Virtual Teams: Opportunities and Challenges for e-Leaders
Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
In the globalized world with crucial technological changes, leaders are facing unforeseen opportunities as well as challenges while striving to reach their objectives. Such changes have led to organizational restructurings and implied rethinking of leadership functions and practices. Changing organizational structures, from traditional hierarchical towards lower and more flexible ones, have made leaders organize work in new ways. Teams account for one new way of organizing work and reaching
... nizational goals. Likewise, globalized markets have made leaders search for new solutions to meet the needs of customers. In consequence, organizations strive for competitive advantages through downsizing, subcontracting, joint ventures, strategic alliances, and other collaborative and network-based alternatives which are typically facilitated by virtual teams. Virtual teams are geographically and organizationally dispersed teams that function over time zones. Due to such dispersion, physical contact in virtual teams is reduced or lacking altogether which means that collaboration is enabled by IT-solutions such as computerbased communication. This kind of electronically facilitated team work is known to imply opportunities as well as challenges for today's global e-leaders. Research on virtual teams suggests that organizational success greatly depends on leadership. However, it remains unclear what kind of leaders, and more specifically, which leadership skills, behaviors or practices contribute to effective virtual teams. To add knowledge on the field and fill such research gap, this article aims at exploring e-leadership and answering these questions.