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Debra Cohen

Debra Cohen, PhD, SPHR, is the chief knowledge development and integration officer for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and is responsible for the Society’s Knowledge Development and Integration Division, which includes the SHRM Knowledge Center (including the Society Library), the Research Department, Academic Initiatives, and HR Standards.  Dr. Cohen joined SHRM in May of 2000 as the director of Research. Prior to joining SHRM, Dr. Cohen spent 15 years as an academician teaching HRM at George Washington University (10 years) and George Mason University (5 years). Dr. Cohen has published over 40 articles and book chapters and has been published in several journals. Dr. Cohen received her PhD in management and human resources in 1987 and her master’s degree in labor and human resources (MLHR) in 1982, both from The Ohio State University. She received her bachelor of science (in communications) from Ohio University. She is a frequent presenter at national, international, and regional conferences and has spoken to a wide variety of audiences.  Prior to her academic career, she was a practicing human resources manager (in Training and Development).


Virtual Teams: Challenges and Opportunities

This session will cover what is currently known about the effectiveness of virtual teams and will highlight some of the common challenges or barriers to success.  The session will also cover what is known about the positive impact of virtual teams.  Two examples of large scale virtual teams will be presented as "living cases" and will describe how these virtual teams came to be, what the successes have been, and what continuing challenges are faced. 

The objective of the session is to demonstrate through application the benefits and drawbacks of virtual teams.  Lessons learned will be shared with an eye toward participant take-aways that can be used at a later time.

Learning Objectives

1. Describe how virtual teams form and why they are used instead of face-to-face teams.

2. List the pros and cons of virtual teams compared to traditional teams.

3. Explain how virtual teams may be both effective and ineffective, using two applied case examples.