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  • 1. GLOBAL VIRTUAL TEAM MEMBERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF LEADER PRACTICES A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of Argosy University Sarasota College of Business In Partial Fulfillment of The Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education By LaBrita Jeanene Cash-Baskett June 2011
  • 2. UMI Number: 3467502 All rights reserved INFORMATION TO ALL USERS The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted. In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion. UMI 3467502 Copyright 2011 by ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. This edition of the work is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code. ProQuest LLC 789 East Eisenhower Parkway P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346
  • 3. ii GLOBAL VIRTUAL TEAM MEMBERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF LEADER PRACTICES Copyright © 2011 LaBrita Jeanene Cash-Baskett All rights reserved by the copyright owner.
  • 4. iii GLOBAL VIRTUAL TEAM MEMBERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF LEADER PRACTICES A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of Argosy University Sarasota College of Business In Partial Fulfillment of The Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education By LaBrita Jeanene Cash-Baskett Argosy University/Sarasota June 2011 Dissertation Committee Approval: __________________________________ ________________________________ Gerald Strand, Ph.D. Chair Date __________________________________ Celia Edmundson, Ed.D. Member __________________________________ _________________________________ Evelyn Lim, Ed.D. Member Kathleen Cornett, Ph.D. Campus College Chair
  • 5. iv GLOBAL VIRTUAL TEAM MEMBERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF LEADER PRACTICES Abstract of Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of Argosy University Sarasota College of Business In Partial Fulfillment of The Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education By LaBrita Jeanene Cash-Baskett Argosy University/Sarasota June 2011 Gerald Strand, Ph.D. Celia Edmundson, Ed.D. Evelyn Lim, Ed.D. Department: College of Business
  • 6. v ABSTRACT Effective leadership and effective communication may be important predictors of effectiveness on global virtual teams. The purpose of this research were to: (a) identify the extent to which leadership communication skills and practices are perceived to be important factors to virtual team effectiveness; and (b) identify effective communication practices within global virtual teams. Participants in this study were from global virtual teams and members of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) (n=73). A grounded theory approach was employed using a mixed method design to collect interview and online survey data. Qualitative data were analyzed using coding and cross case analysis. Quantitative data were analyzed using SPSS software. Descriptive statistics and a one-way ANOVA were selected to analyze differences between demographic groups. The findings of this study validate existing research in that effective communication and leadership are important factors for ensuring virtual team effectiveness. A one-way ANOVA yielded significant differences between generational groups and gender groups: (a) younger participants perceived the maturity attribute to be less important than older participants; and (b) women participants perceived the use of humor to be less important communication skill than reported by men participants. Virtual team participants reported written, oral, nonverbal, social and listening skills as the top five communication skills, ranking them from most to least important. This study builds on existing leadership frameworks, input-processes-output and capabilities models. Conclusions of the study suggest that leading and managing effective
  • 7. vi global virtual teams requires communication competence based on task and procedural behaviors, interpersonal, meeting facilitation and collaboration skills. The study’s findings link strongly to the literature, yet they identify areas in which additional research is needed. Four theoretical propositions lay the groundwork for future research.
  • 8. vii TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ABSTRACT........................................................................................................................v TABLE OF TABLES........................................................................................................xi TABLE OF FIGURES....................................................................................................xiii TABLE OF APPENDICES............................................................................................xiv ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ............................................................................................xv DEDICATION................................................................................................................xvii CHAPTER ONE: THE PROBLEM AND ITS COMPONENTS..................................1 Introduction..........................................................................................................................1 Problem Background............................................................................................................2 Purpose of the Study............................................................................................................6 Research Questions..............................................................................................................7 Definition of Terms..............................................................................................................7 Limitations/Delimitations ..................................................................................................11 Significance of the Study...................................................................................................14 Summary............................................................................................................................19 CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE...............................................20 Defining Virtual Teams .....................................................................................................20 Characteristics of Effective Leadership.............................................................................21 Historical Perspectives of Virtual Teams...........................................................................24 Theoretical Models of Effective Teams...................................................................24 Leading Virtual Teams.............................................................................................31 Technology...............................................................................................................38 Collaboration............................................................................................................39 Cultural Differences .................................................................................................40 Success Factors in Global Virtual Teams..........................................................................41 Team Communication Factors .................................................................................43 Trust..........................................................................................................................45 Teamwork….............................................................................................................46 Interpersonal Relationships......................................................................................47 Best Practices............................................................................................................48 Challenges Faced by Virtual Teams ..................................................................................53 CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY......................................................................58 Introduction........................................................................................................................58 Research Design.................................................................................................................58 Qualitative Grounded Theory...................................................................................58
  • 9. viii TABLE OF CONTENTS (CONT.) Page Quantitative Grounded Theory.................................................................................60 The Grounded Theory Approach..............................................................................61 Sample Pool and Sampling Procedures .............................................................................63 Selection of Participants...........................................................................................65 Sampling Plan...........................................................................................................66 Informed Consent Procedures ..................................................................................67 Confidentiality Procedures.......................................................................................67 Data Collection Procedures................................................................................................67 Interviews.................................................................................................................68 Interview Procedures......................................................................................69 Interview Questions........................................................................................69 Summary Statements......................................................................................70 Instrumentation ..................................................................................................................70 Interview Guide........................................................................................................70 Open-ended Questions..............................................................................................72 Responses to Scaled Items........................................................................................73 Instrumentation and Research Questions .................................................................74 Validity and Reliability ............................................................................................76 Methodological Assumptions and Limitations.........................................................78 Data Analysis Procedures ..................................................................................................80 Qualitative Data Analysis.........................................................................................80 Generation of Themes ..............................................................................................81 Verification of Emergent Patterns............................................................................81 Confirmation of Emergent Themes and Patterns .....................................................82 Quantitative Data Analysis.......................................................................................82 Summary............................................................................................................................83 CHAPTER FOUR: FINDINGS......................................................................................84 Introduction........................................................................................................................84 Research Results................................................................................................................84 Research Question 1..................................................................................................85 Research Question 2..................................................................................................85 Research Question 3..................................................................................................87 Methodology......................................................................................................................87 Participant Selection .................................................................................................88 Participant Demographics ........................................................................................89 Qualitative Interview Participants............................................................................89 Characteristics of Effective Global Virtual Teams............................................................89 Context......................................................................................................................90 Composition..............................................................................................................93 Competencies............................................................................................................93 Change......................................................................................................................94 Qualitative Interview Findings ..........................................................................................97
