Virtual Teams Thrive With Independent & Interdependent


According to a new study, virtual teams work best when they have both independence and interdependence.

A study titled Interdependence in Virtual Teams—A Double-Edged Sword? has revealed that virtual teams must have adequate access to resources and knowledge in order to be effective. They must be structured to achieve a common goal. This can be done by encourageing team members to rely on one another and work closely together. 

The researchers tested 102 virtual teams by varying two forms of task interdependence: resource interdependence and process interdependence. The former relates to how much team members rely on one another to obtain vital information or resources, whilst the latter refers to how collaborative team members’ workflow is.

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They discovered that teams performed best when they had minimal resource interdependence. This is because everyone had equal access to all resources. Therefore, high levels of process interdependence when they were encouraged to collaborate.

“These results are important for managers and organisations in thinking about how they can design work for virtual teams to help them improve their performance,” said Dr Florian Klonek, Senior Lecturer at Deakin Business School’s Department of Management. He advised managers and organisations to build a shared folder. This is where everyone has equal access to information and resources. Therefore, think to reconsider how processes are designed and who interacts with whom.

According to Dr. Lisette Kanse, Senior Lecturer at the University of Western Australia, virtual workplace collaboration platforms like Teams, Google Drive, Trello, and Slack enable teams to work more naturally and replicate the experience of face-to-face teamwork.

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