The conventional way that people work is changing – today’s employees are likely to work in virtual teams at some point in their careers. T oday’ s companies are more likely to have an employment force spanning the world, and the face-to-face (FtF) aspect of proximal teams is no longer always possible or desirable. But what are virtual teams? Simply defined, teams are a collection of individuals who are interdependent in their tasks and exist for some task-oriented purpose (Cohen and Baily, 1997; Guzzo et al., 1996). A virtual team, in addition to the above, works across time, space, and organizational boundaries (Lipnack and Stamps, 1997). Team members are not necessarily located in the same building, time zone, or even country, and communicate with each other through advanced communication and information technology. While research on virtual teams is increasing, many questions remain regarding what is needed to ensure their effectiveness. The FtF meetings and socialization that occur when team members are co- located can serve to strengthen the bond between team members, whereas socialization in teams may be diminished with virtual teams. When team members can’t “bump” into each other in the hall, meet informally in the break room, or even see each other, can a bond exist between them? Can team members feel as committed to a virtual team as a traditional FtF team?
Powell, Anne, "Commitment in a Virtual Team" (1999). AMCIS 1999 Proceedings. 124.