphics
• Meeting Space • Whiteboard • Optional audio
• GoToMeeting • Application sharing
• Moderate cost and
setu p effort
File Transfer File Transfer • Share files of any type • Asynchronous • Varies with file
Protocol (FTP ) • Cost varies content
• Collabo rativ e Websites Moderate setup effort
• Intranets
Em ail • Numerou s vendors and • Send messages o r files • Asy nchronous • Visual
• free applications • C ost and setup • Audio in attached
effort vary files
Telephone • “P lain Old Telephone • Direct calls Synchronous • Audio
Service” (POTS) • Conference calls • Asynchronous for
• Voice Over Internet • Cost varies voice mail
Pro tocol (VOIP ) Low setup effort
Lo ca ti on:
Virtual team allow organizations to access the most qualified individuals for a particular job reg ard less
o f t h eir locat io n and provide g rea ter flexibility to in d ividuals wo rking from home o r on th e ro a d (Be ll a n d
Ko zlo wski, 2002). Ta ble 8 illustrate s t he relat io ns h ip b etween t ool, time a n d s p a ce in v irtu al tea ms .
Suggestions for the training of remote managers an d virtual team development can be found in the
literature (Hertel et al., 2005). The results of Anderson et al. (2007) systematic lab study confirm many of the
observatio n s in c lu de explicit p re p aration a n d training for v ir t u a l teams as a way of wo rking co llaborative ly .
Fuller et al., (2006b) res ults indicate that in the case of computer collective efficacy, computer training related
to mo re a d vance d s kills sets may b e us efu l in building virtu a l team effic acy. The Herte l et al. (2005) suggested
that the training led to increased cohesiveness and team satisfaction.
Aust. J. Basic and Appl. Sci., 3(3): 2653-2669, 2009
Fig. 1: Model for effective virtual team working
Table 8: T im e /S pace m atrix (Adapt ed from B ouchard and C ass ivi (2004))
Sam e space Different space
Sam e ti me F ace-to-face meeting, B rainstorm ing, Chat, T el e-conference, Vi deo-conference,
Vote, PC and projector Electronic white Liaison satellite, Audio-conference, Shared white
Synchronous board, GDSS , Chat board, Shared application
Different time Team room, Document management E-mail, Workflow, Document sharing,
Asynchronous system, Discussion forum, E-mail, Discussion forum, Group agenda Cooperative
Workflow, Project management hypertext and organizational memory, Version
control M eetin g sch eduler
Virtual team working involve exchange and manipulation of sensitive information and d a ta through the
Internet , t h erefore s ecurity is always a n importan t is s ue o f co n cern (Ba l and Te o , 2001c). T eam leaders s h o u ld
id en t ify th e s p ecial techno logical and security level needs of the virtual team and th eir team members
(Huns aker and Hun s aker, 2008).
Virtual Team Working: People Point of View:
Team selection: Team selection is a key facto r which d ifferen t iates successful teams from uns ucces s ful
ones. Virtual teams can be designed to include the people most s u it ed for a particular project (Bell and
Ko zlo wski, 2002). Virtu al tea m lead e rs rath e r t h a n n e ed t o make sure th e p ro je ct is clea rly d efined, outco me
priorities are e s t ablis hed, and t h at a s upportive team c limate, n e e d t o s e lec t membe rs with nece s s ary skills
(Hu n s aker and Hunsaker, 2008). Selection of virtual team members is particularly difficult because of the
geographical an d org an izational separation invo lved (Bal and Gundry, 1999).
Reward Structure:
Th e d evelop me n t of a fair and mot iv ating reward sys tem is an o t her importan t is s ue a t the b eginning o f
virtual t eamwork (Bal an d Teo, 2001b, He rt el et al., 2005). Virtual team performance must be recognized and
rewarded (Bal and Gundry, 1999). (Lurey and Raisinghani (2001) in a survey in an effort to determine the
factors that contribute to the success of a virtual team, found that reward systems ranked strongly among the
external s upport mechanisms fo r v irtu al tea ms .
Meeting Training:
Comparing teams with little and extensive training, Bal and Gundry (1999) observed a significant d rop
in performance as both teams went live using the system. However, t he la tte r then improved its performance
at a faster rate than the former. Training is a key as pect th at cannot be neglected in team building. Virtual
te am members require some d ifferent types of training t o o rd in ary teams . Th e t r a in in g inclu d e s s e lf-man a g ing
skills, communication and meeting training, project management skills, techn o lo gy training, etc. (Bal and Teo,
Aust. J. Basic and Appl. Sci., 3(3): 2653-2669, 2009
Specify Objective:
While direct leadership strategies are possible in conventional teams, members of virtual teams might be
managed more effectively by empowerment and by delegating managerial functions to the members (Hertel
et al., 2005). Such an app roach chang es the role of a team manager from t ra d itio n a l co ntro lling into more
co a ching and moderating functions (Kayworth and Leidner, 2002). Virtual team leaders should identify
commonalities among members early on, while focusing the team on achieving key performance objectives and
providing a clear context for recognizing team success.