  • 10. ix TABLE OF CONTENTS (CONT.) Page Research Question 1...............................................................................................101 Environment.................................................................................................102 Leadership Practices.....................................................................................103 Role Clarity and Establishment of Leadership.............................................103 Synergy.........................................................................................................105 Leveraging Technology................................................................................107 Meeting Facilitation......................................................................................108 Adapting Communication Style...................................................................109 Cross Cultural Communication and Team Diversity ...................................110 Commitment.................................................................................................111 Empowerment...............................................................................................112 Trust..............................................................................................................113 Research Question 2...............................................................................................113 Characteristics of Clear Communication......................................................122 Research Question 3...............................................................................................124 Research Question 4...............................................................................................128 Research Question 5...............................................................................................132 Research Question 6...............................................................................................137 Research Question 7...............................................................................................142 Research Question 8...............................................................................................149 Research Question 9...............................................................................................154 Research Question 10.............................................................................................161 Emergent Themes ............................................................................................................167 Coding Patterns ......................................................................................................167 Phase II Quantitative Survey Data...................................................................................168 Survey Participant Demographics..........................................................................168 Quantitative Survey Findings.................................................................................169 Closed-ended Questions...............................................................................171 Rated Scale Questions..................................................................................173 Summary..........................................................................................................................178 CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS...............................................................................................179 Introduction......................................................................................................................179 Summary..........................................................................................................................179 Success Factors.......................................................................................................179 Challenges Virtual Teams Face..............................................................................181 Problem Statement..................................................................................................181 Methodology...........................................................................................................182 Discussion of the Findings...............................................................................................184 Summary of Emergent Themes..............................................................................184 Summary of Characteristics of Effective Global Virtual Teams............................184 Summary of Leadership Qualities..........................................................................185
  • 11. x TABLE OF CONTENTS (CONT.) Page Summary of Characteristics of Effective Leadership Communications ................186 Summary of Communication Roles .......................................................................187 Summary of Critical Competencies for Global Virtual Team Leaders..................187 Summary of Essential Leadership Skills................................................................188 Summary of Communication Behaviors................................................................189 Task Behaviors.............................................................................................189 Procedural Behaviors....................................................................................189 Interpersonal Behaviors................................................................................190 Summary of Communication Tactics.....................................................................190 Summary of Technology........................................................................................191 Conclusions......................................................................................................................191 Theoretical Propositions.........................................................................................192 Proposition 1.................................................................................................192 Proposition 2.................................................................................................192 Proposition 3.................................................................................................194 Proposition 4.................................................................................................194 Implications for Future Research.....................................................................................195 Leadership ..............................................................................................................195 Behavioral Perspectives................................................................................195 Capabilities Model........................................................................................196 Productivity ............................................................................................................198 Technology...................................................................................................198 Virtual Team Management...........................................................................199 Motivation and Communication.............................................................................199 Individual Level............................................................................................200 Team Level...................................................................................................201 Organizational Level....................................................................................202 Engagement............................................................................................................205 Limitations of the Study...................................................................................................207 Strengths of the Study......................................................................................................208 Mixed Method Design............................................................................................209 Instrumentation.......................................................................................................209 Purposeful Sampling ..............................................................................................211 Data Analysis..........................................................................................................211 Inter-Virtual Communication Competencies...................................................................215 Inter-Virtual Skills Checklist..................................................................................216 Recommendations............................................................................................................212 REFERENCES...............................................................................................................218
  • 12. xi TABLE OF TABLES Table Page 1. Participant Demographics..............................................................................................95 2. Participant Use of Communication Technology............................................................97 3. Question 1 Individual Responses...................................................................................98 4. Question 1 Responses with Joint Agreement...............................................................101 5. Question 1 High Frequency Responses .......................................................................107 6. Question 2 Individual Responses.................................................................................114 7. Question 2 Responses with Joint Agreement...............................................................117 8. Question 2 High Frequency Responses .......................................................................122 9. Question 3 Individual Responses.................................................................................125 10. Question 3 Responses with Joint Agreement.............................................................126 11. Question 3 High Frequency Responses .....................................................................127 12. Question 4 Individual Responses...............................................................................128 13. Question 4 Responses with Joint Agreement.............................................................130 14. Question 4 High Frequency Responses .....................................................................131 15. Question 5 Individual Responses...............................................................................132 16. Question 5 Responses with Joint Agreement.............................................................134 17. Question 5 High Frequency Responses .....................................................................137 18. Question 6 Individual Responses...............................................................................138 19. Question 6 Responses with Joint Agreement.............................................................139 20. Question 6 High Frequency Responses .....................................................................141 21. Question 7 Individual Responses...............................................................................143
  • 13. xii TABLE OF TABLES (CONT.) Table Page 22. Question 7 Responses with Joint Agreement.............................................................144 23. Question 7 High Frequency Responses .....................................................................145 24. Question 8 Individual Responses...............................................................................149 25. Question 8 Responses with Joint Agreement.............................................................151 26. Question 8 High Frequency Responses .....................................................................152 27. Question 9 Individual Responses...............................................................................155 28. Question 9 Responses with Joint Agreement.............................................................157 29. Question 9 High Frequency Responses .....................................................................158 30. Question 10 Individual Responses.............................................................................161 31. Question 10 Responses with Joint Agreement...........................................................164 32. Question 10 High Frequency Responses ...................................................................164 33. Frequency Codes in Interview Questions ..................................................................168 34. Item 7 Responses .......................................................................................................171 35. Item 12 Rated Scale Responses .................................................................................173 36. Item 13 Rated Scale Responses .................................................................................175 37. Item 11 Rank Ordered List of Communication Attributes ........................................176 38. Item 15 Responses .....................................................................................................177 39. Global Virtual Team Success Factors........................................................................180 40. Three Components of the Capabilities and Skills Model Related to Findings .........197 41. REACH Model Components .....................................................................................213
  • 14. xiii TABLE OF FIGURES Figure Page 1. Participant Years of Proposal Experience......................................................................96 2. Degrees of Virtuality....................................................................................................170 3. Item 8 Responses .........................................................................................................171 4. Item 14 Responses .......................................................................................................173 5. REACH Input-Process-Output Model.........................................................................215
  • 15. xiv TABLE OF APPENDICES Appendix Page A: Invitation E-Mail.........................................................................................................234 B: Interview Questions and Protocol...............................................................................236 C: Survey Instrument.......................................................................................................240 D: Follow-On Questions..................................................................................................242 E: Informed Consent Form ..............................................................................................244 F: Global Virtual Team Leader Communication Study...................................................247
  • 16. xv ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank my dissertation committee, editor and learning journey partner for the support, guidance and direction you have provided me. The Association of Proposal Management Professionals (AMPM) provided information, resources and access to global virtual teams in the proposal industry to support this research project. To my committee, thank you for your affirming words and willingness to listen to my ideas no matter what! You provided me with the focus, attention to detail and tools I have always needed. You empowered me with the structure, education and tools to take risks and be creative while meeting the requirements to complete this research project. Jeanne Dubi, thank you for embracing my project with professionalism and enthusiasm despite the editing challenges that came along. Larry S. Chengges’ poem expresses best how I feel about the significance of you all in my life. This dissertation is about communication and the importance of interactions. Each interaction and encounter has made me learn, grow and reflect along the way. Every day for the past year and a half, I have seen this poem affixed to a vanilla colored wall in a bright red frame. Although it was purchased at a yard sale for $5, the meaning of the words is priceless. There are many relationships and the experiences in my life have contributed to this moment. To all of you who have inspired me during this learning journey, I appreciate the moments you have shared with me through this process as an educator, mentor, coach and champion. Chengges’ poem is dedicated to you Dr. Strand, Dr. Edmundson, Dr. Lim, The Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP), Dr. Joshua Cotton and to Jeanne Dubi.
