Improving Virtual Team Effectiveness

Improving Virtual Team Effectiveness

Edward T. Chen (University of Massachusetts – Lowell, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8516-9.ch020

Abstract

Virtual teams are vastly more effective now than they were in the past. This chapter explores published articles and cases that highlight the usage of virtual teams on virtual projects. The authors will analyze a successful case with a struggle at the beginning and then an unsuccessful case with a strong start. The chapter will address the virtual workplace and then move on to the topic of teleworking. They authors will introduce the communication systems that are on the rise to make virtual teams more effective. Performance of virtual teams will be explained, followed by how to enhance the virtual team effectiveness.
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Virtual Teams

In recent years, there have been unprecedented technological advancements, which have made virtual teams more viable than ever before. Businesses sometimes prefer virtual teams for numerous organizational advantages, as they look to expand beyond their traditional boundaries. This expansion can allow companies to access a vast pool of previously unattainable resources (Eissa, Fox, Webster, & Kim, 2012). In addition to the enhanced skills of these personnel, many companies find benefits in reduced cost and increased utilization (Horwitz, Bravington & Silvis 2006). Although there are many benefits to virtual teams, there are weaknesses to address. The major challenge of virtual teams is ensuring proper communication. The lack of face-to-face communication limits the effectiveness, due to the inability to pick up on important nonverbal cues (Kayworth & Leidener, 2002). There are methods and techniques used by managers of virtual teams to minimize these weaknesses and provide an environment suited for maximizing success and performance (Morgan, Paucar-caceres, & Wright, 2014).

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