Virtual Teams Demystified: An Integrative Framework for Understanding Virtual Teams and a Synthesis of Research
40 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2010 Last revised: 8 Jan 2018
Date Written: September 1, 2009
Virtual teams are essential to the functioning of an increasing number of organizations. They have been the subject of much research, resulting in a growing body of literature on the topic. Nevertheless, we still lack an integrated understanding of what drives virtual team dynamics and ultimately effectiveness.
A key obstacle to achieving such understanding is the lack of an integrative theory-driven framework through which we can organize and make sense of prior, and guide future, research. We build on existing models of effectiveness and emergent processes and states that have been applied to traditional teams and use these to generate a framework for understanding virtual team dynamics. We then use this framework to structure a review and synthesis of ninety-seven empirical studies of virtual teams published between 1990 and 2008. Using vote-counting analysis, we assess and integrate these findings to provide insights into the direct and indirect antecedents of virtual team effectiveness. Based on this model, we highlight key gaps in both our knowledge of, and approach to studying, virtual teams. We outline areas for future research, provide managerial recommendations, and highlight implications for the study of both virtual and traditional teams.
Keywords: virtual teams, virtual team performance, team processes, team states, team design, information technology, virtual team effectiveness, emergent team processes, emergent team states
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