Raising global competition, increasing customer demand, requests to deliver just-in-time, and an increasing pressure to cut costs are only a few examples to express the need for more flexibility, speed and agility of organizations. Companies in different industry segments can achieve this requirement by flexible organizational structures, a knowledgeable and motivated workforce, and the application of technology and communication media. In this context the composition of teams plays an important role because it has proven to be a fast and comprehensive way to solve problems, to fulfil customer demand, and to develop new products and processes. Over the past decade the construct of teams has further developed into so called virtual teams. Virtual teams are teams which include team members who work together remotely from various locations around the globe.
The modality of working in virtual teams becomes more popular as the world’s population becomes more connected. Research proposes that virtual teams are as effective as traditional teams. Virtual teams offer the opportunity to meet the challenges of cost effectiveness, product quality, and speed in an international setting that is driven by customer orientation and a rapidly changing economy. Furthermore, people with the most experience and knowledge for a specific business topic can be brought together no matter where they are located in the world.
In a virtual team setting, modern communication technology plays an important role because it brings together the virtual team members that are located in various places around the globe. Formerly, members of a traditional team had many opportunities to meet in-person to discuss business and project issues. But with team members working from distributed locations, meeting in-person is hindered. In such cases a team depends heavily on communication technology that offers some kind of substitution for meeting in-person.
Video conferencing has long been known as one option to meet distributed team members face-to-face. Because traditional video conferencing had its limitations, vendors lately have introduced telepresence systems. These systems are designed to counteract the hindrances of traditional video conferencing. Thus, the purpose of this book is to investigate whether, or not the modern communication technology has the capability to support managing from a geographical distance. Furthermore, it is to find out whether telepresence can facilitate virtual team work in the major tasks.