A lot of virtual team research crosses my screen, most of which is earnest and much of which is the equivalent of a Sunday-night eat-up of what's in the refrigerator. And then something like this comes through, "Developing Real Skills for Virtual Teams," from University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School. Not surprising, given that one of our two collaborators on the HBR "far-flung teams" classic, "Can Absence Make a Team Grow Stronger?" -- Arvind Malhotra -- is associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship there.
This ia a truly excellent white paper on the basics of how virtual teams can succeed, including lots of statistics, a good list of challenges, and some pointers for HR. Download and enjoy. Well done, Kenan-Flagler folks, and thanks to their community manager, Harrison Kratz, for alerting me back in February of this year. Good ideas never die; they just remain in the inbox until their proper moment.
Here's the outline for the paper; links will take you right to the sections of the paper.