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

Leader-Facilitated Relationship Building in Virtual Teams

Leader-Facilitated Relationship Building in Virtual Teams
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Author(s): David J. Pauleen (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 6
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.ch379


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How do virtual team leaders assess and respond to boundary crossing issues when building relationships with virtual team members? Virtual teams are a new phenomenon, defined as groups of people working on a common task or project from distributed locations using information and communications technology (ICT). With rapid advances in ICT allowing alternatives to face-to-face communication, virtual teams are playing an increasingly important role in organizations. Due to their global coverage, virtual teams are often assigned critical organizational tasks such as multinational product launches, negotiating global mergers and acquisitions, and managing strategic alliances (Maznevski & Chudoba, 2000). Their use, however, has outpaced the understanding of their unique dynamics and characteristics (Cramton & Webber, 2000). Virtual team leadership remains one of the least understood and most poorly supported elements in virtual teams. Virtual team leaders are often the nexus of a virtual team, facilitating communications, establishing team processes, and taking responsibility for task completion (Duarte & Tennant- Snyder, 1999), and doing so across multiple boundaries. Recent research (Kayworth & Leidner, 2001-2002) has begun to look at virtual leadership issues and suggests that the trend toward virtual work groups necessitates further inquiry into the role and nature of virtual team leadership. This article begins by briefly looking at the key concepts of virtual team leadership, relationship building and boundary crossing. Then, drawing upon the author’s research, it examines the complexity inherent in building relationship across boundaries, and concludes with suggestions on how virtual team leaders can mediate this complexity.

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