If differences between virtual and traditional teams are bounded by the use of technology (Arnison & Miller, 2002; Griffith, Sawyer, & Neale, 2003), then virtual teams must not be considered a new phenomenon. What have changed are the tools which affect the breadth and depth of virtual teams. A global change in core communication technologies has occurred in the last 2 decades. Primary communication in the 1980s included letters, memos, telephone (one to one), and face-to-face meetings placing constraints on infrastructures supporting virtual teams; today’s communication is based on technologies that transcend the physical constraints of the past but impose new and significant challenges in the interpersonal relationships.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Leader-Member Exchange: A focus on the basic unit of leadership, the dyad. This exchange is a one-to-one measure of the leader’s relationship with each follower.
Contextual Setting: In communication the relationship of context to content. In a high contextual setting the context is crucial and there is an underlying assumption of a shared background. In a low contextual setting, the content is essential and the information is conveyed explicitly in the communication; no shared background is assumed.
Transformational Leadership: A leadership theory that concentrates on the follower’s behavior and growth.
Virtual Distance™ (Virtual Distance™ Index): A composite of physical, temporal, and personal elements that contribute to a perceived distance between team members.
Transactional Leadership: A leadership theory that is based on the transaction. It is often associated with reward or punishment for specific behaviors.
Virtually Close Member (VCM): A team member that shares the same norms, environment, and cultural values as the virtual team leader.
Virtually Distant Member (VDM): A team member that has a different set of norms, environmental conditions, and cultural values as the virtual team leader.
In-Group/Out-Group: A reference as to whether the leader-member exchange is high quality (in-group) or low quality (out-group). High quality refers to support with valued resources. Low quality implies a contractual like relationship. See leader-member exchange.
Ambassadorial Leadership™: A set of behaviors that span the boundaries between cultures and organizations to create conditions for effective leadership
Charismatic Leadership: A leadership theory that concentrates on the leader’s behavior and focuses on a shared vision.