Managing Virtual Product Development team: A Review

Document Type : Review Paper


Faculty of Entrepreneurship, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Although there are many potential benefits associated with the use of virtual product development teams, exploiting these benefits requires an appropriate management. Managing virtual product development team is a critical issue as many of these teams fail to accomplish their goals. Review of previous literature shows that body of knowledge in managing virtual product development teams is fragmented and inconsistent. The main objective of this paper is to categorize the previous research on the subject of virtual product development team management in order to integrate the research into a thematic model and to enable recommendations for future research. So, this study reviews and summarizes empirical research in the field, also conceptual and qualitative papers, experiences, reports and explorative case studies. Results show that there are three fields of research in this area, including: Virtual production and Virtual team in Product Development, Managing virtual team in R&D[1] and product development, Managing global virtual product development teams. In order to organize previous studies in this area, a thematic map is proposed which shows the structure and sequence of research. Finally, a comprehensive discussion on the future directions in this field is proposed.

[1] Research & Development


Ale Ebrahim, N., Ahmed, S., &Taha, Z. (2009b). A conceptual model of virtual product development process. Proceedings of the 2nd Seminar on Engineering and Information Technology 8th - 9th July 2009, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
Ale Ebrahim, N., Ahmed, S., &Taha, Z. (2008). Dealing with virtual R&D teams in new product development. APIEMS 2008 Proceedings of the 9th Asia Pasific Industrial Engineering & Management Systems Conference.
Ale Ebrahim, N., Ahmed, S., & Taha, Z. (2012). Modified stage-gate: A conceptual model of virtual product development process. African Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 1(9), pp. 211-219.
Ale Ebrahim, N., Ahmed, S., & Taha, Z. (2010). SMEs; Virtual research and development (R&D) teams and new product development: A literature review. International Journal of the Physical Sciences, Vol. 5(7), pp. 916-930.
Ale Ebrahim, N., Ahmed, S., &Taha, Z. (2009c). Virtual R&D teams in small and medium enterprises:A literature review. Scientific Research and Essays, Vol. 4(13), pp. 1575-1590.
Ale Ebrahim, N., Ahmed, S., & Taha, Z. (2009a). Virtual Teams: a Literature Review. Australian Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences, Vol. 3(3).
Axtell, C. M., Fleck, S. J., & Turner, N. (2004). Virtual teams: Collaborating across distance. In C. L. Cooper, & I. T. Robertson (Eds.), International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Vol. 19(7);Wiley.
Bal, J., &Teo, P. K. (2001). Implementing virtual team working: Part 2–a literature review. Logistics Information Management, Vol. 14(3), pp. 208-222.
Bell, B. S., & Kozlowski, S. W. (2002). A typology of virtual teams implications for effective leadership. Group & Organization Management, Vol. 27(1), pp. 14-49.
Blackburn, R., Furst, S. A., & Rosen, B. (2003). Building a winning virtual team: KSA’s, selections, training, and evaluation. In C.
B. Gibson & S. G. Cohen (Eds.), Virtual teams that work: Creating conditions for virtual team effectiveness. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Bosch-Sijtsema, P. M., &Rispens, S. (2003). Facilitating knowledge transfer in virtual teams through a social network approach. University of Groningen.
Boutellier, R., Gassmann, O., Macho, H., & Roux, M. (1998). Management of dispersed product development teams: The role of information technologies. R&D Management, Vol. 28(1), pp. 13-25.
Cascio, W. F., &Shurygailo, S. (2003). E-leadership and virtual teams. Organizational Dynamics, Vol. 31(4), pp. 362-376.
Chiesa, V., &Manzini, R. (1997). Managing virtual R&D organizations: lessons from the pharmaceutical industry. International Journal of Technology Management, Vol. 13(5), pp. 471-485.
Curseu, P. L., Schalk, R., & Wessel, I. (2008). How do virtual teams process information? A literature review and implications for management. Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 23(6), pp. 628-652.
Dafoulas, G., & Macaulay, L. (2002). Investigating cultural differences in virtual software teams. The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, Vol. 7.
Dekker, D. M., Rutte, C. G., & Van den Berg, P. T. (2008). Cultural differences in the perception of critical interaction behaviors in global virtual teams. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Vol. 32(5), pp. 441-452.
Economist Intelligence Unit. (2009) Managing virtual teams: taking a more strategic approach. The Economist. Finholt, T. A. (2002). Collaboratories. Annual review of information science and technology, Vol. 36(1), pp. 73-107.
Furst, SA., Reeves, M., Rosen, B., & Blackburn, RS. (2004).Managing the life cycle of virtual teams. Academy of Management Executive, Vol. 18, pp. 6-20.
