1. Introduction

 
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In the competitive market, virtual Research and Development (R&D) teams which is ‘a group of people who work interdependently with a shared purpose across space, time, and organization boundaries using information and communication technology’ represent a growing response to the need for fasting time-to-market, low-cost and rapid solutions to complex organizational problems. Virtual teams enable small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to pool the talents and expertise of employees and non-employees by eliminating time and space barriers. Nowadays companies are heavily investing in virtual team to enhance their performance and competitiveness and with rare exceptions all organizational teams is virtual to some extent. To compete with global competition and, overcome rapid technology change and product variety proliferation in the new manufacturing environment, SMEs must be able to sustain new product development. SMEs typically suffer from a lack of resources and manpower especially in R&D which enables firms to create new technologies and/or to build on existing technologies in order to make more profit and competiveness. One very important trend to enable cope with these issues in SMEs is the development of collaborative environments and networks to increase their NPD capabilities.

A group of academicians and researchers’ are working hard under a project (PS372/2008C) funded by University of Malaya (UM) for developing a collaborative system in order to link SMEs’ R&D units’ through virtual team for new product development. The primary objectives of this research are to study the requirements that constitute an effective and efficient virtual R&D team and the method of its implementation in SMEs.

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