Virtual teams are part of the working environment in the internet age. They are ubiquitous and have enabled teams to form and work together despite geographical boundaries. By bringing people together virtually, they have increased the diversity of teams and team members in organizations. This has undoubtedly increased the cross-fertilization of ideas, work styles, cultures and perspectives. This, in conjunction with the features of the virtual environment, presents unique challenges when building teams that will work together electronically. In this chapter, we have taken stock of theory, research, and practice for virtual teams, identifying gaps and suggesting directions for future research.
Selection for face-to-face teams is daunting in itself. Adding the complexities of the virtual environment to teams increases not only the difficulty of selecting team members, but also the importance of doing so. The internet and working in a virtual landscape are huge changes in work and society, on the same scale as the printing press, assembly line, service economy and globalization. These changes require major shifts in the way people work together, the skills required to work effectively and how organizations identify and select people. We hope this chapter will help industrial and organizational psychologists as they face the challenge of crafting teams and sustaining teamwork in an increasingly virtual workplace.