The Evolution of the Virtuality Phenomenon in Organisations: A Critical Literature Review
Objective: The purpose of this study is to present a review of the scholarly literature development on virtual teams and to redefine the key characteristics and features of ‘team virtuality’ and ‘virtual teams’. Even though previous literature reviews enhanced the understanding of the implications brought about by virtual teams, this study differs from earlier studies in a number of ways.
Research Design & Methods: A literature review through content and citation analyses was conducted using the Web of Science, ABI/Inform and EBSCO databases in order to comprehensively explore all deﬁnitions and characteristics of the concepts of ‘virtual team’ and ‘team virtuality’. A total of 265 articles published between 2006 and 2014 were analysed, and the details of the analyses are herein presented.
Findings: The analyses reveal that the characteristics and deﬁnitions are often contradictory and rarely correspond, thereby attesting to the lack of consensus in the literature. I present a portrait that tackles the literature’s focus on virtual team’s geographic dispersion and its dependency on electronic communication as the core sources of virtuality, as a defining characteristic of virtuality remain to be the lack of face-to-face contact.
Implications & Recommendations: The major implication is that a unified definition is proposed in order to measure virtuality more comprehensively by addressing the gap observed in past research.
Contribution & Value Added: This article contributes to the literature incorporating the studies from the most extensive fields of research. After considering different approaches and dimensional constructs, it has become clear that constructing a single dimension that all research could agree upon is an insurmountable challenge due to the variations of existing definitions as outlined in this article.
virtual teams; team virtuality; definition; literature review; content analysis
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