The rise of the Internet, the creation of a global fiber-optic network, and the rapid development of long distance communication technologies has made it very easy for people all over the world to work together. It created a global platform that has allowed more people to plug and play, collaborate and compete, share knowledge and share work, than anything we have ever seen in the history of the world (Friedman, 2005). The new communication technology gives teams a great advantage by providing many options that didn’t exist before, such as allowing employees to work from their homes locally or by working together in teams across the continents.
The nature of work has begun to shift from a production-based to service related business spawning a new generation of knowledge worker no longer bound to a physical work location. Taken together, these factors suggest that firms are faced with increasing challenges to coordinate tasks across time zones, physical boundaries, cultures, and organizational contexts. The increasing globalization of trade and corporate activity increases the pressure to innovate and provide quality services to worldwide markets. Over time, this has led organizations to choose the most qualified people, a “dream-team,” regardless of their physical location (Kerber, 2004:4). These remotely connected dream teams are known as global virtual teams (GVTs).
Global virtual teams are different from intra-national virtual teams in that they are “not only separated by time and space, but differ in national, cultural, and linguistic attributes (Zakaria, 2004:17).” According to Wheatley and Wilemon (), global team members “differ in their functionality, which adds complexity to group dynamics.” Global virtual teams can be formed quickly and are agile by their nature. They can help organizations decrease their response time to changes in today’s hyper-competitive markets by taking advantage of round the clock work by team members dispersed around the world.
A global virtual team possesses some similarities to traditional teams who are collocated. The same fundamental ideas, as stated in Chapter of this Wikibook, that are necessary for the success of a traditional team still apply to global virtual team. The approach however, requires modification to focus extra effort to exploit the benefits that global virtual teams bring while minimizing the disadvantages that exist from communication difficulties and a lack of physical contact. This paper investigates the benefits, challenges, and best practices of managing global virtual teams while keeping in mind the fact that global virtual teams are still teams requiring the same ideals to ensure success.
Managing Groups and Teams/How Do You Manage Global Virtual Teams? - Wikibooks, open books for an open world