Marketing and Management on the Internet and Mobile Media
Edited by Teemu Kautonen and Heikki Karjaluoto
Chapter 12: Who is on the Other Side of the Screen? The Role of Trust in Virtual Teams
David W. Birchall, Genoveﬀa Giambona and John Gill INTRODUCTION One of the consequences of globalization and of the rapid development of new technologies is that virtual team working is becoming more and more commonplace: wireless and mobile devices, together with the booming of the Internet, are providing the infrastructure necessary to support the development of new organizational forms as they create opportunities for organizations to set up and manage virtual teams more easily. Moreover, the birth of new organizational structures such as network organizations and new linkages, across company boundaries, time and distance, have also led to the adoption of virtual teaming (Birchall and Lyons, 1995). Although virtual teams have attracted the attention of many researchers (Lipnack and Stamps, 2000; Lurey and Raisinghani, 2001; Powell et al., 2004; Townsend et al., 2000) until recently (Zolin and Hinds, 2004; Zolin et al., 2004) little investigation has been carried out speciﬁcally on what impact trust has on the performance of such teams. From the perspective of managers, virtual teams imply less hierarchical structures, more self-direction, less direct supervision and more diversity (Stough et al., 2000). However, for all of this to work, there is the need for a culture of trust and cooperation within the team. Hence, although virtual teams have the potential to carry unique strategic ﬂexibility by enabling the swift formation and disbanding of groups made up of the best talent available (Lipnack and Stamps, 2000; Townsend et al., 2000), they also have a ‘dark side’ (Victor and...
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