Uniting the Virtual Workforce: Transforming Leadership and Innovation in the Globally Integrated Enterprise,
by Karen Sobel Lojeski and Richard R. Reilly,
published by Wiley, April, 2008


As our society continues its transition from the Industrial Age to the Digital Age, new challenges are being introduced into the workplace, giving rise to a new phenomenon, Virtual Distance, comprised of three major axes: physical distance, operational distance and technical difficulties. Uniting the Virtual Workforce, part of Wiley’s Microsoft Executive Leadership series, introduces the concept of Virtual Distance to show businesses the definite costs to doing work in a virtual environment. It then goes a step further and offers proven methods for measuring these costs and guidance on managing them.


“Uniting the Virtual Workforce charts the course for competing in the 21st century by tapping into the powers of virtual work. Any manager who ignores the virtual workforce is underperforming and any company or organization that does not appreciate virtual work is already at a competitive disadvantage.”


Jerry MacArthur Hultin, President of Polytechnic University and former Undersecretary of the United States Navy


“Lojeski and Reilly bring us something that readers of business books so rarely get – no nonsense practical guidance on how to manage distance, especially where it most often serves as an impediment to working effectively. If you interface with widely dispersed team members who rarely see one another and communicate by virtue of impersonal electronics, you may expect to find this book provocative, counterintuitive, and above all, exciting. It gives all of us who have to struggle, while working with talent stretched across distance, hope, that maybe there are ways to do this right!”


Patrick J. McKenna, author of First Among Equals


“Authors Sobel Lojeski and Reilly have provided a useful primer for the harried executive striving for productivity improvements while seeing the workload expand and the workforce disperse. Using conceptual definitions of Physical, Operational, and Affinity Distance to describe the multifaceted dimensions of building teams of people to work effectively together, the authors construct a very powerful set of metrics for a manager to improve the capability of his or her workgroup, no matter where it resides or how it is composed. The book is rich in anecdotes and specific studies that illustrate the concepts in an engaging, pertinent, and easy-to-understand manner. In an age of outsourcing, offshoring, and decentralizing groups of people who have to get things done together, reading this small book will repay itself many times over.”


Charles House, Director, Media X Lab at Stanford University, and former Director of the Societal Impact of Technology, Intel Corp.


“Uniting the Virtual Workforce” offers much-needed guidance on how to navigate the largely unmapped territory of virtual work environments in the global economy. The authors do an outstanding job of presenting how organizations should address the challenges of virtual workforces so as to reap the huge potential benefits of increased growth, productivity, and innovation.”


C. Warren Axelrod, PhD, Chief Privacy Officer and Business Information Security Officer, U.S. Trust, and author of Outsourcing Information Security


Leading the Virtual Workforce: How Great Leaders Transform Organizations in the 21st Century,
by Karen Sobel Lojeski, published by Wiley,
October, 2009


Leading the Virtual Workforce builds off the ground-breaking concept of Virtual Distance introduced in Sobel Lojeski’s seminal first book, Uniting the Virtual Workforce. In never-before-published interviews, leaders from IBM, Merck, Western Union, Alcatel-Lucent, HP, AT&T, and more share detailed case studies about what’s different about leadership today and how to become a great leader in the Digital Age.


“I agree entirely with Karen when she says that today, more than ever, effective leaders are desperately needed. She skillfully defines the dislocation and demarcation of leaders from followers through the ‘Virtual Distance,’ and yet paradoxically calls leaders to ‘stoke the flames of innovation and cooperation in a complex, interwoven world.’ This gives rise to her exploration of the Virtual Distance Leader. As Karen points out, the twenty-first-century leader must, amidst the conditions of pressure, change, and transformation, bring human endeavor and action to value and meaning for others.”


Adrian Machon, Director, Executive & Leadership Development, GlaxoSmithKline


“Karen Lojeski has distilled the essence of the leader’s role in ‘managing’ virtual teams. Her very relevant case stories illustrate that to be successful, the authentic leader must be able to create context and a collaborative lexicon for virtual knowledge sharing and must work diligently to build the social capital that is so vital to the success of virtual work groups. Karen’s key contribution in this and her previous book, Uniting the Virtual Workforce, is the ‘discovery’ and clear articulation of her theory of the Virtual Distance Index, which leaders can use to measure and manage the process of virtual teamwork.”


Dave Davison, Chairman, Virtual Visuals Inc.


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