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Virtual Team Building > Traditional Teams vs. Virtual Teams

Traditional Teams vs. Virtual Teams

Traditional teams have a life cycle. Team members are chosen based on criteria for a variety of purposes. Members come together tentatively, grow to recognize one another's work habits, bond as a group, challenge one another, and eventually focus on and accomplish a goal. Virtual teams follow the same pattern, but leadership roles are complicated by the lack of face-to-face interaction.

In 1965 Bruce Tuckman defined the life cycle of a traditional team: Norming (creating the structure of the team), Storming (challenging the structure), Forming (settling into the work of the team), and Performing (achieving the goal). A fifth stage is added for teams brought together only for a specific project, Adjourning. The life cycle of a virtual team is very similar, but the initial stages are more crucial and complex.


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