  • 17. xvi Every Moment We Are Together Every moment that we are together, I am learning something, and that knowledge becomes a permanent part of me. Though my feelings will be different a year from now, Or ten years from now, Part of the difference is you. Because of you, I am A different person And the person I will grow to become With or without you Will have gotten there Partly because of you. If you were not in my life right now, I could Not be who I am right now. Nor would I be growing In exactly the same way. Much of what I grow toward and change within Myself, has to do with what I respond to in you. What I learn from you, what I understand about myself through you, And what I learn about my feelings In the dynamic of our relationship I do not worry about our ‘future together’ Since we have already touched each other And affected each others lives on so many levels that we can never be totally removed From each other’s thoughts. A part of me will always be you, And a part of you will always be me. That much is certain, No matter what else happens. Larry S. Chengges
  • 18. xvii DEDICATION “I do not weep at the world … I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife …” Since I was 16 years of age, Zora Neale Hurston’s quote has typified my approach to life and taking on the challenges that are presented along the way. In each educational milestone, Zora’s words expressed how I felt about adversity, learning and pushing forward. In my youth, I focused on the outcomes of success. This dissertation process has shifted my focus to the process of learning which has helped teach me more than I ever thought possible. I am grateful for the lessons, experiences and moments that have enriched my life along the way. The completion of this dissertation is dedicated to a group of my greatest influences, supporters, and life partners who create meaning in my life. You have devoted yourself to improving my life and the world around you and in taking this learning journey with me. How can I ever say thank you and share how much I appreciate what your guidance, patience, courage and shared experiences mean to me? This dissertation is dedicated to a community of contributors who kept me focused, faithful and passionate about the pursuit of lifelong learning and growth, to God’s grace, and to my family whose enduring love, support and friendship provide meaning and affirm my life’s purpose. My Mother: Prisicilla Ann Cash, whose virtue, knowledge and wisdom were invaluable in shaping the woman I am, and for nurturing my dreams and future. My Husband: LTC (R) Ken Baskett, whose love and support and friendship have been consistent and immeasurable. My Sister: Tier Renee Cash, whose honesty and humor have provided me with the ability to take a fresh perspective, to prioritize and live each day richly.
  • 19. xviii My Brother: Destorian Cash, whose skillful use of silence has taught me to listen intently and to be fully present in all of life’s moments. My nephew, Phillip, and niece, Myla, who taught me the value of being patient and persistent in all of my pursuits. Thank you for your understanding and patience throughout this journey. A broad circle of family and friends that connect from the east to the west stretching from Atlanta, to Kansas City and to California; I appreciate your sincere wishes for completion and blessings along the way. Dr. Phadra Williams Tuitt, my learning partner and classmate, thank you for walking alongside me from the first day of class to this moment. Your support, advice and sharing of yourself have made this experience remarkable. Maretta, Nichole, Dana, Poppy and the families we serve, thank you for making a positive difference in my life.
  • 20. 1 CHAPTER ONE: THE PROBLEM AND ITS COMPONENTS Introduction Organizations are adjusting to meet the realities of a resource challenged world. The borders that separate countries disappear as technology is used to link geographically dispersed virtual teams. Virtual teams add value to organizations. Teams of every description have been used to maximize the knowledge, skills and abilities that exist within an organization in order to accomplish a goal (Weems-Landingham, 2004). Virtual teams work across spatial distance, culture and language barriers to accomplish organizational goals (Neilson, 2009). Therefore, effective leader communication is one of the most critical elements of global virtual team effectiveness (Kuo, 2004). The ability to deliver, develop and sustain effective messages that engage team members is critical for success. Although various leadership characteristics emerge over time, effective leadership communication is one of the most important characteristics needed to promote and sustain the effectiveness of a global virtual team. Global virtual team members depend on clear and complete written, oral and interpersonal communications from their leaders (Grosse, 2002). A key aspect of effective leadership communication is the delivery of compelling messages that engages the team, addresses their underlying needs and influences decision making (Gratton & Erickson, 2007). It is important to understand the communication skills and tactics leaders need to develop and display in order to increase team effectiveness. Effective leader communications integrate speech, rhetoric and discursive practices to capture the attention of members and increase engagement through vocal, verbal and visual elements of the message (Shockley-Zalabak, 2006). Studies show that
  • 21. 2 the use of silence, humor, and the creation of meaning contribute to effective group processes, decision making and consensus (Clifton, 2009). Effective team leaders interact frequently with members, select the best tools and encourage open communication that foster engagement (Boule, 2008). Team engagement is a key driver for satisfaction, motivation, commitment and trust, considered to impact productivity (Ross, 2006). After the team has been formed, it develops different communication needs over time. Leader communication is necessary to align and engage members to fully participate in future actions. Team leaders need to consistently communicate the same message to different members of the team. In addition, effective leader communication contributes to establishing the climate and norms for team behavior. However, in a fast paced and constantly changing environment, sometimes communication is lost. Interpersonal and relationship functions in computer mediated communications increasingly challenge global virtual leaders. Investigating the experiences of team members can reveal valuable insights about the best ways for global virtual teams to use leader communication in order to increase team effectiveness. Chapter One discusses the problem background and context; the purpose of the study; the research questions are stated and terms are defined related to the focus of the study. Then, the limitations and delimitations of the study are delineated, and lastly, the significance of the study is outlined. Problem Background Several issues and trends in business have emerged over time leading to the increased use of teams. According to Davidow and Malone (1992), organizations use
  • 22. 3 teams as a way to remain competitive in business. The United States shifted from an agriculture society to an industrial society during the Industrial Revolution in the late nineteenth century. Consequently, this shift into the technology and information age contributed to the increased use of virtual teams. Improvements in productivity, total quality management and efficiency decreased the need for large groups of workers to accomplish the same tasks. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, as the service economy replaced manufacturing jobs, a need for increased productivity was critical for business success. The 1980’s was recognized as the most unproductive decade in American history by economists. During the 1980’s, the knowledge economy focused on the collection, synthesis and distribution of information. In the 1990’s a scarcity of resources and global competition led to the formation of multinational companies that deliver cost effective products and services to the market. In the 2000’s, globalization and technology are drivers for the need to restructure work and to utilize teams that contribute to the overall performance of the organization. The increased use of teams underscores the need for effective communication. Research on teams has been a topic of interest in multiple disciplines, including organizational psychology, communications, group support systems, information technology and leadership studies (McGrath, Arrow, & Berdahl, 2000; Martins, Gilson, & Maynard, 2004; Ilgen, Hollenbeck, Johnson, & Jundt, 2005). Davidow and Malone (1992) forecast that virtual organizations would be a way of life out of necessity by the year 2015. Over time, changes in politics, trade, international relationships and production provided opportunities for organizations to deliver products and services globally (Daft, 2008). Researchers have studied many factors in team and group support
  • 23. 4 system literature: (a) computer mediated communication (Driskell, Radtke, & Salas, 2003; Grosse, 2002; Wiesenfeld, Raghuram, & Garud, 1999); (b) processes (Sarmiento & Stahl, 2008; Tarmizi, Payne, Noteboom et al., 2007); (c) performance (Lipnack & Stamps, 2000) and (d) effectiveness (Cordery & Soo, 2008; Gratton & Erickson, 2007); and (e) leadership (Pauleen, 2004). There are several reasons why global virtual teams are used by organizations (Brake, 2006). Globalization and advancements in technology are the leading factors for the use of global virtual teams (Vance & Paik, 2006). Globalization has contributed to a leaner, smarter and more efficient workforce. Organizations are competing for customers, profits, creativity and information to become sustainable, lead innovation and drive change (Dube & Robey, 2008). To adapt to environmental changes and advances in technology, organizations have recognized a need to gather, organize and apply information quickly using highly skilled people from around the world. Survival of organizations in a competitive landscape depends on the ability to: (a) adapt processes; (b) willingly accept diverse ideas and people; (c) manage and act intelligently on information; (d) utilize a broad range of technologies; and (e) master relationships (Daft). Global virtual teams offer the benefit of working across time zones. In addition, dispersed global virtual team members “. . . proximity to different customers, markets, practices perspectives and resources in their local contexts can enhance flexibility and innovation capability, thus increasing the ability of the team to balance local awareness with a broader, strategic perspective . . .” of the virtual team (Vance & Paik, 2006,
  • 24. 5 p. 121). Global virtual teams enable organizations to increase their competitive advantage by reducing costs, fostering collaboration and solving complex issues despite geography or culture (Gowing, Kraft, & Quick, 1998). Prior research on global virtual teams suggests that multinational companies use global virtual teams extensively in many areas of business. For example, PGS, the engineering division of Singapore based BOC Group, uses global virtual teams to manage change efforts in 35 countries (Goodbody, 2005). Virtual teams are also used in sales and service industries (Hackman, 2002). Ehsan, Mirza, and Ahmad (2008) indicate that many multinational organizations use virtual teams to perform daily operations. Management practices that enhance effectiveness of global virtual teams are an essential component of organizational success in business and government (Maznevski & Chudoba, 2000). Organizations use global virtual teams to: (a) implement business processes (Goodbody, 2005); (b) implement and make important decisions; and (c) integrate information (Maznevski & Chudoba). Parker and Clegg (2006) noted that as organizations globalize, new management practices can be adopted by countries that may be different from their traditional culture. National culture can influence how team member perceive and react to different situations through verbal and nonverbal communication (Vance & Paik, 2006). For example, Japanese collectivist cultures that value saving face and reducing conflict may adopt communication practices to become more transparent during crises (Deutsch 2006; Montoya-Weiss, Massey, & Song, 2001). Pruitt (2006) reinforces the importance of social context in the application of theory to solve conflict with people who differ culturally.
