Virtual teams: not only a technological matter

Diapositiva1For my master thesis (Master in Work and Organizational Psychology at Maastricht Universiteit) I studied attitudes and cognitive aspects that have an impact on virtual teams’ collaboration with respect to efficacy and effectiveness. Study’s sample was composed by  two virtual teams set in two different countries: Italy and Mozambique.

During a virtual team collaboration simulation, I considered many cognitive aspects that have to be addressed for distance-teamwork-collaboration. According to Wilson and Whitelock (1998) reliability and stability of the used device enables communication among team members. In other words, selected technology need to be adaptable and tailored for the specific collaboration’s aim. For example selected media has to connect people through e-mails and chats,  if virtual team wants to use synchronous and asynchronous communication.

A part from that, online collaboration is not only a technological matter. Trust among team members (Kimble, 2011), shared backgrounds (Tolmie & Boyle, 2000) perception of usefulness of participation (Bliuc, Ellis, Goodyear,& Piggott, 2011) and perceived interdependence (Nam & Zellner, 2011) are examples of cognitive constructs related to virtual team collaboration. It is important to create a culture of team work and being sure that people feel that they are joining a useful activity. In the opposite case there will be no collaboration. Tolmie & Boyle (2000) underlined the importance of having a shared background. More than having it, I guess that it is more important to have a drive in sharing background than an already shared.

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