Virtual Team Working: Process Point of View:
The company’s processes need to be re-aligned with the capabilities of virtual tea ms as opposed to face
to face teams. This involves an understanding of the virtual team processes and th e exis ting p rocesses (Bal
and Gundry, 1999). However, the key elements in knowledge sharing are not only the hardware and software,
b u t also the ability and willingn ess o f team members to actively participate in the knowledge s haring proc es s
(Rosen et al., 2007).
Meeting Structure:
Pro ximity enables team members to engage in informal work (Furst et al., 2004). Virtual team memb ers
are more likely to treat one another formally, and les s likely to reciproca t e req u e s t s from one another (W ong
and Burton, 2000). Shin (2005) argued that lack of physical interactions and informal relation s h ip s decrease
th e cohesiveness of virtual teams. Formal practices and routines designed to formally structure the task, was
reported to lead to higher q u ality output of virtual team (Massey et al., 2003). The physical absence of a
formal leader exacerbates lack of extrinsic mo tivation (Kayworth and Leidner, 2002). In virtual teams that
rarely meet face-to-face, team leaders often have no choice but to implement a formal team structure.
Synchronous written documents helped virtual teams overcome challenges associated with s p o ken language,
an d t h is e nabled t eams to overco me challe n g es as s o ciate d wit h as ynchronous and lean writt en co mmu n icatio n
(Shachaf, 2008).
Performance Measurement:
Work on the pe rformance of v irtual teams b y Kirkman and Ro s en, et al. (2004) d e monstrate s a pos itive
correlation between empowerment and virtual team performance. High-performance teams are distinguished by
passionate dedication to goals, identification and emotional bonding among team members, and a balance
between unity and respect for individual differences.
Team Fa cilitation:
Virtual team members must hav e clear roles and accountabilities. Lack of visibility may cause virtual team
members to feel less ac counta ble for results, therefore explicit facilitation of teamwork takes on heightened
importan ce for virtual t eams. Temp ora l coordinat io n mecha n is ms su ch a s s chedulin g dea d lin es an d coordinatin g
the pace of effort are recommended to increase vigilance and accountability (Massey et al., 2003).
Conclusio n:
Strong business and social pressures are driving the adoption of virtual team working. This paper with a
comprehens ive rev iew of literature and related resources covering the topic along with Bal an d Teo (2001c),
find that success in implementing virtual team working is more about processes and people than about
techno log y. Virtual teams offer man y benefits to organizations s triving to handle a more demanding work
environment, but also present many challenges and potential pitfalls. With comparing Table 3, with Table 4
it is clearly obvious that advantages of utilize virtual teams are far from its disadvantages so dealing with it
ca n bring new findings. Virtual teams are a new and exciting work form with many fascinating oppo rtunitie s .
Du e to th e s e opportunitie s , v irtu a l tea mwork beco me s in creasingly popu la r in o rg a n ization s .
This paper has identifie d and extended 12 key factors that need to be considered, and describes a
methodology focused on supporting virtual team working, with a new approach that has not been specifically
addressed in the existing literature. These finding s provide an important step in studying how virtual team
efficacy is formed and what its consequences are in the context of virtual teams. It is apparent from the
literature review that significant differences are b etwe e n virtual teams and co-located teams hence manager of
virtual teams should not ignore these differences at their own peril. Suggestions for the t ra ining of remote
man a g ers a n d virtual team dev e lopment c an be foun d in the lite ra ture. M anag e r o f v irtu a l tea m s h o u ld
Aust. J. Basic and Appl. Sci., 3(3): 2653-2669, 2009
overcome the managing conflict, cultural and functional diversity in virtual teams and mistrust among the team
Fu ture res earch would now s eem to b e ess ential fo r dev e loping a c o mp re h ensive stud y , co mb in in g
literature survey with case study in different size of companies (e.g. multinational companies and small and
medium enterprises) and various types of activities (e.g. research and development and new product
dev e lo p ment). Su c h a study would provide a n as s e s s men t wha t patt ern s , p rac tices , or type s o f ac t iv it ies mus t
virtual teams carry out to achieve effectiveness in the competitive environment?, How such teams should be
managed? W hat types of process s tructure and technology support should be provided for facilitating such
teams?, What different methods of virtual team are used today and how effective are they?, What benefits and
pro blems arise as a cons equen ce of the creation of v irt u a l team? and How to make the trans ition from a more
traditional team structure to the more distributed team structure?. These questions and many other practical
ques tion s wa it for fu ture empirica l in v estigat io n.
