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Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Effective Virtual Teams

Effective Virtual Teams
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Author(s): D. Sandy Staples (Queen’s University, Canada), Ian K. Wong (Queen’s University, Canada) and Ann-Frances Cameron (HEC Montréal, Canada)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 7
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch202

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Abstract

Virtual teams are now being used by many organizations to enhance the productivity of their employees and to bring together a diversity of skills and resources (Gignac, 2005; Majchrzak, Malhotra, Stamps, & Lipnack, 2004), and it has been suggested that this will become the normal way of working in teams in the near future (Jones, Oyund, & Pace, 2005). Virtual teams are groups of individuals who work together from different locations (i.e., are geographically dispersed), work at interdependent tasks, share responsibilities for outcomes, and rely on technology for much of their communication (Cohen & Gibson, 2003). While the use of virtual teams is more common in today’s organization, working in these teams is more complex and challenging than working in traditional, collocated teams (Dewar, 2006), and success rates in virtual teams are low (Goodbody, 2005). This article suggests best practices that organizations and virtual team members can follow to help their virtual teams reach their full potential. In this article, virtual team best practices are identified from three perspectives: organizational best practices, team leadership best practices, and team member best practices. Ideas for best practices were identified from three sources: six case studies of actual virtual teams (Staples, Wong, & Cameron, 2004); the existing literature on virtual teams; and the existing literature on traditional (i.e., collocated) teams and telecommuting (i.e., research on virtual work at the individual level).

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