  • 25. 6 Globalization has contributed to outsourcing, strategic alliances and project based work patterns (Vance & Paik, 2006). Global virtual teams provide flexible and low cost work units to implement actions worldwide as companies restructure to: (a) recruit new talent; and (b) integrate employees from mergers and acquisitions (Cascio & Shurygailo, 2003; Parker & Clegg, 2006). Leaders need the skills and abilities to understand and manage empowered virtual team members effectively (Ehsan et al., 2008). Leaders use communication as a tool to influence team effectiveness, performance; and to boost motivation within global virtual teams (Neilsen, 2009). There is a need to better understand the extent to which perceptions of leadership communications impact performance in global virtual teams. Many global virtual teams fail to meet their full potential. Team leadership and communication are two essential factors for effectiveness in virtual teams (Jarvenpaa & Leidner, 1999). Several studies have addressed these issues. First, a large number of laboratory studies have been conducted using students in short term controlled environments (Gibson & Gibbs, 2006). Second, the behaviors, attitudes, skills and characteristics of an effective leader’s communication can influence effectiveness in global virtual teams. However, there is a lack of research on the relative importance of leader communication factors on effectiveness in global virtual teams. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this research project was to: (a) identify the extent to which leader communication factors are perceived to be important factors to team effectiveness; and (b) identify effective communication practices within global virtual teams. Using qualitative and quantitative mixed research methods, this exploratory study sought to
  • 26. 7 understand how members of real global virtual teams experience leader communications and how leadership inspires a willingness from participative members to be productive, engaged and motivated. Research Questions The research questions that directed this study are: 1. From a team member’s perspective, what are the leadership skills attributes, and characteristics that contribute to effective leadership communication in virtual team environments? 2. To what extent do leader communication factors most influence members to be effective? 3. What tactics can leaders use to best influence effectiveness in the following : a. inspire the willingness to be productive b. boost morale c. engage members d. encourage participation and e. utilizes collaboration tools and technology Definition of Terms The following terms were used and defined to establish the context and to provide clarification. Asynchronous Communication: Asynchronous communication refers to “time constrained communication (e.g., text)” (Ehsan et al., p. 834). Axial Coding: The process of relating categories to subcategories linked in the data.
  • 27. 8 Cataloguing concepts: The process of developing categories for the data to match descriptions across data. Computer-Mediated Technology (CMC): “The communication that occurs through computer-mediated technologies (i.e., E-mail, Audio/Video Conferencing) is called Computer-mediated Communication (CMC)” (Ehsan et al., p. 834). Conceptualization: Looking for consistencies in the data to explain the main concern of inquiry. Discovery: Exploration of the phenomena to generate data. Face to Face (FTF): Co-located two-way communication interactions where all participants in the communicative event share the same physical space, verbal and nonverbal information. Familiarization: Reading and reviewing data to formulate ideas and further questions which might need answering. Fit: Effortless application of the categories to the data. High Performing Teams: Dyer, Dyer, and Dyer (2007) defined high-performing teams as “those with members whose skills, attitudes, and competencies enable them to achieve goals . . . team members set goals, make decisions, communicate, manage conflict, and solve problems in a supportive trusting atmosphere in order to accomplish their objectives” (p. 5). Interdependence: The amount of collaboration needed to accomplish goals between team members. Linking: Making generalizations about the emergent patterns and concepts supported by the literature and the data.
  • 28. 9 Meeting Facilitator: Guides the meeting processes, follows the agenda and ensures that the purposes are met. Meeting Processes: Dimensions of group dynamics within the context of the meeting that impact group satisfaction and goal attainment: relationship development, conflict management, participatory involvement, communication and emotional intelligence. Microanalysis: Line-by-line coding of the data. Modifiability: Adapting and changing theory as new ideas and concepts emerge. Objectivity: Awareness of the potential for bias and subjectivity in data analysis. Open Coding: Coding without any preconceived categories. Process facilitation: Process facilitation refers to the facilitator’s encouragement of the group to follow the agenda, encouraging open and unbiased communication, and participatory involvement. Productivity: Accomplishing a goal using efficient processes, and leveraging skills, knowledge, abilities and resources to reach a shared purpose. Range of Variability: The degree patterns and themes in the data differ on dimensions or attributes. Recoding: The process of dividing categories into subcategories in the interpretation and analysis process Re-evaluation: Review and modification of the data as alternative explanations and new information emerge. Reflection: Establishing relationships, if any between your data and previous research or academic studies–or even common sense knowledge.
  • 29. 10 Relevance: The extent to which the theory allows core problems, processes and the main concerns in a study to emerge. Saturation: The process of data analysis and refinement of categories where no new patterns emerge during analysis. Selective Coding: Limiting coding to variables that are related to the main or core categories. Sensitivity: openness to what emerges in the data analysis free from bias. Synchronous Communication: Synchronous communication refers to communication without time constraints (Ehsan et al.). Team Change: Team change refers to the “teams’ ability to monitor its performance and make changes as needed” (Dyer et al., p. 6). Team Competencies: Team competencies refer to the “team’s ability to solve problems, communicate, make decisions, manage conflict and so on” (Dyer et al., p. 6). Team Composition: Team composition refers to the “team members’ skills, experience, and motivation as well as team size” (Dyer et al., p. 6). Team Context: Team context refers to “the need for teamwork; the type of team needed; and the culture structure, and systems that support teamwork” (Dyer et al., p. 6). Team Meeting: A meeting refers to a planned organizational event “. . . where the processes of initiating, planning, executing, following through, and controlling occur” (Makin, 2007, p. 43). Theoretical Sampling: Sampling to discover emergent themes and patterns in the data. Theorizing: Formulating ideas into logical explanations.
