As the nature of work in today’s organizations becomes more complex, dynamic, and global, there has been increasing emphasis on distributed, “virtual” teams as organizing units of work. Despite their growing prevalence, relatively little is known about this new form of work unit. The purpose of this article is to present a theoretical framework to focus research toward under- standing virtual teams and identifying implications for effective leadership. The authors focus on delineating the dimensions of a typology to characterize different types of virtual teams. First, the authors distinguish virtual teams from conventional teams to identify where current knowl- edge applies and new research needs exist. Second, the authors distinguish among different types of virtual teams, considering the critical role of task complexity in determining the under- lying characteristics of virtual teams and leadership challenges the different types entail. Propo- sitions addressing leadership implications for the effective management of virtual teams are pro- posed and discussed.
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