Füller, J., &Matzler, K. (2007).Virtual product experience and customer participation—A chance for customer-centered, really new products. Technovation, Vol. 27(6), pp. 378-387.
Gassmann, O., & Enkel, E. (2004, July). Towards a theory of open innovation: three core process archetypes. In R&D management conference, pp. 1-18.
Gassmann, O., &Zedtwitz, M. (2003).Trends and determinants of managing virtual R&D teams. R&D Management, Vol. 33(3), pp. 243-262.
Goldman, S. L., Nagel, R. N., &Preiss, K. (1995). Agile competitors and virtual organizations: strategies for enriching the customer (Vol. 8). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
Griffith, T. L., & Neale, M. A. (2001). Information processing in traditional, hybrid, and virtual teams: From nascent knowledge to transactive memory. Research in organizational behavior, Vol. 23, pp. 379-421.
Hertel, G., Geister, S., &Konradt, U. (2005). Managing virtual teams: A review of current empirical research. Human Resource Management Review, Vol. 15(1), pp. 69-95.
Jarvenpaa, S. L., D. E. Leidner. (1999). Communication and trust in global virtual teams. Organization Science, Vol. 10(6), pp. 791–815.
Kimball, L. (1997). Managing virtual teams. Text of speech given at Team Strategies Conference sponsored by Federated Press, Toronto, Canada.
Kirkman, B. L., Rosen, B., Tesluk, P. E., & Gibson, C. B. (2004). The impact of team empowerment on virtual teamperformance: The moderating role of face-to-face interaction. Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 47, pp. 175–192.
Lee-Kelley, L., & Sankey, T. (2008). Global virtual teams for value creation and project success: A case study. International journal of project management, Vol. 26(1), pp. 51-62.
Leenders, R. T. A., Van Engelen, J. M., &Kratzer, J. (2003). Virtuality, communication, and new product team creativity: a social network perspective. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, Vol. 20(1), pp. 69-92.
Letaief, R., Favier, M., & Le Coat, F. (2006). Creativity and the creation process in global virtual teams: Case study of the intercultural virtual project. AIM Conference, pp. 242-258.
Maznevski, M. L., &Chudoba, K. M. (2000).Bridging space over time: Global virtual team dynamics and effectiveness. Organization science, Vol. 11(5), pp. 473-492.
Muethel, M., Siebdrat, F., & Hoegl, M. (2012). When do we really need interpersonal trust in globally dispersed new product development teams? R&D Management, Vol. 42(1), pp. 31-46.
Nemiro, J. E. (2002). The creative process in virtual teams. Communication Research Journal, Vol. 14(1), pp. 69-83.
Paul, S., Seetharaman, P., Samarah, I., & Mykytyn, P. P. (2004).Impact of heterogeneity and collaborative conflict management style on the performance of synchronous global virtual teams. Information & Management, Vol. 41, pp. 303–321.
Peters, L. M., &Manz, C. C. (2007).Identifying antecedents of virtual team collaboration. Team Performance Management, Vol. 13(3/4), pp. 117-129.
Precup, L., O'Sullivan, D., Cormican, K., & Dooley, L. (2006). Virtual team environment for collaborative research projects. International Journal of Innovation and Learning, Vol. 3(1), pp. 77-94.
Rezgui, Y. (2007). Exploring virtual team-working effectiveness in the construction sector. Interacting with Computers, Vol. 19(1), pp. 96-112.
Riedl, B. C., Marion, T. J., & Picot, A. (2014). The Influence of Personal Traits on Innovative Processes in Virtual Teams. In System Sciences (HICSS), 2014 47th Hawaii International Conference on, pp. 350-359. IEEE.
Schmidt, J. B., Montoya‐Weiss, M. M., & Massey, A. P. (2001). New Product Development Decision‐Making Effectiveness: Comparing Individuals, Face‐To‐Face Teams, and Virtual Teams. Decision Sciences, Vol. 32(4), pp. 575-600.
Shin, Y. (2005).Conflict resolution in virtual teams. Organizational Dynamics, Vol. 34(4), pp. 331-345.
Skageby, J. (2011). Pre-produsage and the remediation of virtual products. New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia, Vol. 17(1), pp. 141-159.
Strang, K. David. (2011). Leadership substitutes and personality impact on time and quality in virtual new product development projects. Project Management Journal, Vol. 42(1), pp. 73-90.
Thomas, D. M., &Bostrom, R. P. (2005). Virtual Team Leader as Technology Facilitator: the missing role, Proceedings of the 2005 Southern Association for Information Systems Conference.
Tuma, A. (1998). Configuration and coordination of virtual production networks. International journal of production economics, Vol. 56, pp. 641-648.
Ubaka, I. E. (2010).Multicultural effects in global virtual team. Master Thesis: Lulea University of Technology. Upton, D. McAfee A. (1996), “The Real Virtual Factory”. Harvard Business Review.
Uschold, M., Callahan, S., & Works, B. P. (2004). Semantics-Based Virtual Product Models: Unifying Knowledge and Product Data. Anonyms.
Wong, S. S., & Burton, R. M. (2000). Virtual teams: what are their characteristics, and impact on team performance? Computational & Mathematical organization theory, Vol. 6(4), pp. 339-360.
Zigurs, I. (2003). Leadership in virtual teams: Oxymoron or opportunity? Organizational Dynamics, Vol. 31, pp. 339–351