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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues

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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues
Research
Jan 15, 2005

Virtual Workspace Technologies

Abstract

Multinational companies increasingly rely upon the work of virtual teams to manage their global intellectual assets and encourage innovation. Spanning functional, geographical and corporate boundaries, virtual team members work together on various projects but are based in different locations nationwide or worldwide. Virtual teams allow companies to leverage their global expertise, take the pulse of diverse markets, promote broader participation in key strategic decision making, increase job flexibility, lower travel costs and pool the knowledge of experts (Majchrzak et al., 2004a). The current economic and socio-political climate has made frequent face-to-face meetings a thing of the past, and because displacing functional and regional experts from the centers of their expertise is often problematic, many executives seek technological solutions to help their virtual teams maintain and sustain essential links. E-mail and conference calls have, until recently, formed the backbone of communications support for virtual groups, but these rudimentary technologies have been found to encourage miscommunication and the loss of crucial contextual information. Can e-mail and audioconferencing adequately support virtual teams, or do they need new technologies that assure a richer communication flow between participants? Research attention has begun to focus on how technologies mediate communication among virtual team members and suggests what technological features might be best suited to different work and cognitive situations.


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