Effective Virtual Teams through Communities of Practice

Strathclyde Business School Management Science Working Paper No. 2000/9

15 Pages Posted: 24 Dec 2004  

Chris Kimble

Kedge Business School

Alexis Barlow

Glasgow Caledonian University - Caledonian Business School

Feng Li

Strathclyde Business School - Department of Management Science

Date Written: September 2000

Abstract

This paper examines the nature of virtual teams and their place in the networked economy. It presents a framework for categorising virtual teams and argues that fundamental changes have taken place in the business environment which force people and organisations to operate in 'two spaces' simultaneously: the physical space and the electronic space. It highlights some of the issues of trust and identity that exist in virtual teams and argues that, due to certain barriers, only a small proportion of these teams reach a satisfactory level of performance. Using the evidence from two recent sets of studies, it highlights some of the barriers to effective virtual team working and demonstrates the critical importance of trust and social bonding to the functioning of such teams. It reports on the use of a 'Community of Practice' in a virtual team and argues that this may provide one mechanism for overcoming some of the barriers. Finally, it argues that many of the problems stem from a lack of understanding of the new geography of the information economy and that, rather than accepting the notion that 'geography no longer matters', continued efforts must be made to understand the relationship between the physical world in which we live and the electronic world of virtual team working.

Keywords: Virtual Teams, Communities of Practice, Globalisation, Teleworking, Electronic Space, Physical Space

JEL Classification: J24, M54, O31

Suggested Citation

Kimble, Chris and Barlow, Alexis and Li, Feng, Effective Virtual Teams through Communities of Practice (September 2000). Strathclyde Business School Management Science Working Paper No. 2000/9. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=634645 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.634645

Chris Kimble (Contact Author)

Kedge Business School ( email )

Domaine de Luminy
Marseille, Côte d'Azur 13288
France
+33 (0)4 91 82 79 83 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.chris-kimble.com/

Alexis Barlow

Glasgow Caledonian University - Caledonian Business School ( email )

Scotland
United Kingdom

Feng Li

Strathclyde Business School - Department of Management Science

Graham Hills Building, 40 George Street
Glasgow G4 0LN
United Kingdom

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