Virtual and face-to-face teams share many of the same characteristics that are defined by the definition of the team. Relying on the definition of Kazenbach and Smith, a team is “a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable” (‘Virtual Teams’, n.d.). Thus, both virtual and face-to-face teams to be effective should, first, include people with complementary skills, and, second, ensure mutual responsibility and general commitment. The difference between the two types lies in the model of communication.
Face-to-face groups work, physically seeing all the members, while members of virtual teams have to use special software to get in touch with each other. Virtual teams unite their members “through creating a virtual co-presence (sometimes called virtual co-location) through the application of technology” (‘Working in Virtual Teams’, n.d.).
In theory, Aberdeen model can be applied to virtual teams as well as to face-to-face ones. Psychologically, however, there are going to be challenges. One of the best characteristics of employment at Aberdeen was the flexibility with which a worker could join different teams to learn various skills. Transition from one group to another is easier when a person meets new people face-to-face. Managers can try to overcome this difficulty by arranging team meetings every time an employee joins the group, although such an undertaking can detract from the main advantage of virtual teams – economy on travel expenses and time.
Otherwise, most aspects of team work at Aberdeen can be successfully transplanted to virtual team environment. Teams can continue their work on individual schedules that will be even easier to administrate given the fact that every employee stays at home and does not have to be transported to a certain place at a certain time. Jams and traffic delays will cease to weigh down on schedule. It is also possible to arrange group discussions, provided the right kind of technology is available, that will solve all the problems in the group, such as supply disruptions, quality problems. Performance evaluation can also be done online, along with the suggestions relating to pay increases for team members.
‘Virtual Teams’. (n.d.). Retrieved on September 7, 2005 from
‘Working in Virtual Teams: Overcoming Time and Geography?’ (n.d.). Retrieved on September 7, 2005 from