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Abstract

Paradoxically, virtual teams are ubiquitous and often successful, contrary to most current communication theories'predictions. Media naturalness theory (Kock, 2001), an evolutionary perspective on communication and its principles of media naturalness, innate schema similarity, and learned schema diversity can be used to understand, study, and manage successful virtual teamwork. In particular, potential problems of trust and leadership in virtual teams are shown to be amenable to solutions rooted explicitly in an evolutionary context. From a media naturalness perspective, geographic distance and technological complexity are secondary to processes of adaptation, as humans remain the most complex and flexible part of the communication system. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.