Managing Virtual Teams

15139 words 61 pages
Human Resource Management Review 15 (2005) 69 – 95 Managing virtual teams: A review of current empirical research
Guido Hertela,T, Susanne Geisterb, Udo Konradtb a Department of Psychology, Work, Industrial & Organizational Psychology, University of Wuerzburg,
Roentgenring 10, 97 070 Wuerzburg, Germany b University of Kiel, Germany

This review summarizes empirical research on the management of virtual teams, i.e., distributed work teams whose members predominantly communicate and coordinate their work via electronic media (e-mail, telephone, video-conference, etc.). Instead of considering virtual teams as qualitatively distinct from conventional teams, the degree of bvirtualityQ of teams is
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G. Hertel et al. / Human Resource Management Review 15 (2005) 69–95


times (King & Frost, 2002; O’Leary, Orlikowski, & Yates, 2002). However, with the rapid development of electronic information and communication media in the last years, distributed work has become much easier, faster and more efficient. The attribute bvirtualQ designates distributed work that is predominantly based on electronic information and communication tools.
Generally, we can differentiate various forms of bvirtualQ work depending on the number of persons involved and the degree of interaction between them. The first is telework (telecommuting) which is done partially or completely outside of the main company workplace with the aid of information and telecommunication services (Bailey & Kurland, 2002; Konradt, Schmook, & Malecke, 2000). Virtual
groups exist when several teleworkers are combined and each member reports to the same manager. In contrast, a virtual team exists when the members of a virtual group interact with each other in order to accomplish common goals (Lipnack & Stamps, 1997). This distinction between virtual group and virtual team is parallel to the distinction between conventional groups and teams in the organizational literature
(e.g., Guzzo & Dickson, 1996; Kozlowski &


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