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... Virtual teams have been mentioned as early as the 1960s in the US [1]. Such teams allow organizations to work with individuals in different locations, saving on installation, maintenance and travel costs. ...
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As a result of developments in technology, globalization and digitalization, virtual teams have become indispensable for many industries. Transformations in information and communication technology have provided new opportunities for businesses to create and manage virtual teams. Today, all organizations have had to introduce new methods of communication and have started to continue their conversations through digital platforms. It has become inevitable for teams to form in such virtual environments. Virtual team members are made up of individuals from different genders, experiences, cultures and geographic locations. While there are leaders in virtual teams as in face-to-face environments, this type of leadership performs its function through information and communication technologies, unlike traditional types. Although there are many studies on face-to-face leadership in academic studies and despite the increasing use of digital platforms, it is observed that there is a need for studies on leadership styles in virtual organizations. The main purpose of this study is to create a scale about leadership characteristics in virtual teams. With the present study, it is aimed to develop a valid and reliable scale in order to discover and analyze the virtual team leadership characteristics of individuals within the multinational companies. During the scale development process, literature review, focus group interviews and statistical analysis were used to create the items to be included in the scale. First of all, focus group discussions were conducted by examining the scale developments on the leadership phenomenon. A total of three focus group interviews were held; expert opinions were used to ensure the content validity of the results, and a draft scale with 29 items was created as a result.
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The heavy dependence on online education during the COVID-19 pandemic has long-term consequences for teaching and learning. The problem statement of the present study is to identify, from a student-centered perspective, solutions for a teaching approach in the virtual environment to increase student involvement and stimulate active relevant learning. The research objectives are to describe the team dynamics in Project-Based Virtual Learning (PBVL) and to identify the advantages and disadvantages of learning in PBVL, from the students’ perspective. At three separate intervals, 102 undergraduate students enrolled in three different courses wrote down reflections of their experience with PBVL in an online self-administrated reflective journal. Following a data-driven systematic qualitative content analysis of the students’ learning journals, four main themes emerged regarding the learning experience in virtual teams: collaboration, communication, trust, and learning. Based on the results, a three-stage framework for PBVL team dynamics was proposed: Teambuilding–Teamwork–Team performance (TTT) framework. The results show that PBVL favors the development of professional, learning, and personal skills through collaboration.
Die Nutzung der ökonomischen Potenziale zur Automatisierung und Effizienzsteigerung, die die Digitalisierung von Prozessen bietet, geht in Regel einher mit einer verstärkten Durchlässigkeit der Grenzen zwischen dem fokalen Unternehmen und seinen Kooperationspartnern. Es werden Schnittstellen geschaffen, um Daten und Informationen über diese Grenzen fließen zu lassen. Diese Schnittstellen bedürfen des Managements aus zumindest zwei Gründen: zum einen, um aus informationstechnischer Perspektive einen möglichst reibungsarmen Transfer von Daten und Informationen zu ermöglichen, zum anderen, weil die mit den Schnittstellen verbundene Durchbrechung organisationaler Grenzen die fokale Organisation abhängiger macht von den Handlungen und Entscheidungen ihrer Kooperationspartner. Theoretisch-konzeptionell und am Beispiel des Umgangs von Steuerberatungen mit Schnittstellen zu ihren Mandantinnen und Mandanten werden Formen des Schnittstellenmanagements diskutiert und Handlungsempfehlungen forumuliert.
