Virtual work: Bridging research clusters

Sumita Raghuram, N. Sharon Hill, Jennifer L. Gibbs, Likoebe M. Maruping

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

220 Scopus citations


Virtual work is the new normal, with employees working from dispersed locations and interacting using computer-mediated communication. Despite the growth in virtual work research, it has tended to occur in siloes focused on different types of virtual work (e.g., virtual teams and telecommuting) that are grounded in different research traditions. This limits opportunities to leverage research across these different domains. We use a co-citation analysis to examine the degree of segmentation in the field of virtual work into disparate research clusters. We find the emergence of three major research clusters: telecommuting, virtual teams, and computer-mediated work (CMW). Motivated by this finding, we carry out a comparative review of the literature in each cluster with the objective of seeking ways to exploit opportunities that cut across them. Based on our review, we first develop a conceptual model using the dispersion and technology dependence dimensions of virtuality to compare different approaches to studying virtuality-related issues across clusters. Next, we use our comparative review to propose a systematic approach for developing research questions that bridge research across the clusters by considering how different approaches to studying virtuality and the ensuing problem domains addressed in one cluster might help to advance research in another. To illustrate this approach, we discuss 12 research questions for bridging across the three virtual work clusters. Finally, we discuss the research implications of our conceptual model and bridging approach. Our review and conceptual model along with the proposed bridging approach help to facilitate a forward-looking agenda for accelerating and enriching virtual work research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-341
Number of pages34
JournalAcademy of Management Annals
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Virtual work: Bridging research clusters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this