How do virtual teams process information? A literature review and implications for management

Petru L. Curşeu, René Schalk, Inge Wessel
2008 Journal of Managerial Psychology  
How do virtual teams process information? A literature review and implications for management Curseu, Petre; Schalk, Rene; Wessel, I. Abstract Purpose -The purpose of this paper is to inform readers on what is known on information processing in virtual teams and to discuss the consequences of these findings for the management of virtual teams. Design/methodology approach -Systematic review of the literature on information processing in virtual teams based on a general information processing
more » ... tion processing model for teams. Findings -An overview of the most relevant factors that influence the effectiveness of virtual teams is provided. Research limitations/implications -The review is based on existing literature on virtual teams and it discusses future research directions opened by the conceptualization of virtual teams as information processing systems. Practical implications -The paper identifies the factors that can improve the effectiveness of information processing in virtual teams. Originality/value -The general information-processing model for teams enables a systematic integration of the fragmented literature on virtual teams. Virtual teams are nowadays a common form of organizing work. Organizations use virtual teams to innovate, make decisions or solve complex problems, tasks that heavily rely on information processing. Information processing in virtual teams depends on the interplay between the individual cognitions of team members and team interaction processes (Curşeu et al., 2007) . The virtual character of the communication processes has important implications for the dynamics of virtual teams and therefore for the way they process information. The basis for this article is an integrative model for information processing in virtual teams. The model serves as a framework to integrate the theoretical arguments and the empirical results concerning the impact of communication technology on team effectiveness in cognitive tasks (tasks that require information processing). First, we address the main typologies of virtual teams as well as the reasons for using virtual teams in organizational settings. Second, we describe the general information-processing model for teams, and use it further on to integrate the literature on information processing in virtual teams. Finally, we discuss the theoretical and practical implications of this systematic review of the literature. The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
doi:10.1108/02683940810894729 fatcat:xzz2etbiibhuxc2wzcsuapvyvq