Conference Paper
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Modern human civilization uses the term time as a calendar perception to account for events, actions and processes affecting past, present and future transformations. The last two centuries of the 19th and 20th centuries marked the process of urbanization – “the last migration from the village to the city”. The formation of this socio-economic process began in the countries of Western Europe and was accompanied by the “industrial revolution”. Factors are the main driving force in this process of large groups of people in the direction from small settlements to industrial centers. This process goes through several stages, which have a direct impact on the mentality of the various social strata of the population. The movement of groups of people is caused by reasons affecting their economic and social development. In the individual countries of the Old Continent, urbanization as a process takes place in different ways depending on the type of socio-economic structure of society. Keywords: Europe, urbanization, factors, stages and citie
Although virtual teams (VTs) have been around for over two decades, there are no studies explicitly examining their members’ well-being. Motivated, therefore, by a knowledge gap in the VT literature, and a practical need to understand well-being in this context due to the Covid-19 pandemic which has led to an unprecedented transition into virtual working, in this paper, we draw on 14 interviews and present initial findings of a comparative case between two European organizations involving different types (global vs. local) of VTs (Phase 1). Using the job demands-resources (JDR) model as our theoretical lens, we make the following contributions: We identify the situated character of job demands and resources among our participants, explaining how VT members experience simultaneously increased job demands and reduced job resources, which, in combination, may substantially impair their well-being. We also find that understandings of demands and resources are idiosyncratic and vary depending on prior individual experiences of VT members. We discuss initial theoretical and practical contributions of Phase 1 of our study and outline our next steps (Phases 2 and 3).
Direct observation of groups is labor-intensive. As a result, current research on small groups often relies on retrospective ratings. Recent developments in sensor-technology have eased data gathering, leading to a renewed interest in direct observation of groups. Sensor technology has potential, but also limitations; research has been technology- and data-driven with less recognition of the large body, and long history, of research and theory building. We review the literature on technology in small group research, argue for more interdisciplinary research and propose combining sensor technology with methods of interaction analysis, and the theories that underlie them, developed prior to 1980.
We evaluated the effect of three teaching strategies to facilitate teamwork in a systems analysis and design course during the COVID‐19 pandemic: (1) offering a HyFlex version of the course, (2) facilitating scheduled online teamwork sessions for all students, and (3) providing conflict resolution training to help teams overcome collaboration challenges. To identify the impact of these instructional strategies and answer four research questions, we measured (1) performance, dynamics, and cooperation strategies of teams and (2) students' perceptions of their own and team members' performance along with changes in their perceptions of their conflict management skills. We used a simultaneous triangulation mixed‐methods design to obtain distinct but complementary qualitative and quantitative data. We compared data from two offerings of the course: Fall 2019 and Fall 2020 semesters. In the Fall 2019 semester, an in‐person active learning strategy was used, while in the Fall 2020 semester, the course followed a HyFlex delivery mode due to the COVID‐19 pandemic. Findings suggest that the use of cooperative learning pedagogy along with HyFlex accommodations for safety and social distancing requirements for the Fall 2020 semester provided students with a comparable learning experience to a traditional in‐person mode. Learning strategies, pedagogical supports, and teamwork training can enhance social interactions, and consequently, students' social presence in online learning. Conflict resolution training could be a valuable tool for improving teamwork skills and communication among team members.
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Motivation – the topic of communication in project teams, especially those virtual ones, has been studied by many researchers and it would be valuable to know which research areas have been already explored and which need more attention. It would be also worth analyzing which countries and authors have been mainly contributing to the topic, and what publication types are mostly used to convey research in that area. Even though there are numerous literature reviews regarding project communication issues and different aspects of virtual teams, there is no one dedicated specifically to the topic of communication in virtual project teams. Aim – the paper aims to identify the scientific output in the area of communication in virtual project teams from the last 20 years (2001-2020) and analyze it for its volume, geographic distribution, publication types, areas and types of research and contributing authors. Method – a bibliometric approach has been applied to answer the research questions regarding the number of publications in the studied period, most contributing countries and most prolific authors, prevailing publication types and research topics addressed in the studied literature. Three databases – Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar were used to search for publications about communication in virtual project teams and the refined results from these databases were combined into the final dataset which was then analyzed to provide answers to the research questions. Contribution – the results of the bibliometric review of research on communication in virtual teams show that the most frequently undertaken topics concern methods and tools for communication in virtual teams, while issues linking communication with trust or leadership are the least explored areas.
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More and more teams are collaborating virtually across the globe, and the COVID-19 pandemic has further encouraged the dissemination of virtual teamwork. However, there are challenges for virtual teams – such as reduced informal communication – with implications for team effectiveness. Team flow is a concept with high potential for promoting team effectiveness, however its measurement and promotion are challenging. Traditional team flow measurements rely on self-report questionnaires that require interrupting the team process. Approaches in artificial intelligence, i.e., machine learning, offer methods to identify an algorithm based on behavioral and sensor data that is able to identify team flow and its dynamics over time without interrupting the process. Thus, in this article we present an approach to identify team flow in virtual teams, using machine learning methods. First of all, based on a literature review, we provide a model of team flow characteristics, composed of characteristics that are shared with individual flow and characteristics that are unique for team flow. It is argued that those characteristics that are unique for team flow are represented by the concept of collective communication. Based on that, we present physiological and behavioral correlates of team flow which are suitable – but not limited to – being assessed in virtual teams and which can be used as input data for a machine learning system to assess team flow in real time. Finally, we suggest interventions to support team flow that can be implemented in real time, in virtual environments and controlled by artificial intelligence. This article thus contributes to finding indicators and dynamics of team flow in virtual teams, to stimulate future research and to promote team effectiveness.
