Virtual team collaboration and innovation in organizations
Authors: L.J. Gressgård
Publication Year: 2011
Journal: Team Performance Management
Because of the changes information and communication technologies (ICT) have undergone in the recent years, new ways or working and types of organizations have become apparent. One of them is virtual teamwork that is regarded as an important concept in modern organizations. This article discussed what the impact of virtual teamwork is on the innovation capabilities of an organization, because of the impacts it has on the knowledge development and shared understanding. After a review of the literature the article starts by describing the most important aspects of modern ICT, followed by a discussion how this influences the innovative activities and capabilities of organizations and ends by giving suggestions for future research. Multiple conclusions are drawn: first of all the interrelationship between knowledge access and exploitation for innovation capabilities for innovation capabilities. Secondly it states that knowledge development is essential for an organizations’’ innovation capabilities which can be seen in figure 2.
The issues addressed in this paper have important consequences for practitioners and researchers involved with virtual teams: “First and foremost, it is important to consider the antecedent conditions for achieving innovative outcomes of virtual teamwork, and by this be able to conﬁgure the technologies based on the most relevant factors. In other words, the technology has to be adapted to the situation at hand and the objectives of the teamwork. As use of virtual teams focusing on development of products and services is becoming a viable form for organizational work in modern business life, factors important to the efﬁciency and effectiveness of such teams should be emphasized in organizational work and future research.”
Purpose – Virtual teams, understood as teams with geographically dispersed members communicating primarily by use of information and communication technologies (ICT), have become a viable form for work in innovation projects involving one or several organizations. Knowledge development and creation of a shared understanding among team members are often stressed as fundamental to successful innovation processes. This paper aims to address how use of ICT in team collaboration impacts on the creation of a shared understanding and knowledge development within the teams, and how these factors are important for organizations' innovation capabilities. Design/methodology/approach – Based on a review of the literature, the paper discusses how modern ICT may impact on the organization of innovative activities and organizations' innovation capabilities.
Findings – Several important factors related to the use of ICT in teams working on innovation projects are highlighted. A conceptual model and directions for future research based on a literature review are proposed.
Practical implications – Based on the discussion, a conceptual model is presented which highlights the need for well-functioning computer-mediated team interaction in order to realize the innovation potential of organizations.
Originality/value – The paper emphasizes the reciprocal significance of knowledge access and knowledge exploitation for organizations' innovation capabilities, and discusses how ICT impacts on both aspects.