Virtual Team Interactions

By Kristian Westbye Ølstad and Ola Ringen

28 June 2019 13:15

Virtual Team Interactions

How do virtual team interactions work in general and what particular challenges occur in relation to virtual team interactions?

Kristian Westbye Ølstad og Ola Ringen. Private foto
Kristian Westbye Ølstad (t.v.) og Ola Ringen. Private foto

In recent times, the pace at which technology makes it possible to work together in new ways has been drastically increasing. Virtual working is on the rise, and this work method brings considerable opportunities that were not possible just a short time ago.

However, with new opportunities comes new challenges as well.

With our master’s thesis we have aimed to study how virtual interactions are done today, as well as to identify challenges that typically occur in the hope that shining a light on them will assist in finding appropriate ways to face them.

To study this, we have interviewed people in three different continents about their virtual interactions with each other, and we have also observed some of these interactions ourselves.

We have found that even though virtual teamwork offers opportunities that traditional teamwork does not, there are still aspects from traditional teamwork that will still be important.

One such aspect is physical proximity. Physical meetings can help build trustful relationships, which might be even more important in virtual teams than in traditional ones.

We have also found that time zone differences are something that must constantly be taken into account while working virtually, or else it will lead to slow communication.

Clear communication in general, for example regarding roles and responsibilities, is paramount in virtual teams.

We hope that by pointing to certain challenges that occur in virtual teams, our study can help create an accurate picture of how the virtual interactions of today generally look like.

We also hope that identifying these challenges will make it easier to create solutions on how to improve on the more troublesome aspects regarding virtual teamwork.

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