In a study of virtual teams, Stanford management science professor Pamela Hinds found that 6 months after virtual team members participated in an intense week-long team building retreat there was zero correlation to their ability to work together. Hinds believes that in order to increase a group’s relational coordination or ability to problem-solve through mutual respect and open communication, members need to “know-who” each other are in their work contexts. Bringing people who don’t usually see each other to do team building exercises in a neutral hotel doesn’t help because Hinds points out, “the truth is we don’t work in neutral territory.”
She emphasizes, “Learning to work together is learning how people work, not just what kind of beer do you like,” even though she adds, “that’s useful information.” Continue reading →
It’s no big secret that virtual teams need to meet face-to-face. As mentioned in an earlier post, a study completed by Dubé and Robey found that the most prevalent contradiction or tension in virtual teams is the necessity for face-to-face presence. There’s something important about corporeality that allows us to relate to each other, which psychologists haven’t yet figured out, but which most companies realize. Indeed, Stanford researcher Pamela Hinds notes that for many companies regularly scheduling face-to-face visits is actually a key strategy to building their virtual teams.
As beneficial as face-to-face is, schlepping people in from different locations is Continue reading →