Cornell University

Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies

193 Ives Faculty Building, 607-255-9358

Spring 2010 Partner Meeting White Paper Collection

Global Teams: Trends, Challenges and Solutions


In recent years, companies have increasingly turned to virtual teams as a means of connecting and engaging geographically dispersed workers, lowering the costs associated with global collaboration, and enabling greater speed and adaptability. These teams have shifted the way in which organizations traditionally form, manage and evaluate team performance. Virtual teams, although offering many benefits, also pose a number of challenges. Developing effective global leaders, keeping remote employees engaged, forming and developing global teams, monitoring and evaluating distance employees, and developing a global mindset are all areas that companies are working to better understand.

In response to these and other challenges, CAHRS research assistants spent the spring 2010 semester researching and writing about topics of interest to companies either currently utilizing global virtual teams or considering adoption of virtual teams. These topics are presented in this white paper collection. Each paper includes an annotated bibliography, which lists descriptions of additional resources regarding that paper’s topic:

SUMMARY: Evolving technologies allow organizations to become increasingly global. This trend has led organizations to adopt virtual communication to face global challenges. As increasing numbers of organizations implement various virtual communication tools, face-to-face contact has shifted to virtual communication, bringing forth new opportunities and threats. This paper explores the debate between face-to-face and virtual communication and identifies the costs and benefits associated with each, in addition to identifying strategies for effectively utilizing virtual communication.

SUMMARY: Evolving technologies allow organizations to become increasingly global. This trend has led organizations to adopt virtual communication to face global challenges. As increasing numbers of organizations implement various virtual communication tools, face-to-face contact has shifted to virtual communication, bringing forth new opportunities and threats. This paper explores the debate between face-to-face and virtual communication and identifies the costs and benefits associated with each, in addition to identifying strategies for effectively utilizing virtual communication.

SUMMARY: Evolving technologies allow organizations to become increasingly global. This trend has led organizations to adopt virtual communication to face global challenges. As increasing numbers of organizations implement various virtual communication tools, face-to-face contact has shifted to virtual communication, bringing forth new opportunities and threats. This paper explores the debate between face-to-face and virtual communication and identifies the costs and benefits associated with each, in addition to identifying strategies for effectively utilizing virtual communication.

SUMMARY: Greater use of virtual teams is just one way companies are responding to increasingly global demands. Considering the rise of virtual teams, developing a global mindset among managers is essential to overcoming challenges associated with working across languages and cultures. This paper explores the role of a global mindset in overcoming these challenges in the context of remote, virtual work. To this end, the challenges of global managers working in virtual teams are outlined, the concept of a global mindset is defined, and comparisons are made between the characteristics of locally-minded and globally-minded managers. Next, conditions for global virtual team effectiveness are presented and the essential competencies for managers of global virtual teams identified. Finally, strategies for developing a global mindset in leaders and employees are discussed.

SUMMARY: Research suggests that the implementation of virtual teams can provide organizations with many potential benefits—remote working options to greater attract and retain employees, enhanced project decision quality stemming from the firm’s ability to place the best individuals together on a team regardless of geographical location, closer contact to customers worldwide, along with a host of others. However, the benefits afforded by virtual teams are also coupled with many challenges—such as effectively monitoring and evaluating virtual team performance. This paper aims to provide insight into what current research has identified as the major roadblocks in monitoring and evaluating virtual team performance, along with research-derived recommendations regarding how to improve upon these challenges.

SUMMARY: Remotely located employees are quickly becoming a norm in the modern workplace in response to evidence that telecommuters save on costs and produce more efficiently. There are many intangible benefits also felt with the increasing prevalence of remote employees. Telecommuters are more satisfied with their work/life balance and report lower rates of job burnout. Though there are also many well-identified setbacks remotely located managers and employees may face. Employers see the most success with telecommuting by first recruiting the people best fit to fill these remote roles. However, the process of developing remote employees is a process that requires constant monitoring. The purpose of this paper is to identify the best practices being used by companies to keep remote employees engaged while simultaneously avoiding burnout.

Fall 2010 White Paper & Analysis

Re-Examining the Female Path to Leadership Positions in Business


Re-Examining the Female Path to Leadership Positions

SUMMARY: On a global scale, companies continue to struggle with increasing gender diversity in leadership, leaving few women in prominent positions. This paper explores this topic using a critical thinking analysis, integrating current research literature with qualitative insights from a 2010 Center for Advanced Human Resources (CAHRS) working group session. First, the problem is defined, and its effects and causes are explored. Solution criteria are laid out before addressing the solutions. Although organizations still have a long way to go, implementing an integrated set of solutions will allow them to minimize the barriers impeding women’s advancement in the workplace.