  • 30. 11 Virtual Team: Virtual Teams are defined as geographically dispersed “teams operating across time, space and organizational boundaries” (Ehsan et al., 2008, p. 833). Virtual teams: (a) primarily use electronic technologies to communicate; (b) are composed of members with diverse, skills, cultures and languages; and (c) have greater demands on the role of the leader (Dyer et al.). Work: The extent to which emergent data is meaningful to offer an explanation of the phenomena under study. Limitations and Delimitations Limitations: According to Patton (2002), “all credible research strategies include techniques for helping the investigator become aware of and deal with selective perception, personal bias and theoretical predispositions” (p. 51).The focus of this grounded theory study was on perceptions of leader communications from team members’ perspectives. The role of the researcher was an important component of the data gathering and analysis processes of this study. Four limitations that had the potential to reduce the credibility and generalizability of this study follow: (a) sampling method and size; (b) inappropriate administration of the data gathering instrument; (c) accuracy of researcher judgments; and (d) researcher and participant bias. The sampling method and size were limiting factors in this study. Riley, Wood, Clark, Wilkie, and Szivas (2000) recognize that “in the majority of research cases it is not possible to study all the elements in a particular set . . . for reasons of practicality” (p. 75). A small purposeful sampling was used in this study. The results of the study may not be generalized to virtual teams beyond the sample represented in the study. According to Riley et al. (2000), “. . . to make claims for the wider population on the
  • 31. 12 basis of study of elements selected using purposive sampling is dangerous, as it cannot be assumed that the characteristics of the elements are randomly distributed throughout the population” (p. 77). However, when the purpose of the study is to build theory, probability sampling is not necessary or the most appropriate method for the objectives of this study (Patton, 2002). Theoretical sampling was also used to determine participant selection criteria, data gathering and support of the constant comparison analysis method in grounded theory (Patton). The aim of this study was to contribute to the knowledge of best practices in global virtual teams using a grounded theory approach. The researcher’s limited interviewing skills had the potential to be a limitation of this study. To offset this limitation, data were collected using multiple methods, including surveys and interviews, as sources of information to strengthen the richness of data collected. The use of an interview guide “helps make interviewing a number of different people more systematic and comprehensive by delimiting in advance the issues to be explored” (Patton, 2002, p. 343). Interviews were conducted—using visual and audio capability—to delimit issues related to incorrectly observing the interviewees reactions to questions. In addition to researcher and participant bias, perceptions and experiences also had the potential to play a role as limiting factors in the study. For example, the interviewer may have been reluctant to answer honestly due to confidentiality or sensitivity of the nature of work. The data may be limited because of “. . . distorted responses due to personal bias, anger, anxiety, politics, and simple lack of awareness since interviews can be greatly affected by emotional state. . . recall error, reactivity of the interviewee to the interviewer and self-serving purposes ” (Patton, 2002, p. 306).
  • 32. 13 Participants in the study were geographically dispersed in global virtual teams. The data was “limited in focusing only on external behaviors—the observer cannot see what is happening inside people” (Patton, 2002, p. 306). There were no direct observations of the interviewees. In addition, time and money were limitations in the conduction of the interviews and the analysis of data generated. Lack of resources may have contributed to errors in observer judgments, transcription or interpretation of responses. To offset these limitations the researcher used triangulation to determine the “strength of evidence in support of a finding” (p. 467). Grounded theory uses systematic procedures for data collection and analysis. Delimitations: This research occurred in the context of global virtual teams in the proposal development industry. Technology, communication and engagement are key challenges for leading successful teams. The purpose of this study was to understand leader communication factors from a team member’s perspective and to discover best practices that influence effectiveness. Grounded theory is the study of problems or main concerns and not units of analysis (Glaser, 1992). Although team leadership may be shared across different projects, participants’ experiences as a team member were analyzed. Participants in the study fulfilled leadership and management roles within the proposal development industry. Proposal professionals work in time-challenged, stressful and deadline driven environments. Connecting business strategy with communications to engage all members of the team and senior leaders is a priority for success. The aim of this study was not to make generalizations about the larger population or elaborate on theory alone. The goal
  • 33. 14 of this grounded theory study was to discover best practices for leader communications that can be used to build efficient and effective global virtual teams. Significance of the Study This study provides team leaders and practitioners with information that could address the impact of leader communication in real global virtual teams. The results of the study may provide practical implications for training leaders and offer best practices for communication from a team member’s perspective in real teams. The significance of leader communication is supported by the literature (Bergiel, Bergiel, & Balsmeier, 2006; Brake, 2006; Shockley-Zalabak, 2006). Existing research (Daft, 2008; Driskell et al., 2003; McGrath et al., 2000) has studied team structure, content, performance and characteristics of effectiveness in virtual teams. Leadership and communication have been identified as essential characteristics of effective virtual teams. However, there is a gap in the literature on the effectiveness of leader communication practices on performance and effectiveness from a team member’s perspective. Several studies have identified a team leader’s skills, attributes, and practices as important contributors to team effectiveness. However, other researchers contend that leaders do not have an impact of effectiveness. Dyer et al. (2007) suggests that properly managing the context, composition, and communication are important. Daft (2008) recognizes that the maintenance of processes, structure, design and support of teams are more significant contributors to team effectiveness than the individual contributions of a leader. From this point of view, leadership is considered to be shared by the team or emerges through the project life cycle. Whether leadership is
  • 34. 15 enacted at the individual level, shared by the team or simply emerges, effectiveness is influenced by leadership and communication. Further, the majority of existing studies conducted have been laboratory studies with student participants (Hertel, Geister, & Konradt, 2005). Fjermestad and Hiltz (2000) argue that results of virtual teams have been found to have more impact in studies of real teams. Kuo (2004) suggests that future research should consider the subordinate’s perspective in examining the impact of leadership on team effectiveness. Kuo found that the transformational leadership style had the greatest impact on effectiveness. According to Shockley-Zalabak (2006), “transformational leadership suggests that inspirational leadership goes beyond the transaction between leaders and followers and literally transforms or changes situations and circumstances through personal example and the rhetorical capability for establishing vision” (p. 235). Transformational leaders use rhetorical and persuasive skills to inspire followers by crafting clear targeted messages. Transformational leader communications are strategic and novel for complex and changing situations (Shockley-Zalabak). Mumford, Zaccaro, Harding, Jacobs, and Fleishman (2000) describe the importance of leader communication: Leadership has been traditionally seen as a distinctly interpersonal phenomenon demonstrated in the interactions between leaders and subordinates . . . Effective leadership behavior fundamentally depends on the leader’s ability to solve the kinds of complex social problems that arise in organizations . . . Complexity, novelty, and information ambiguity define one set of attributes that set apart leader’s problem solving efforts. It is important to remember that leaders solve problems in “real-world” settings where time is short, and demands are many. (p. 11) The leader’s ability to monitor the context and to be responsive positively impacts team performance (Pauleen, 2004). To deliver leader communications, and to encourage
  • 35. 16 participation and involvement, leaders need to effectively use technology and collaborative tools. Collaborative tools are essential to communication, problem solving and decision making in virtual teams. In a virtual workplace, collaborative tools provide a shared workspace for content management, visibility and accountability online, as well as for project management. In order for virtual teams to harness their potential, all members need to be productive contributors to the performance challenge. Leader communications need to generate participation and involvement (Kerber & Buono, 2004). According to Shockley-Zalabak (2006), “organizations of today and tomorrow are faced more than before with understanding the concept of multiple stakeholders and how their participation in all aspects of organizational life contributes to a variety of organizational outcomes” (p. 243). Collaborative tools help leaders monitor progress, assign tasks and set benchmarks for performance. They also help integrate multiple perspectives and support group processes for problem solving, for access to information and for flexibility (Lipnack & Stamps, 2000). Diversity in teams helps to increase productivity (Ilgen et al., 2005). It is possible that collaborative tools support interactional processes and may moderate the effects of a leader’s lack of skills in interpersonal communication, design and process abilities. More needs to be known on the extent to which a leader’s adoption and utilization of collaborative tools impacts member perceptions of productivity. Effective leadership, combined with team communication, helps mitigate the individual and group disadvantages of virtual teamwork (Connerly & Pederson, 2005; Daft, 2008; Yukl, 2006).
