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Virtual team working: making it happen

Stephen Morris (Senior Consultant with Lindsay McKenna Limited, Ross on Wye, UK)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 18 April 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The paper seeks to discuss virtual working, technology utilisation and how technology can be used to enhance human interaction rather than replace it. It is often the fabric of virtual human relationships that remains sadly neglected. This viewpoint paper aims to stimulate a more comprehensive debate about how to work effectively with and through others in our virtual world.

Design/methodology/approach

Working closely with global corporations, the author studied both permanent and project‐based virtual teams. Through observation and diagnostics, a comparison of the effectiveness of these teams was made against that of traditional co‐located teams.

Findings

Many businesses attempt to treat virtual working in the same way as co‐located working. The human impact and implications of virtual working are not fully understood or dealt with. The cultural retention of practices and policies that are relevant to co‐located traditional work but often counter‐productive for virtual working can result in tensions, conflicts and the ultimate disengagement of the workforce.

Practical implications

This paper offers a sample of the pragmatic tips and approaches the author's organizations brings to its clients. The most practical outcome of reading this paper is the recognition that virtual working has some subtle and key differences that need to be understood and managed by all those involved.

Originality/value

This paper is intended to be thought‐provoking for executive leaders, leaders, human resource professionals, change management agents and – most importantly – members of virtual teams.

Keywords

Citation

Morris, S. (2008), "Virtual team working: making it happen", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 40 No. 3, pp. 129-133. https://doi.org/10.1108/00197850810868612

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Authors