Designing and Leading Virtual Teams

33 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2013

Date Written: July 8, 2013


This paper condenses the outcome of my study and research on virtual teams - which took shape in parallel with my research on the management of multinational companies since the mid-nineties and as virtual teams quickly emerged as a form of organizing technical and managerial work. Virtual teams are already relatively common in research and development, procurement, operations and supply chains, or client accounts, and are growing in all other functions, even top management. Virtual teams function quite differently from classic or traditional teams. Properly designed and managed, virtual teams deliver superior performance for an organization and become an important new source of value creation, a key source in a globalizing world. But if managers try to apply rules that govern classic teams to virtual teams, the results will be disappointing. What matters most in "virtual teams" is "virtual", not "teams". This implies that we may need to forget a lot of what we know about classic teams while developing new knowledge and skills to design and lead virtual teams effectively.

Suggested Citation

Santos, José, Designing and Leading Virtual Teams (July 8, 2013). INSEAD Working Paper No. 2013/76/ST, Available at SSRN: or

José Santos (Contact Author)

INSEAD - Strategy ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
77305 Fontainebleau

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