Virtual Teams

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Virtual teams were almost unheard of a decade ago, but today they are an integral part of every organization. The recent “offshore outsourcing” trend and the growth of the Internet and similar globally linking technologies are major contributor to the increase in the use of virtual teams. Virtual teams are made up of people working on interdependent tasks and interacting largely via communication technology to achieve a common goal without concerns of time and space. Such teams carry out many critical functions, including information collection and dissemination, decision making, and implementation.

Virtual teams present new challenges to business leaders. Cultural, geographic, and time differences make it challenging for a leader to provide structure to followers, evaluate their performance, inspire and develop them, and enable them to identify with the organization. As Avolio, Kahai, and Dodge (2001) indicate, there are new frontiers rapidly opening focusing on what constitutes effective leadership in the information environment. Both the research community and organizations can benefit by examining the topic of leadership in virtual teams. Researchers and practitioners need to know the role of a virtual team’s “virtuality” in influencing leader-follower interactions and its effects on a leader’s and team’s performance. With this objective in mind, we welcome submissions that address the topic of virtual team leadership. Examples of relevant topics also include (but are not limited to):

The trend toward physically dispersed work groups has necessitated a fresh inquiry into the role and nature of team leadership in virtual settings. To accomplish this, we assembled thirteen culturally diverse global teams from locations in Europe, Mexico, and the United States, assigning each team a project leader and task to complete. The findings suggest that effective team leaders demonstrate the capability to deal with paradox and contradiction by performing multiple...
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