Virtual Teams Research Paper

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Leadership in the electronic age is surely different. Or is it? As the impressive and seemingly constant parade of developments in computer and communications technology continues to change our world, we ask what remains the same and what has changed. One tremendously important context for leadership is teams. Team leaders, whether assigned or emergent, formal or informal, have a definite role to play in promoting and affecting how well teams work. So-called virtual teams come in many forms, with differing objectives, membership criteria, cultural diversity, organizational affiliations, and so on. Our growing experience with virtual
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Several central features of virtual teams are present in more traditional organizational structures (e.g., communication over a distance, dispersed team members; Sessa, Hansen, Prestridge, & Kossler, 1999). Recent definitions have highlighted key characteristics. Table 1 summaries several definitions of virtual teams in the current literature.
Griffith and Neale (2001) offered a model of team virtual ness that reflects two dimensions identified across the definitions in Table 1, (a) percentage of time spent working apart (or team dispersion) and (b) level of technological enablement (ranging from no technology, meaning all face-to-face interaction, to use of a broad range of communication technology). They argued that the vast majority of organizational teams fall somewhere along these two dimensions.
Table: 1 - Sample definitions of “virtual
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Team dispersion is defined in terms of both geographic and temporal space. Thus, Mittleman and Briggs (1999) described five types of team interaction dispersion:
1. Same time, same place - This is the traditional team format, and corresponds to the more face-to-face end of Griffith and Neale’s team dispersion dimension. Such teams tend to make minimal use of communication technology or use various computer-based group decision support systems in their face-to-face interactions.
2. Same time, different place - Here, team members interact in the same temporal space, but are located elsewhere geographically. Communication technologies, such as teleconferencing, videoconferencing, and real-time computer networks, mediate these interactions.
3. Different time, same place - Team members may be in a similar geographic location, but move in and out of that space at different time intervals. Such teams may have members who work different shifts, are on different flex time schedules, or travel frequently. Communication bulletin boards and e-mail enable the interactions of these

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