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Enhancing virtual teams: social relations v. communication technology

Ton van der Smagt (University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Publication date: 1 June 2000


Are virtual teams an adequate alternative for co‐located (face‐to‐face) teams in case of complex, equivocal relations? Business scientists are predominantly pessimistic. They argue that “rich” media – those that transmit higher levels of nonverbal cues – are necessary in these circumstances. In this paper a less pessimistic answer is formulated. Starting from the distinction between the report and command aspect of communication, it is argued that a better understanding of both aspects enables the researcher/adviser to change organizations (e.g. by replacing two‐way “monologue” by dialogue and creating trust between parties) in such a way that new and divergent demands on communication emerge. This possibly allows us to drop the demanding face‐to‐face demands threatening the success of network organizations in general and virtual teams in particular.



van der Smagt, T. (2000), "Enhancing virtual teams: social relations v. communication technology", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 100 No. 4, pp. 148-156.




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