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

See all articles by Mark Mortensen

Mark Mortensen

INSEAD - Organisational Behaviour

Olivier Caya

Université de Sherbrooke - Faculty of Administration

Alain Pinsonneault

McGill University - Desautels Faculty of Management

Date Written: September 1, 2009

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Mortensen, Mark and Caya, Olivier and Pinsonneault, Alain, Virtual Teams Demystified: An Integrative Framework for Understanding Virtual Teams and a Synthesis of Research (September 1, 2009). MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 4738-09. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1282095 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1282095

Mark Mortensen (Contact Author)

INSEAD - Organisational Behaviour ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
77305 Fontainebleau Cedex
France

Olivier Caya

Université de Sherbrooke - Faculty of Administration ( email )

Sherbrooke, Québec J1K 2R1
Canada

Alain Pinsonneault

McGill University - Desautels Faculty of Management ( email )

1001 Sherbrooke St. West
Montreal, Quebec H3A1G5 H3A 2M1
Canada

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