The implementation of virtual teams : a theoretical framework
The impact of globalisation and advanced information technology on service and knowledge-based industries in South Africa contributes to these workplaces becoming increasingly virtual. Virtual teams can be seen as a mechanism that organisations could use to increase their orientation for change through enhancing and integrating key organisational resources such as people, space and information technology to deliver greater business value. The findings of several studies suggest that the implementation of virtual teams is associated with benefits such as cost and time saving, increased employee productivity and employee empowerment. There are however salient barriers to effective virtual teamwork that organisations need to address before engaging in the transformational process towards virtual teamwork. The literature review identified ineffective leadership practices, factors relating to virtual team development, inadequate use of information technology and a paucity of social and organisational cultural integration, as the most salient features that impede effective virtual teamwork. The objective of this research was to develop a basic theoretical framework for the implementation of virtual teams. Since virtual teams emanate from a relatively new area of research an inductive methodology, based on a literature review, was used to achieve the research objective. Several theoretical models on virtual teams and their effectiveness thereon were explored to conceptualise the dynamic nature of virtual teams and the requirements for implementing them in the workplace. The results of the study indicated that an emergent approach to change be followed and that the following factors be addressed to determine an organisation's readiness for the implementation of virtual teams, namely: the degree of interdependence between tasks, structural requirements, technological requirements, process redesign and the selection of appropriate people. A methodology for work transformation towards virtual teamwork was suggested based on an integration of these factors.
- Health Sciences 
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