Leading virtual teams

by Leroy R. Cox, Susan L. Murray, David G. Spurlock
27th Annual National Conference of the American Society for Engineering Management 2006 - Managing Change: Managing People and Technology in a Rapidly Changing World, ASEM 2006 ()

Abstract

Collaborative information technologies have changed the way we conduct business. Now, virtual teams - teams whose members are geographically dispersed and must rely on email, voice mail, instant messaging, or other technologies to communicate - are more prevalent. This growing prevalence has motivated greater scrutiny of team leader effectiveness in virtual working environments. Surveys were administered via an online protocol to nineteen virtual teams of fifty-three engineers. The teams were comprised of working professionals across the country in graduate programs at two universities. Results indicate that those teams led by individuals who clarified roles and task requirements, and recognized the strengths and individual needs of teams members performed better on their assigned tasks. Recommendations for virtual team leaders include communicating in such a way that allows team members to fully understand what is required of them, and delegating specific tasks to individuals.

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