Virtual teamworking and collaboration in occupational therapy: a paradox

Journal article citation:
British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 75(12), December 2012, pp.574-576.

Working in a service that is spread across a wide geographic area can mean that opportunities for networking are infrequent with a knock-on effect on professional development. This practice analysis focuses on a project arising from a training event provided for 15 geographically dispersed occupational therapists in England. They wanted to continue the collaborative opportunities afforded by spending time together and it was suggested that an online space might be useful. Although enthusiastic about virtual teamworking, the therapists did not engage meaningfully with the online space. The authors analyse this unsuccessful outcome in relation to three of the five paradoxes inherent in virtual teams and comes to an understanding of the reasons for the project's failure. The three paradoxes, as defined by Dubé and Robey (2009), are: virtual teams need a physical presence, flexibility of teamwork is aided by structure, and task orientated teamwork succeeds through social interactions. The paper concludes with suggestions for others undertaking a similar initiative.

Subject terms:
internet, occupational therapists, collaboration, continuing professional development;
Content type:
practice example
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