  • 36. 17 Effective leaders are expected to select the best technology for the task and to provide guidance and direction on how to use computer mediated technologies. Utilization of multiple sources of media and an understanding of the technology fit are essential to sustaining messages, storing information and increasing the rate of work. Leaders need to influence members to adopt technology tools to improve efficiency, quality and manage risks, according to Cascio and Shurygailo (2003). Leaders also need to know how to handle technical problems during technology failure in order to avoid communication breakdowns or loss in asynchronous environments. Knowledge and fluency of audio-visual tools, multimedia formats and technology applications strengthen the team’s capacity for goal attainment. Social media and integrated technologies offer increased platforms for members to share personal experiences and informal interaction. Through effective technology use, leaders can better manage tasks and relationships. Kerber and Buono (2004) found that continuous flows of communication and regular meetings contributed to team effectiveness. Virtual teams are electronically dependent on technology to communicate; often, the contexts of these interactions are virtual meetings. Sivunen (2008) advises that virtual leaders may need a different set of discursive skills than those needed in traditional teams. Leadership is enacted through the use of discursive practices because “. . . deciding who can speak and what can be said determines what is regarded as normal behavior” (p. 51). Clifton (2009) studied decision making and influence in teams through content analysis Time and money are two resources that require careful management. Team performance and effectiveness are influenced by the use of technology. Perceptions are important to examine because perceptions shape and form attitudes and behavior that influence performance (DeVito,
  • 37. 18 2005). Interpersonal perception is defined as the process through which we interpret and evaluate people and their behavior (DeVito). Communication is consistently identified as a significant contributor to team effectiveness and performance. Team leaders may fulfill management roles or participate in a variety of work practices or have no training in how to fulfill the role (Martins et al., 2004; Pauleen, 2004). Although the teams may be effectively managed through processes, structure and design, leadership behaviors may not be exhibited and communication may not influence productive action. Leadership occurs through communication behaviors in interactions with others. Leaders communicate about change, translate intentions into reality, propose new strategies, and help sustain action to support decisions. Although, the leader and subordinate relationship has been studied, the extent to which a leader’s individual communication attributes, skills and behaviors influence perceptions of effectiveness requires more attention. Cragg and Spurgeon (2007) acknowledged that “there is a constant tension between leadership as a state of being emphasizing a range of personal characteristics, as against the understanding of tasks and behaviors that might constitute leadership” p. 112). Cragg and Spurgeon argue that situational factors and competencies influence leader effectiveness. Virtual teams’ leaders manage complexity under time challenged conditions. LaFasto and Larson (1989) and Kayworth and Leidner (2001) found that team leaders and members rate team outcomes differently. Prior research also indicates that a subordinate’s perception of the supervisor’s ability to listen, be responsive, sensitive and understanding to the subordinate’s message, positively influences satisfaction with the tasks and the perceptions of leaders (Kuo, 2004). In addition, results
  • 38. 19 from a study on frontline managers revealed that managers lacked the skills needed to “build relationships with people or influence people and decisions” (Shaw, 2005, p. 4). It was the aim of this study to understand characteristics of effective communication from team members’ perspectives. Effective leader communications influence people to make a valuable contribution to the team’s efforts (Kotter & Cohen, 2002). Leaders face several challenges communicating in a virtual environment because of cultural, time and geographic barriers. Strategic conversations help leaders harness team potential and develop an open communication climate (Shockley-Zalabak, 2006). Team diversity has also been found to be an important factor that leaders need in order to manage teams. Diversity has been found to increase team conflict and decrease team cohesion. However, diversity of members increases innovation and creativity. Grosse (2002) recognizes that “understanding how to communicate effectively on virtual intercultural teams will help business students and managers achieve higher performance and avoid costly delays in projects and decision making” (p. 37). Summary Chapter One discussed the following information: (a) introduction and context of the study; (b) problem background; (c) research questions; (d) definitions; (e) limitations and delimitations; and (e) significance of the research. Chapter Two provides a review of the literature with a focus on characteristics of effective leadership, success factors and challenges that global virtual team leaders face.
  • 39. 20 CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE This literature review presents research on global virtual team member perceptions of leader practices. First, historical perspectives on teams are discussed, with an emphasis on global virtual teams. Next, definitions of effective virtual teams are reviewed, along with dimensions of virtuality. Then, virtual team success factors are discussed with a focus on leader practices. From there, challenges faced by the team and the leader are delineated. Further, this review describes best practices for team effectiveness and the need for team leadership. This review of the literature includes peer reviewed laboratory studies, team studies, case studies, leadership studies and dissertations. There are five main topic areas in this study: (a) definitions of virtual teams; (b) historical perspectives; (c) success factors of virtual teams; (d) challenges faced on a virtual team; and (e) areas for future research. The objective of this review is to provide an integrated overview of the current literature regarding virtual teams. Defining Virtual Teams Lipnack and Stamps (2000) state that “a virtual team is a group of people who work interdependently with a shared purpose across space time and organization boundaries using technology” (p. 18). According to Maznevski and Chudoba (2000), “global virtual teams are internationally distributed people with an organizational mandate to make or implement decisions with international components or implications” (p. 473). In defining characteristics of global virtual teams, national diversity is an important characteristic. According to Cordery and Soo (2008), “. . . virtual teams may have members with many nationalities from around the world. Equally, a virtual team
  • 40. 21 may contain a single nationality, although its members are distributed at different sides of a continent communicating via e-mail and the intranet/Internet” (p. 488). Hertel et al., (2005) add that virtuality is a characteristic mainly based on information communication technologies and tools. Spatial distance refers to the degree that teams operate across different time zones (Gibson & Gibbs, 2006). The degree of virtuality can also be measured by the degree of synchronization and the presence of nonverbal and paraverbal cues (Jong, Schalk, & Curseu, 2008). Gibbs and Gibson make the distinction that virtuality describes the degree to which factors that may disrupt team performance are present. Gibson and Gibbs also suggest that there are four characteristics of virtual teams that are significant in defining global virtual teams: 1. Geographic dispersion refers to the degree team members are in different locations. 2. Electronic dependence is the degree of computer mediated communication used compared with face to face communication. 3. Dynamic structure is defined as frequent changes between team members, their roles and relationships. 4. National diversity is defined as diversity of members from different cultural backgrounds, functions within the team and functions in the broader organization. Characteristics of Effective Leadership Leadership has been described using many definitions, models and frameworks. The leading theories studied in the 20th century are trait theory, situational leadership, transactional leadership and transformational leadership. Cragg and Spurgeon (2007)
  • 41. 22 argue that although differences exist in the development of leadership models, the competencies and skills to enact influence are the key determinants of effective leadership. Leadership frameworks and models can be used to describe the leadership qualities and characteristics needed appropriate to the context. Leadership has been studied with an emphasis on personality, traits, style, group processes, skills, behavior and contingency theories (Kayworth & Leidner, 2001). Ruggieri’s (2009) laboratory study of virtual teams found that transformational leaders were perceived to be better than transactional leaders. Findings in the study emphasize the need for leaders to manage team member perceptions by focusing on the relationships and interactions rather than the task. Northouse (2007) contends that the leadership process involves both leaders and followers. Interactions between leaders and subordinates to solve difficult problems were the focus of Mumford et al.’s (2000) study. The researchers contend that “leadership can be framed, not in terms of specific behaviors, but instead in terms of the capabilities, knowledge and skills that make effective leadership possible” (p. 12). Cragg and Spurgeon (2007) support the viewpoint that competencies and skills are required for effective leadership. Definitions of leadership vary on whether individuals or teams influence outcomes for effectiveness or performance. Leadership can be appointed, shared or emerge within organizations (Cascio & Shurygailo, 2003). However, Northouse (2007) states that “leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal” (p. 3). Daft (2008) distinguishes that “leadership is an influence relationship among leaders and followers who intend real changes and outcomes that reflect their shared purposes” (p. 4). Further, Connerly and Pederson
  • 42. 23 (2005) emphasize that “leadership should be appropriate to the people, time, place and cultural context” (p. 152). Interactions between the leader and the follower are important characteristics used to define leadership. Leadership in a diverse and rapidly changing environment requires the skills, influence, awareness and ability to harness the potential of groups to accomplish goals within organizations (Hoek & Mitchell, 2006; Mumford et al., 2000). Organizational culture, shared values and adaptation to change influences leadership effectiveness and organizational performance (Heifetz, 1994). Cragg and Spurgeon (2004) argue that “leadership roles need to be created with reference to a model of effective leadership that the organization endorses and upholds according to its culture and objectives” (p. 112). Global virtual teams are dynamic and changing environments. This study recognizes that perceptions of effective leadership may be influenced by organizational culture as the situation or context changes. Similarly, effective leadership is characterized by cultural competence. Goldsmith, Greenberg, Robertson, and Hu-Chan (2003) describe fifteen essential characteristics of global leaders based on research from The Global Leader of the Future Inventory and interview questions. The inventory is a 360 degree feedback assessment of leaders. The inventory was piloted on 200 leaders from 120 global organizations. The top five characteristics of global leaders are: “(1) thinking globally, (2) appreciating diversity, (3) developing technological savvy, (4) building partnerships and alliances and (5) sharing leadership” (p. 2). The aim of this study is to understand more about perceptions of leader behaviors and actions in effective global teams. Therefore,
