Virtual management, brought about by the rise of the Internet, globalization, outsourcing, telecommuting, and virtual teams, is management of frequently widely dispersed groups and individuals with rarely, if ever, meeting them face to face.
Due to developments in information technology within the workplace, along with a need to compete globally and address competitive demands, organisations have embraced virtual management structures. Virtual teams are typically composed of team members who are not located face-to-face and their communication is mediated through information and communication technologies (e.g. video conferencing, email and intranets). Virtual teams represent an important emerging organisational structure which facilitates collaboration between team members located almost anywhere in the world. It is estimated that 41 million corporate employees globally will spend at least one day a week as a virtual worker and 100 million will work from home at least one day a month.
The implementation of a virtual team structure has been shown to produce many benefits including reduced real estate expenses, increased productivity, access to global markets and environmental benefits due to a reduction in airline flights. Virtual teams are also becoming increasingly popular with workers who want to work at home, which can increase employee engagement. Furthermore, as a result of using appropriate communication media, a virtual team is not limited to members from the same physical location or organisation. As such, team members can be assembled according to the skills and backgrounds required, from anywhere in the world, enabling the organisation to become more flexible and to compete globally.
The virtual management could be introduced as a part of the virtual human capital development, which has been introduced by Hanandi and Grimaldi 2010, The VHRD model is an approach of utilizing the captured knowledge and information inside the enterprise environment (top management, external expertise, knowledge worker, workforce), and leveraging this knowledge to a dynamic T&D e-content for developing and enhancing the human capital competitive advantage, This model focuses on rendering the human capital with the skills needed and driving their performance to face any future situation and solve it, by capturing the knowledge object during the interaction activities between the users and reuse it in producing a dynamic e-content for the training and development purpose and in the same adding value for the enterprise competitive advantage.
As with face-to-face teams, management of virtual teams is a crucial component in the effectiveness of the team. However, compared to leaders of face-to-face teams, virtual team leaders face the following difficulties: (a) logistical problems, including coordinating work across different time zones and physical distances; (b) interpersonal issues, including an ability to establish effective working relationships in the absence of frequent face-to-face communication; and (c) technological difficulties, including appropriate technology and ease-of-use. In global virtual teams, there is the added dimension of cultural differences which impact on a virtual team’s functioning.
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