Improving Virtual Teams through Swift Structure

Improving Virtual Teams through Swift Structure

Daphna Shwarts-Asher (Tel Aviv University, Israel), Niv Ahituv (Tel Aviv University, Israel) and Dalia Etzion (Tel Aviv University, Israel)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-965-1.ch406
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There has been a transformation from individual work to team work in the last few decades (Ilgen, 1999), and many organizations use teams for many activities done by individuals in the past (Boyett & Conn, 1992; Katzenbach & Smith, 1993). The use of virtual teams has also become common particularly in international organizations and global companies. In light of this growing phenomenon, the traditional definition of “team structure” should be redefined, as part of the model that predicts the influence of the virtuallity and structural levels on processes, social, and tasks, that effect team output. A methodology will later be illustrated to examine the research model and a discussion of preliminary finding. The research contributes to better understanding of virtual teams in hope of improving the teams work in the virtual world. Virtual team design has so far been treated as an afterthought by virtual team researchers. Investigation of team structure in the virtual environment holds significant promise for research and practice (Powell, Piccoli, & Ives, 2004). Integration between virtual teams and structural characteristics raises the question: “Has the virtual era put an end to team structure?” Leavitt (1996) claims that the rapid changes impose organizations to relax structures. Hackman (2002), on the other hand, predicts that team structure will always exist and managers will continue to be bothered by team design.

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