Managing performance barriers in virtual teams



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Technological developments and the modern economy have changed the way teams operate. Most professionals today are mobile and equipped with everything they need to work from anywhere at any time, including blackberries, laptop computers, email, video conferencing and other personal productivity devices. Doing work this way, allows for a wide range of benefits such as flexibility, diversity and an increase in productivity. However, these virtual teams require specific conditions to help them reach their full potential. This paper will identify the four major characteristics of virtual teams (geographic dispersion, electronic dependence, dynamic structure and national diversity) and use a model of virtual team effectiveness to examine the three team processes (transactive memory, work engagement and collective efficacy) that are most strongly affected by these characteristics. It will further suggest ways in which leadership can help to overcome these process losses through the establishment of trust, psychological safety and conflict management.