Creativity in Virtual Teams

Creativity in Virtual Teams


Nemiro, Jill E. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004
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Written by Jill Nemiro—an expert in organizational and team creativity—Creativity in Virtual Teams offers readers a model for achieving high levels of creativity in a virtual environment. As a result of global competition, organizational creativity has become an increasingly important issue. Virtual teams can experience even higher levels of creativity than traditional teams as a result of their flexibility, the diversity of their team members, and their access to widely dispersed information. However, it is critical that teams develop and maintain a social context that is conducive to both efficiency and creativity. Virtual teams should not only be designed to allow members to collaborate, an appropriate leadership structure should also be in place to manage and guide the team in idea generation, in the development of their ideas, in the finalization and closure of the project, and in the evaluation of the process. In a virtual environment, teams require a sense of connection in order to develop a sense of community and identity. For virtual teams to have a strong connection in regard to completing their tasks, two dimensions are crucial: dedication/commitment to the project and clear goals. Likewise, teams that have a strong interpersonal connection experience high levels of information sharing and trust, and team members are able to establish a personal bond necessary in supporting each other and in reaching their goals. These kinds of connections do not happen by accident. They must be designed by, and encouraged by, team leaders, managers, and team members. Leaders and managers must also ensure that teams have the resources, including time that they need. Further, without establishing agreed-upon norms and protocols to guide and monitor their activities, teams cannot successfully generate and develop their ideas. In addition to establishing expectations about communication and collaboration, virtual teams should also create norms in regard to specific task sharing and completion. Because all teams evolve over time, a core value that should be a part of virtual teamwork is continual assessment and learning from experience.