Virtual Team Performance

René Algesheimer, University of Zurich, Utpal M. Dholakia, Rice University and Calin Gurau, GSCM, Montpellier Business School, recently published “Virtual Team Performance in a Highly Competitive Environment” in the April 2011 issue of Group & Organization Management. They have kindly provided some background for the article:

Who is the target audience for this article?

First, the virtual team managers involved in various organizations or projects. Second, the academics working in the area of team performance. Third, any person interested in the elements that determine and influence the effectiveness of geographically-distributed teams.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

The growing body of literature on team performance, and the relative lack of studies regarding the management of virtual teams.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

The positive link identified between team size and team cohesion, since most existing studies found a negative connection between these two variables. A possible explanation might be the dynamic life-cycle of the investigated teams, which comprises several stages (Hertel et al., 2005). Under this condition, team size may represent a barrier to team cohesion in the initial stages of team formation and development; however, in a functional team, size can represent an advantage, increasing the amount and diversity of group resources. On the other hand, the interaction among virtual team members is usually supported by a variety of groupware systems and applications, which can minimize conflicts and increase group cohesiveness through rapid and ordered communication.

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

The model empirically validated in this study can provide a better understanding of the elements and processes that determine and influence virtual team effectiveness, both for academics and practitioners.

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

All three authors have a strong interest in the influence of the new information and communication technology applications on the structure of organizations and markets, and especially on the behavior of people in the online environment. From this perspective, this study fits well with our line of research.

How did your paper change during the review process?

Three main changes have been realized during the review process: (a) Offering a well grounded theoretical framework; (b) providing a more detailed explanation of the data collection and analytical process; and (c) reducing the size of the text by eliminating the less relevant references.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could go back and do this study again?

We are very satisfied with the structure and outcomes of this study.

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