Relationship Building in Virtual Teams: An Academic Case Study

Kathy Egea
InSITE 2006  •  Volume 6  •  2006
Information Technology (IT) provides the infrastructure for communication and collaboration tools for virtual teams, but Henttonen and Blomqvist (2005) suggest that it is the relational communication and factors of trust, commitment and communication that attention. This case study presents a team building strategy for such interaction. Off-campus students in an undergraduate course apply technological design concepts for social mechanisms in communication and collaboration to virtual teamwork. Students utilise the themes of conversation, awareness and coordination and document their reflection on their use over the team lifecycle. All functioning teams indicated that these social mechanisms helped to build team trust and commitment. Seventy-two percent of students indicated positive team experience, despite constraints of workload, time pressure, technology tools, distance and uncooperative team members. This study argues that use of guided and iterative reflections on social mechanisms support virtual team functioning and strengthen relationships.
academic virtual teams, success factors in virtual teamwork, online pedagogy for teamwork, communication and collaboration.
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