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[Excerpt] Virtual teams are comprised of individuals that are separated geographically or organizationally and that rely primarily on technology to complete tasks (Powell, Piccoli & Ives, 2004). This work arrangement has been found to be advantageous for many firms because it reduces the costs and time associated with employee travel. It also permits organizations to attract and retain top talent because workplace flexibility is increasingly seen as a crucial aspect of job satisfaction for many employees (Bergiel, Bergiel & Balsmeier, 2008).

Virtual teams are also valuable to many businesses because team members commonly focus their interests on tasks instead of shared social or cultural environments, which often impact the dynamic within conventional teams (Hamilton & Scandura, 2003). This fosters a working environment that encourages innovation and decreases discrimination by hierarchy, employee impairments, race or age because productivity is more important than other characteristics (Bergiel et al., 2008). While virtual teams have many advantages, they frequently struggle to establish a strong sense of trust between individuals, frequent team member intercommunication, and effective leadership; all of which are necessary for team success.


Recommended Citation
Laurito, A. R. (2010). Building teams from a distance (CAHRS White Paper). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, ILR School, Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.