Leading Virtual Teams Continues To Be Challenging


Talk to those who coach leaders and they will tell you that leading virtual teams continues to be challenging. The interesting thing is that that there is fair amount of relevant research that can benefit leaders. Unfortunately, such research never makes its way to the general public. We academics do a pretty good job conducting rigorous research but we are not good at disseminating our research. I had started this blog to share what research is telling us about leading virtual teams. There are quite a few articles there that are likely to be helpful for anyone leading work over electronic channels, including those who are not leading pure virtual teams. A fair amount of our work in teams gets conducted over electronic channels such as email, instant messaging, wikis, blogs, etc. even if we are not part of a pure virtual team.

Here are two sets of five articles each that can help someone interested in leading virtually get started. Start with the first set and move on to the second set to learn more about the topic. The articles are likely to be beneficial even to those who are not formally responsible for leading work over electronic channels. Leadership is not something that rests only with those put into leadership positions. Others also end up exercising influence numerous times; whenever that happens, leadership is being attempted.

Set 1

  1. What Leads to Effective Virtual Teamwork
  2. Communication is Key in Virtual Work
  3. Can Being Virtual Benefit a Leader
  4. Deconstructing the Paradoxes of Virtual Team Leadership
  5. Spread Your Virtual Smile, Really

Set 2

  1. Yes, Leadership Changes in a Web 2.0 World
  2. Virtual Team Challenges and Solutions
  3. Training to Get More From Your Virtual Team
  4. Promoting Cooperation Among Subgroups in Virtual Teams
  5. Building Social Relationships in Virtual Teams

I would love your feedback on these articles. Also, let me know if there are topics related to leading virtually that you would like me to write about. I would benefit significantly from knowing what you in the field are struggling with. It will help me focus my writing.

Article written by

Surinder Kahai is an Associate Professor of MIS and Fellow of the Center for Leadership Studies at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton. He has a B. Tech in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (Bombay), an M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Rutgers University, and a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Michigan. Surinder has an active research program on leadership in virtual teams, computer-mediated communication and learning, collaboration in virtual worlds, CIO leadership, and IT alignment. His research has been published in several journals including Data Base for Advances in Information Systems, Decision Sciences, Group & Organization Management, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management Information Systems, Leadership Quarterly, and Personnel Psychology. He is currently serving on the editorial boards of Group and Organization Management, IEEE-TEM, and the International Journal of e-Collaboration. He co-edited a Special Issue of Organizational Dynamics on e-leadership and a Special Issue of International Journal of e-Collaboration on Virtual Team Leadership. Surinder has won numerous awards for his teaching, including the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Surinder has spoken on and consulted with several organizations in the U.S. and abroad on the topics of virtual team leadership, e-business, and IS-business alignment, and IS strategy and planning

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