Today's Business world makes many organizations change their structure and way of functioning. Globalization and internationalization of businesses plus advanced technology are the main factors for such changes. Globalization creates a larger need for interaction, communication and coordination across the world. Advances in information technology (IT) enable the fast adaptation necessary to accommodate this constant change (Keen, P. 1991). In traditional organizations teams are formed to have a better coordination and usually operate from the same location. However, with modern business activities which are spread worldwide, operating personnel might be located in different geographical locations. Information technology and networks are the most popular methods of "working together apart" (Stuck, B. W. 1995). Today's technology opens big possibilities for creating and functioning effective teams even though members are geographically separated and not physically present. Such teams are known as "virtual teams".
I am going to review the nature of virtual teams and their place in today's business world.
Also I will outline benefits, problems and challenges that the virtual teams might face. After a brief explanation of the technology which makes these teams possible to exist, I will give a few examples of virtual teams' effectiveness.
One of the more accepted definitions of "team" I have read from Kazenbach and Smith in "Wisdom of Teams"- "A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable" (Kazenbach and Smith 2002). Virtual teams may be defined as teams of people who primarily interact electronically and who may meet face-to-face occasionally (Gould David 2004). These can also be defined as teams "with a common purpose that uses technology to cross time zones, distance, and the boundaries of organizations" (Lipnack and Stamp, 1999). Virtual Teams are...