It is hardly surprising that these groups are often

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the electronic communication between the members is the only tangible evidence that the group even exists. It is hardly surprising that these groups are often more informally structured and self-managed than are most traditional teams. What also happens is that there will be new secondary roles and differing status for group members, and it is also common that these new roles and status are completely independent of the roles and status that members have in their home organizations. The roles and status that members bring to the virtual team tend to depend primarily upon what they bring to the group that is their roles and status in the virtual team depends very much upon the extent to which they bring something of value to the group. This seems to be even truer of virtual teams than traditional ones (Nydegger, 2009). Some of the other differences that make virtual teams somewhat unique include the effects of anonymity and the lack of physicality (McKenna & Green, 2002), which implies that issues like the maintenance of a clear group identity could be a problem (Finholt & Sproull, 1990). Establishing and maintaining a clear sense of group identity is always an issue and often a problem in any regular group. However, in virtual teams there are far fewer cues to work with, less contact, restrictive contact, less personalized interactions, and fewer opportunities to develop and enhance the relationships that are vitally important to group and team success. Establishing and sustaining good group dynamics is a much more complex problem with virtual teams, but one that must be dealt with if the team is to succeed. We have known for years that a group cannot be effective if it does not have a stable normative structure. Without stable and functional norms any group will not, and in fact cannot, be effective. Similarly, roles need to emerge and develop as well. Since there are fewer social cues and more restricted communication in virtual teams, establishing consistent roles and expectations is not always an easy thing to do either. In virtual teams the information upon which role expectations are established is different than that in regular groups. Once again, this does not make the process less important, but it does make it more complicated. One of the fundamental differences in virtual teams is communication. There is substantial evidence that one of the things that determines how effective a group or team will be is the quality of its communications (Nydegger, 2009). Some of the earlier work on CMC communication in groups suggests that it is not possible to employ the fuller range of communicative acts found in face-to-face (FtF) groups in virtual teams. However, it is also emerging that as people get more experienced with the use of CMC communication they get more expert at imbuing their text messages with both task and social information (Walther, 1992). Observing how people use pictures, symbols, jargon and other shortcuts in their text-based communications demonstrates how much information one can add to the otherwise much leaner text-based communications. Certainly, these kinds of
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  • Spring '17
  • Ma
  • Virtual team, Journal of Business & Economics Research

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