Virtual teams are comprised of members who are located in more than one physical location. This team trait has fostered extensive use of a variety of forms of computer‐mediated communication that enable geographically dispersed members to coordinate their individual efforts and inputs. Perhaps even more important, however, is the reality that virtual teams need to effectively collaborate to harness their full performance capabilities in order to compete in the highly competitive environments of contemporary organizations. This paper seeks to address the topic of virtual team collaboration from a “back door” perspective by identifying conditions that need to be present in order for it to effectively occur.
This paper looks at how the depth of relationships, trust, and shared understandings among the team members feed into a team's collaborative ability, based on a thorough review of the literature. It also examines the interrelationships among these factors while suggesting that each of these antecedents is important and that the existence of one without the others results in a suboptimal collaboration model.
Using the theoretical and conceptual underpinnings presented, a model of virtual team collaboration is developed.
The paper has suggested that developed relationships, shared understanding, and trust serve as important antecedents of virtual collaboration. This raises the possibility that organizations can help create a context for team members to achieve increased levels of virtual collaboration by focusing on these potentially important factors. This, in turn, may promote subsequent innovation and performance.
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