Berry (2011) in the article ‘Enhancing Effectiveness on Virtual Teams Understanding Why Traditional Team Skills Are Insufficient’ discusses virtual teams and traditional face-to-face communication. In the article, the author argues that managing virtual teams is not just different but more complex compared to managing traditional teams. The author then goes ahead to identify four competencies for leading virtual teams effectively. These include modeling desired behaviors, allocating resources, communication, and establishing expectations (Berry, 2011). However, the author also acknowledges that these competencies are essential for leading traditional teams effectively. This suggests that leading traditional teams and virtual teams is not that different. The only difference is that the virtual teams are not conducted face-to-face as people are used to.
Trust and cohesion increase the willingness to work together in virtual teams. According to Raver & Ehrhart (2012), when all team members are on the same page, they can work together towards realizing their full potential. This leads to norms that keep members doing more than required to help the team succeed. Several kinds of breakdowns can happen in virtual groups. First, non-helping behaviors from a team member can encourage OCB that can prevent a team from succeeding. Second, a lack of support from managers encourages team members not to help each other which declines team performance.
According to Raver & Ehrhart, (2012), establishing team purpose and agreements early is beneficial. It helps in the formation of the team helping norms associated with team success. This is done by setting prosocial behavioral expectations, and modeling and rewarding them early. Leaders can also use effective communication, and fostering an environment where employees are rewarded for their helping behaviors can help build trust in a new virtual group (Raver & Ehrhart, 2012).
Berry, G. (2011). Enhancing Effectiveness on Virtual Teams Understanding Why Traditional Team Skills Are Insufficient. Journal of Business Communication, 48(2), 186-206.
Raver, J. & Ehrhart, M. (2012). The emergence of team helping norms: Foundations within members attributes and behavior. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 33(5), 616–637