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Uniting the Virtual Workforce: Transforming Leadership and Innovation in the Globally Integrated Enterprise by Richard R. Reilly, Karen Sobel Lojeski

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3
Measuring Virtual Distance
There are some startling statistical results that have been uncovered between Virtual Distance and several important organizational outcomes. In the first study we conducted, a variety of data was collected from over 300 different projects, and Virtual Distance was measured within each of these. A variety of different kinds of projects in a wide mix of industries were included. Our objective was to see if we could empirically verify the relationship between Virtual Distance and organizational performance. We used a technique called linear modeling to link the Virtual Distance pieces to critical success factors. We designed our formula to incorporate all three distance facets of the Virtual Distance Model: physical, operational, and affinity. The model provides an overall Virtual Distance Index (VDI), where higher scores mean greater Virtual Distance. The formula took the following form:
Psuccess = W3Physical + W2Operational + W1Affinity
Here, the W’s represent the weights for each type of distance. We found that as Virtual Distance got lower, project results were better, as represented in Figure 3.1.
One of the companies we studied was an organization that made a conscious decision to collocate all of its employees. While, as expected, there was little Virtual Distance from physical factors, we were surprised to discover that operational and affinity distance factors in this case created almost as much Virtual Distance as we found in globally distributed ...

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