Running Head: Virtual Teams and Face to Face Teams
Virtual Teams and Face to Face Teams
March 4, 2012
As organizations continue to expand globally and increase the use of internet/web technologies to conduct their business, virtual teams continue to increase significantly. In today’s business world, virtual teams are more common in the workplace as opposed to face to face teams. There are various differences between virtual and face to face teams and thus the advantages and disadvantages of each team will be discussed.
Comparison and Contrast
Nonetheless, teams are defined as a group of people with complementary skills ...view middle of the document...
Even the decreased fixed office hours of virtual teams has improved the work life of these teams. Furthermore, virtual teams enable organizations to use the expertise of team members located anywhere in the world and allows seamless collaboration between remote workers on particular tasks. One of the major advantages of a virtual team is that it saves the organization money by cutting travel, relocation, and other business costs (Gibson & Cohen, 2003). As outlined by Cummings, virtual team members are physically separated by equally great distances and experience fewer coordination challenges when they are within the same or fewer time zones than different time zones (Cummings, 2011).
Virtual teams allow flexibility to team members as they can work from home, office or any other location (Berry, 2011) Thus, the presence of all team members is not mandatory for virtual teams.
However, there are disadvantages to virtual teams. Technology in virtual teams enables the completion of work and overcomes many complexities created by time and distance; these technologies still need to be understood as only a communication and collaboration tool and not as communication or collaboration itself (Berry, 2011). According to Nunamaker, Reinig and Briggs virtual teams often lack the methods necessary to focus attention to enable them to establish and maintain a shared understanding about the nature of their task (Nunamaker, Reinig, & Briggs, 2009). Moreover, even with technologies such as video conferencing, these possibilities may not be as effective as in the case of face to face meetings.
The differences in time zones, differences in working practices, cultural sensitivity issues and differences in ethnic background, and languages are very common in virtual team settings and make it difficult for the team members to coordinate and collaborate with each other (Cummings, 2011). In virtual teams, the members are typically more diverse than face to face teams but this can result in conflicting expectations in terms of work processes to include language, metrics and behavioral norms (Nunamaker, Reinig and Briggs, 2009). Additionally in virtual teams, it is difficult to build meaningful relationships (Nunamaker, Reinig and Briggs, 2009). The lack of personal, face to face communication makes it difficult to establish strong bonding among virtual team members. Exchanging information is difficult when virtual teams are able to communicate in a less effective manner as compared to face to face teams without trust.
Building trust is considered one of the biggest challenges within virtual teams (Kirkman, Rosen, Gibson, Tesluk, & McPherson, 2002). Furthermore, Kirkman, Rosen, Gibson, Tesluk, & McPherson referenced that "In virtual organizations, trust requires constant face-to-face interaction—the very activity the virtual form eliminates."
On the other hand, there are advantages to face to face teams as well. Face to face communication involves use of verbal...