Faculty Research at Morehead State University


Virtual Teams in the Classroom: A Case Study

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With the increase in technology and globalization, virtual teams are to the new century what self-managed work teams were to the past. Virtual teams are "cross-functional teams that operate across space, time, and organizational boundaries with members who communicate mainly through electronic technologies" (McShane & Von Glinow, 2000, p. 271). A virtual team is a tool that the organizations can employ to make quick decisions in a complex environment, especially, in an environment where employees are spread across the globe (Duarte & Snyder, 1999; Manz & Sims, 1987; McShane & Von Glinow, 2000). Both traditional and self-managed work teams have long been used in organizational and educational settings. Research on virtual teams in organizational settings has increased as virtual teams are becoming more widely utilized. Virtual teams are also being utilized in higher education. We know little, however, of how virtual teams function in higher education. It is the purpose of this paper to initially determine the development of the team and the impact of leadership in virtual teams in higher education and to determine how they differ from co-located teams in higher education. Secondly, we would like to determine how to increase the success of virtual teams in higher education. These questions will be addressed by drawing upon and integrating literature and anecdotal evidence.