Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Poster Session

Department

Leadership Studies

Advisor

Elizabeth Goryunova PhD, MBA

Keywords

virtual teams, remote work environment, leadership, communication

Abstract

Advances in technology are allowing members of a team to collaborate while being geographically and spatially apart. These new teams, known as virtual teams, have benefits for both the organizations to which they belong and to the individual members. Organizations are able to utilize highly-skilled experts without the associated relocation costs. Team members are able to contribute to projects in their field of expertise without having to leave their homeland. These teams require a leader whose interactions build trust and loyalty without the benefit of face-to-face contact with other team members. Although virtual teams are rapidly growing, research is lacking on leadership styles that emphasize interpersonal relationships and building trust within virtual teams, thus increasing their loyalty to organization. As with face-to-face teams, the leader’s style will affect the team’s response that manifests itself in their loyalty and trust. This qualitative study explores the effect that the leader’s style has on a virtual team and the level of engagement amongst members. Current and past members of virtual teams are interviewed and asked to reflect whether certain styles of leadership and communication, as well as expressions of empathy, either by a leader to the team members or between team members, significantly impacted their performance and feeling of belonging.

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