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Main topic: Why “electronic” or “virtual” teams are critical in combining and leveraging knowledge in organizations and how they can be made more effective.

Subtopic:

feedback /technology for Practical Application of the literature

A key driver of effectiveness in all kinds of teams is the leadership style of managers. It is well known that different work environments require different leadership styles (Gross, R). For example, a software firm may thrive under task oriented leadership while a marketing firm does better with relationship oriented leadership. A research from the Journal of Enterprising culture has established the link between leadership styles and effectiveness of virtual teams. Specifically, the research has explored Transactional, Transformational, and Laissez-Faire Styles of leadership. The research found that, in a virtual team setting, Transformational leadership style brings out the highest effectiveness in teams (Gross, R). This is because the style fosters trust between team members and helps build relationships that allow for free flow of communication and knowledge exchange. Conversely, Transactional leadership, although helps teams meet deadlines of tasks, it does not foster teamwork (Gross, R). Similarly, Laissez-Faire fosters innovation but lacks in building a collaborative environment (Gross, R). The research implies that leaders of virtual teams should adapt their styles to Transformational to improve and maintain effectiveness. 

As described earlier just as leadership style affects virtual team effectiveness, so is the level of trust between team members (Breuer, Hüffmeier, & Hertel, 2016). A research from the Journal of Applied Psychology dove deep into this correlation between trust and virtual team effectiveness. The research developed a metamodel creating a mathematical function of effectiveness with the function of trust levels of team members. The data was gathered from both virtual and traditional in-person teams. Through this model, the research could quantify that the positive correlation between trust and effectiveness in virtual teams is 1.5 times that of in-person teams (Breuer, Hüffmeier, & Hertel, 2016). This means that the presence/lack of trust in a virtual team will affect its effectiveness a lot more than that of in an in-person team. The implication of this research is that leaders of virtual teams should pay special attention to fostering trust within their teams. 

Fostering trust within a team is based on many factors, but the most basic factor is ‘communication’ (McLarnon, O’Neill, Taras, Law, Donia, & Steel, 2019). A research published in the the Canadian  Journal of Behavioral Science established the dependency of virtual team effectiveness on the amount of communication between team members. Specifically, the research evaluated the link between frequency of team member feedback and effectiveness in Global Virtual Teams. The research measured process coordination and performance as indicators of effectiveness. Additionally, three feedback frequency strategies were chosen; no meetings and feedback after the project, weekly team meeting without feedback, and weekly meetings with feedback. The research found that the frequency of ‘weekly feedback’ between team-members is best to maintain high effectiveness in virtual teams (McLarnon, O’Neill, Taras, Law, Donia, & Steel, 2019). Weekly feedback not only ensures communication and trust, it also ensures coordination between team members, a key factor of teamwork (McLarnon, O’Neill, Taras, Law, Donia, & Steel, 2019). This implies that managers should allocate time for weekly feedback between team members.

Virtual teams, as described earlier, depend on communication, trust, relationship building, knowledge sharing, and leadership for effective performance. Along with that they are also dependent on communication technologies to function effectively (Wright, 2015). These technologies can be phone, email, video calling, cloud storage, and so on. With the communication technology rapidly evolving, it can get difficult to keep up for members of virtual teams with new technologies (Wright, 2015). A research published in Journal of Applied Learning Technology developed the link between technology skills of members of virtual teams  with effectiveness of teams. Specifically, the research measured the communication tool usage skills of virtual teams and compared them against their performance. It was found that, better the skills of team members, better was their team effectiveness (Wright, 2015). The research also measured the effect of teaching communication tools to members of poorly performing teams. The upskilling of such team members showed a positive correlation with team effectiveness (Wright, 2015). This implies that companies with virtual teams should ensure tha

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