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NEC_Managing_virtual_teams_WEB - Managing virtual teams...

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Managing virtual teams Taking a more strategic approach A report from the Economist Intelligence Unit Sponsored by
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Managing virtual teams Taking a more strategic approach © The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2009 ± M anaging virtual teams: taking a more strategic approach is an Economist Intelligence Unit report, sponsored by NEC. The Economist Intelligence Unit bears sole responsibility for the content of this report. The findings and views expressed within do not necessarily reflect the views of NEC. This report seeks to provide insights into the prevalence, and management, of virtual teams in business today. For the purposes of this report, the term “virtual teams” refers to a group of geographically dispersed people, either within a single organisation, business unit or department or spanning several organisations, relying primarily or exclusively on information and communications technology (ICT) to communicate and work together towards common goals. Our research drew on two main initiatives: l In October and November 2009, the Economist Intelligence Unit conducted a survey of executives to assess the extent to which companies in Europe use virtual teams and how the teams are recruited and managed. The survey attracted 407 participants from a range of industries, all of whom represented companies with annual revenue of at least US$100m. Of these, 318 respondents currently participate in virtual teams of some kind, or have done so in the past; it is this group’s input that informs the trends reported on within this research. l To supplement the survey results, we also conducted in-depth interviews with numerous executives, industry experts and researchers. This report was written by Clint Witchalls and edited by Monica Woodley and James Watson. We would like to thank everyone who participated in the survey, and all of the interviewees, for their time and insight. Preface
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Managing virtual teams Taking a more strategic approach © The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2009 2 O ver the past decade, the much-hyped promises of the dotcom bubble have steadily become commonplace. The cost of fixed broadband has plummeted and is now in the process of becoming increasingly pervasive across mobile devices too. Online social networks have emerged and boomed, while instant messaging, web and video conferencing, blogs and other online communication and collaboration tools have become the norm. In the process, information and communications technology (ICT) has broken down the boundaries within organisations and between organisations. All this has freed people to work in a location of their choice. Yet, despite predictions to the contrary, there has not been a mass migration to the countryside, and most people do not work from home. In fact, research from the UK’s Office for National Statistics suggests that full-time teleworkers are mainly comprised of the self-employed.
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