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Given the growing use of global virtual teams, one important factor to consider when examining team performance is the cultural backgrounds of the dispersed team members. Two hundred forty-three team members from universities in the United States and Hong Kong were administered three survey questionnaires during a series of virtual team projects. Results revealed that regardless of cultural background, team members reported less confidence in their ability to work in virtual team environments than traditional face-to-face environments and that team members from individualistic cultures reported higher self-efficacy beliefs (both group self-efficacy and virtual team self-efficacy) than team members from collectivist cultures. Furthermore, when the reference for efficacy beliefs changed from the individual to the group, the magnitude of change was greater for the collectivist versus individualistic team members. Implications and future research are also discussed.
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This article develops a framework to examine the determinants for the choice of partners among firms that cooperate in R&D. This framework is used to predict the relative efficiency of cooperation with different types of partners in innovation. We employed the resource-based perspective to shed light on who firms cooperate with. The empirical work is based on the Spanish CIS-2 survey conducted in 1997 by the National Institute of Statistics (INE). The sample of 1652 Spanish firms gives a reliable image of the behaviour of manufacturing firms as regards cooperation in innovation. Our results have revealed several distinctions between vertical and horizontal cooperation, and the role of public institutions as partners in R&D cooperation. Furthermore, our analysis suggests that the objectives of cooperation with national or European Union (EU) partners is different, from a strategic point of view, than cooperation with US firms in terms of efficiency, that is, the expected results of R&D cooperation are based on the type of partner in the agreement. These findings and their implications are discussed.
Data from high-technology firms in Hong Kong were used to investigate whether the outcomes of problem-solving processes (solutions found, problem-solving speed, and solution quality) mediated the effects of centrifugal forces (decentralization, free flow of information, and reach) and centripetal forces (connectedness, temporal pacing, project leader expertise, and superordinate goal) on product development performance (development speed and product quality). Centrifugal and centripetal forces were indirectly related to performance through problem-solving outcomes, although some direct effects of these forces were also found. The results suggest a more complex model of product development than previously envisaged.
It is approximately 9:00 a.m. in a Motorola Inc. electronic chip-making factory in the Philippines. The 10 members of the “Be Cool” team (self-chosen name) have assembled for a peer feedback session. Even though the team members are about to discuss each other’s performance, they laugh and joke and are generally in good spirits. The meeting begins with a prayer from the book, Our Daily Bread (a Catholic reader). Team members affectionately refer to one another as brother, sister, aunt or uncle. There is a palpable family atmosphere. Over the next two hours, we observe as one of the team members leads the discussion. Even though specific performance issues are discussed, no names are used. Examples are given, but no one is confronted directly. We learn later that to single out a specific member or point fingers would risk “loss of face” (i.e., an intense form of public humiliation) for that member. The feedback session ends with smiles, handshakes, and a renewed commitment to improve individual and team performance
In this paper, we review the research on virtual teams in an effort to assess the state of the literature. We start with an examination of the definitions of virtual teams used and propose an integrative definition that suggests that all teams may be defined in terms of their extent of virtualness. Next, we review findings related to team inputs, processes, and outcomes, and identify areas of agreement and inconsistency in the literature on virtual teams. Based on this review, we suggest avenues for future research, including methodological and theoretical considerations that are important to advancing our understanding of virtual teams.
Market forces, fast rate of increase of technology and globalisation are augmenting the importance of product and process innovation as a source of competitive advantage for manufacturing enterprises. The key factors spearheading market success include the capacity to develop the right products for the right customers using the right processes with shorter development lifecycles than competitors. This paper discusses a methodology used to incorporate Integrated Product Development (IPD) which has been, for the past two decades, the default product development technique with technology road mapping to make it dynamic and innovative. In effect, IPD is key to producing complex, customised products to the market in the shortest possible time. The incorporation involves identifying key market drivers affecting the enterprise, assessing the effect of these market drivers on the evolution of the IPD process, brainstorming for alternative technologies to respond to the IPD so as to leverage enterprise competitive advantage and finally using this information to chart a road map from which we can extract preferred technology solutions.