  • 43. 24 characteristics that describe global leadership may influence team member perceptions of leader best practices. Historical Perspectives of Virtual Teams There is evidence in the literature on factors that influence success; however the literature on best practices is less abundant than research on team effectiveness, performance and success factors in global virtual teams (Chudoba, Wynn, & Watson- Manheim, 2005). The prevalence of the use of teams by organizations reached a peak in 1987 (Dyer, 2007). Research has led to the development of models of effectiveness based on several studies that can be applied to global virtual teams (Katzenbach, 1998). Four topics are discussed in this section. First, environmental issues and trends in business that lead to the need for global virtual teams are described. Second, theoretical frameworks are presented. Third, models of team effectiveness are delineated. Lastly, studies in the literature most relevant to best practices in global virtual teams are reviewed. Theoretical models of effective teams. The theoretical basis of this literature review is the application of research models to groups, traditional and virtual teams based on general input-output-process (I-P-O) frameworks. Researchers in team literature provide frameworks to explain the relationships between variable and outcomes. According to Hertel et al. (2005), I-P-O models have been used to examine the effects of variables on teams, relationships between factors, and moderators that impact performance. Inputs are variables brought to the team that may influence interactions or outcomes (Shockley-Zalabak, 2006). Processes refer to how tasks are completed (Shockley-Zalabak). Outcomes refer to the results measured. I-P-O frameworks have been applied in previous studies that have
  • 44. 25 focused on planning, action and interpersonal processes in groups (McGrath et al., 2000) and virtual teams (Driskell et al., 2003). Satisfaction, performance and effectiveness outcomes have dominated studies in the literature relating to affective, cognitive and behavioral factors within virtual teams. For example, Montoya-Weiss et al. (2001) studied 35 global virtual teams from the United States and Japan. Results of the study found that when processes are in place to coordinate the timing of information flows, conflict behaviors were reduced in global virtual teams. A second finding was that compromise behaviors have a negative effect on performance; however temporal coordination moderates the negative effects. Martins et al. (2004) reviewed literature on virtual teams using an inputs- processes and output model. The researchers found that satisfaction, performance and effectiveness outcomes have dominated studies in the literature on virtual teams. Additionally, affective, cognitive and behavioral characteristics have been widely studied. The strength of the review is that the majority of studies reviewed were based on real organizations and not laboratory studies. A growing body of research recognizes that teams with a high degree of virtuality experience the effects of mediating factors through the team lifecycle (Hertel et al., 2005). IMOI theoretical frameworks challenge the traditional I-P-O models commonly used in group support systems, group, team and virtual team research. Hertel, Geister and Konradt argued that “. . . developmental aspects have to be considered acknowledging that different management tasks are crucial at different phases of a team implementation process . . . moreover, a lifecycle model takes into account that disadvantages due to new communication technologies might differ depending on the phases of teamwork” (p. 72).
  • 45. 26 Observations of team member performance are difficult in virtual contexts. Feedback, monitoring and coaching processes were identified as challenges in virtual teams (Lipnack & Stamps, 2000). More recently, researchers have offered alternate theoretical models to the general I-P-O framework. The consistent finding in these alternate models is the recognition of groups as complex and constantly changing. McGrath et al. (2000) documented the shift from inputs and outputs to a systems view of groups that considers the importance of temporal factors and context. In a review of the literature, McGrath et al. identified the limitations of I-P-O frameworks for understanding how groups change over time in real organizations. The researchers argue that I-P-O frameworks are more commonly applied in laboratory studies which fail to accurately reflect the complexity of real groups. Ilgen et al. (2005) examined research on teams, work groups and groups. The majority of the studies took place in real organizations. Studies were structured around theoretical models that focus on team complexity as teams evolved. Ilgen et al. found that prior research also focused on processes that lead to performance. The researchers asserted that there is agreement in the literature that “. . . teams are complex, dynamic systems, existing in larger systemic contexts of people, tasks, technologies and settings” (p. 519). Ilgen et al. presented evidence that empirical research has shifted from understanding why teams are effective to how the interactions over time and context influence actions and behaviors. Past studies have focused on the mediating effects of time, affective, behavioral and cognitive factors between inputs that lead to outcomes (McGrath et al., 2000).
  • 46. 27 LaFasto and Larson’s (1989) three-year study focused on co-located teams in order to understand effective teams and teamwork. Using grounded theory and theoretical sampling, 32 high performing teams were interviewed and surveyed. The researchers wanted to answer the following questions “what are the characteristics, features, or attributes of effectively functioning teams?” (p. 19). Leaders and managers of the teams were interviewed from multiple industries. Eight characteristics of effective teams were identified and later used to assess team effectiveness. A feedback instrument was developed by the researchers to “assess the extent to which an intact team, as described by its leader and members possess or do not possess the characteristics” (p. 130). The researchers asked the question “what aspects of teams and teamwork that leaders and members are most likely to see differently?” (p. 137). The most significant finding was that there were consistent differences between the perceptions of leaders and members about team: (a) collaboration; (b) perceived team member commitment; and (c) communication. The researchers found that team leaders rated the team higher than members. Leaders were found to overestimate team effectiveness and performance. Dyer (1994) agrees that one factor that contributes to team failure is the lack of awareness of problems and the severity of issues that exist in teams. Latapie and Tran’s (2007) study on conflict and subculture formation supports LaFasto and Larson’s findings that a strong “teamwork culture” in more challenging, culturally diverse virtual teams is important (p. 189). A similar study on traditional healthcare teams used three data collection methods to examine characteristics of effectiveness. Mickan and Rodger (2005) used a purposeful sampling method. Participants in phase one of the study included 39 managers who had
  • 47. 28 extensive teaming experience and knowledge within healthcare. Data were collected in structured interviews using repertory grids (comparison instrument used between all participants) and a questionnaire to clarify responses. The data from interviews were interpreted and the importance of 30 team effectiveness concepts was ranked. The participants also allocated each of the 30 concepts to four themes that emerged around the perceptions of teamwork: (a) environment; (b) structure; (c) processes; and (d) team member contribution. In the second stage, 202 healthcare workers from diverse backgrounds ranked the importance of 27 characteristics of team effectiveness. The inventory was distributed through e-mail and internal communication tools to departmental managers. Through descriptive analysis, six characteristic were consistently ranked as significant contributions to team effectiveness: “mutual respect, goals, leadership, communication, cohesion and purpose” (p. 364). The researchers used findings to develop a model for healthcare teams. Results of the study are strengthened by the use of three data collection methods (i.e., repertory grid interviews, clarification questionnaires and inventory) and evidence supported by existing theoretical models in team literature. Since LaFasto and Larson’s (1989) early study, team research has explored several factors that may impact leaders and members in virtual teams. Researchers have addressed differences between leaders and members in studies focused on power (Panteli & Tucker, 2009) and conflict (Arizeta, Ayestaran, & Swailes, 2005; Kankanhalli, Tan, & Kwok-Kee, 2006; Paul, Samarah, Seetharaman, & Mykytyn, 2004). Several studies on leadership effectiveness in virtual teams examined globally distributed teams (Cascio &
  • 48. 29 Shurygailo, 2003; Day, Gronn, & Salas, 2004; Kayworth & Leidner, 2001). An extensive body of empirical research has explored virtual team management (Hertel et al., 2005). Katzenbach and Smith (2003) distinguish high performance teams from real teams in a model of team effectiveness. According to Katzenbach and Smith, “high performing teams typically reflect strong extensions of the basic characteristics of teams: deeper sense of purpose, more ambitious performance goals, more complete approaches, fuller mutual accountability, interchangeable as well as complimentary skills” (p. 79). There are six critical elements that characterize a high performing team: 1. First, high performing teams have a strong personal commitment to one another’s growth and personal success (Katzenbach & Smith; Dyer et al., 2007). 2. Second, high performing teams have greater flexibility that enables personal growth and interchangeable skill development (Katzenbach & Smith). 3. Third, high performing teams have a greater sense of humor and have more fun that is “real and only sustainable if it feeds off the team’s purpose and performance aspirations” (Katzenbach & Smith, p. 78). 4. Fourth, high performance teams have high goal interdependence and integrate team responsibilities with job responsibilities (Makin, 2007). 5. Fifth, high performance teams have open communication systems and shared leadership that encourage unfiltered debate. Open communication allows team members to properly manage conflict build vulnerability based trust, and share experiences (Dyer et al.; Lencioni, 2002; Makin; Katzenbach & Smith).
