Business Faculty Publications


Global Virtual Teams For Accounting Millennials

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Research in Business Education


virtual teams, global teams, millennials, accounting education


Accounting | Business | Higher Education


At the 2013 International Conference of the Institute of Internal Auditors, Scott Klososky, a keynote speaker and technology futurist, informed the organization of the inherent expansion of the use of “virtual teams” in the future audit environment. He noted that currently more than 11% of the workforce telecommutes, a rate expected to increase in the future. Perhaps more important is the anticipated increase in virtual collaboration among workers, which requires the use and management of virtual teams. This is further reinforced by a recent Harvard Business Review report stating that in a survey of “knowledge workers,” 79% reported working always or frequently in dispersed teams (Ferrazzi, 2014). Although the use of team or group assignments has long been a component of business education, most of the team assignments have been part of a student’s traditional on-campus coursework. However, many instructors realize that as students move into the workplace, they often must interact and work with colleagues who may not be located in the same office, the same city, or even in the same country. This collaboration with individuals who are not in the same location and who may be strangers requires the use of sophisticated technology and communication skills that may not have been part of the students’ educational experience. This research project simulates a global, virtual work environment by examining the perceptions of several types of teams comprised of (a) traditional, on-campus undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a U.S. university, (b) undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in online auditing classes in a U.S. university, and (c) teams of students in a U.S. university with students from Thailand. The teamwork goal was collaboration on an auditing case. As virtual teams and particularly global virtual teams become more common, international accounting firms will likely rely on virtual collaboration to complete audit projects. Thus, accounting graduates will be expected to communicate virtually with their domestic and international peers to complete complex work tasks in a virtual environment. Because current accounting curricula may provide little opportunity to prepare students for the virtual global environment, this research will help determine whether virtual team projects can be designed and successfully utilized in the classroom.