How to Create an Effective Virtual Team

by LAUREN OAKLEY

Master of Science in Information Communications & Technology

University of Denver, August 2017

Abstract

A virtual team is one which team members are separated physically or geographically, and carry out daily processes, communication, and collaboration over technology. In today’s workforce, the popularity of companies expanding their reach and gaining a competitive advantage through virtual teams is skyrocketing. Interestingly enough, research shows that virtual teams are on the rise, but the success rate is not.  In this paper, research, case studies, expert opinions, and academic literature are presented to support how virtual teams can be successful and effective. Recommendations will be provided on how to create an effective virtual team based on strategies from companies that have had success and how they overcame the barriers along the way.

Background

The definition of a virtual team varies depending upon the industry in which it’s applied. Powell et. al defines a virtual team as, “groups dispersed by geography, organizationally, and time who are brought together by information and telecommunication technologies to accomplish one or more organizational tasks.” According to Ale Ebrahim et. al, virtual teams are, “small temporary groups of geographically, organizationally or time dispersed knowledge workers who coordinate their work predominantly with electronic information and communication technologies to accomplish one or more organization tasks.”  [read more]

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