Understanding the positive and negative effects of team virtuality: A theoretical review and research agenda

Shi Zheng, Ming Yan*, Yongyi Liang*, Yuanyi Chen, Qi Wei, Shengwen Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Working in virtual teams is increasingly common, and the notion of team virtuality has received considerable academic attention. However, the definitions of team virtuality lack coherence, its theoretical integration is inadequate, and its effects on individual and team performance are not fully understood. To address these gaps, we systematically review the characteristics of team virtuality and its positive and negative effects based on various theoretical perspectives. Through this review, we find that no consensus is reached on the definition of team virtuality, and its dimensions are not fully identified. Moreover, we find that team virtuality positively influences individual and team performance through two mechanisms: resource and information, and motivation and ability. However, it also exerts negative effects through three mechanisms: cognition, emotion and relationship, and technology and media. Based on these findings, we propose several potential directions for future research: (1) integrate four characteristics of team virtuality by redefining its concept and dimensions based on process virtualization theory, (2) integrate the positive and negative effects of team virtuality using a resources conservation-based model, in which team virtuality positively and negatively affects individual and team performance through personal resource gain and personal resource loss, respectively, (3) integrate the different effects of team virtuality by exploring boundary conditions, and (4) integrate the dual effects by investigating the curvilinear relationship between team virtuality and its outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101013
Number of pages18
JournalHuman Resource Management Review
Issue number2
Early online date30 Jan 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Jan 2024

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

User-Defined Keywords

  • Team virtuality
  • Virtual teams
  • Theoretical perspectives
  • Conservation of resources theory
  • Process virtualization theory


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