  • 49. 30 6. Last, high performing teams have the interpersonal and technical skills to: a) become self sufficient; b) influence the performance ethic in the larger organization; and c) adapt to change (Hackman, 2002; Katzenbach & Smith; Dyer et al.). There are two prominent perspectives in the literature on team leadership: (a) leadership brought to the team by an individual; and (b) leadership that emerges from the team (Day, Gronn, & Salas, 2004). In the first perspective, research suggests that a team leader’s ability to transfer knowledge, stimulate creativity and facilitate team learning are key determinants of effectiveness in virtual and global teams (Daft, 2008; Lipnack & Stamps, 2000). However, most leaders have little experience or training for working in global virtual teams. Hackman (2002) challenges the concept that a leader’s actions have an effect on the performance of the team. Instead, Hackman’s view is that “. . . the main responsibility of leaders as creating and maintaining the five conditions that increase the chances that a team will, over time, become increasingly effective in carrying out its work. The five conditions that need to be created and maintained are: “(1) is a real team rather than a team in name only; (2) has a compelling direction for its work, (3) has an enabling structure that facilitates rather than impedes teamwork, (4) operates within a supportive organizational context, and (5) has available ample expert coaching in teamwork” (p. 31). Dyer et al.’s (2007) Four C Model (context, composition, competencies and change management) of teams effectiveness supports Hackman’s belief that the design and support provided to teams are as important as the attributes and behaviors of individual leaders. These perspectives are important because the focus of the research is on team
  • 50. 31 leader practices that impact performance over time rather than behavioral style in real global virtual teams. Leading virtual teams. Leadership and team building are essential to the development of high performance teams. Studies of traditional teams suggest that there is a positive relationship between team leadership and effectiveness (Hackman, 2002). Other studies found that leadership in teams is determined at the team level rather than the individual level (Katzenbach & Smith, 2003). Studies have also found that leadership in constantly changing environments depends on the ability to solve complex social problems (Fairbairn, 2005; Mumford et al., 2000). Many studies on leadership in teams and groups emphasize the importance of the leader’s role (Cascio & Shurygailo, 2003; Day et al., 2004; Kayworth & Leidner, 2001; Yukl, 2006). Katz (1955) challenged the notion that more emphasis should be placed on the development of technical, human, and conceptual skills to lead effectively. More recent literature confirms that global leaders need to have technical, human, conceptual and political skills (Goldsmith et al., 2003; Hakonen & Lipponen, 2008). Miranda and Bostrom’s (1999) study examined the leader’s meeting facilitation role in the successful completion of a task in small group. The leader’s facilitation role as a communicator is most important to inspire the willingness of members to fully engage in virtual meetings to reach meeting outcomes. Leadership is enacted in the context of meetings through discursive practices that influence the willingness of members to commit to future action and adopt organizational culture and rules (Shockley-Zalabak, 2006). Nilesen (2009) contends that “ leadership—even if not performed at executive level—is a social process
  • 51. 32 of interaction with reality being defined in a way, which makes sense to the participants, and is also a system of dependency, in which individuals entrust the power to interpret and to define reality to others” (p. 46). Conversely, Dyer et al. (2007) contend that a more structured approach to high performance team development is present. Dyer et al. assert that high performance teams are developed by properly managing the team context, composition, competencies and change management skills of the team. Further, through regular evaluation processes and continuous monitoring practices, high performance teams adapt to meet performance challenges (Dyer et al.). Crisis and change are acknowledged as two key drivers that create the urgency for high performing teams to develop (Kotter, 2002). Moreover, the role of the leader is educative in the initial stages of development. The leader educates the team about the common goals, roles and responsibilities needed, opens communication, and gives more responsibility to team members (Dyer et al.). The team leader shifts from being an educator to that of being a coach. In the coaching role, leaders engage team members to share their perspectives about role responsibility and processes to accomplish objectives. Dyer et al. state that the team leader needs to be seen as a “knowledge helper” (p. 63). As a facilitator, the team leader’s role is to intervene in conflict, direct attention to new issues, and to ask questions to redirect team focus (Dyer et al.). As the team leaders’ roles shift from educator, coach and facilitator, the role of visionary remains constant. The team leader needs to continuously envision the competencies and composition of the team using effective inquiry methods and dialogue. Effective leadership is critical to the success and performance of virtual teams (Cascio & Shurygailo, 2003). Several researchers support the notion that leadership
  • 52. 33 emerges within the team at different stages of the team’s life cycle (McGrath et al., 2000). Later studies point out that team members may work together on a variety of projects in different roles (Caiscio & Shurygailo). Accordingly, researchers have investigated leadership as a team construct rather than an individual construct (Ilgen et al., 2005). High performance teams have shared leadership where the team leader’s role shifts to meet the performance challenge of the team (Katzenbach & Smith, 2003; Dyer et al., 2007). Team members initiate action wherever the team needs it. Antoni’s (2005) findings recognize the positive effects of group processes on satisfaction and performance in teams when task interdependence is high. Situational factors have been viewed to create opportunities for leadership throughout the team (Gibson & Gibbs, 2006). Researchers contend that leaders need to: (a) act appropriately to the situation; (b) select the best technology for the task at hand; and (c) communicate effectively to all members, according contingency based leadership theory (Northouse, 2007). Kayworth and Leidner (2001) support a contrasting view of the leader’s role in global virtual teams based on the behavior complexity theory. These researchers argue that effective leaders are able to perform multiple leadership roles in complex and changing environments related to “. . . task achievement, individual team member needs and team cohesion” (p. 12). For these reasons, the behavior complexity theory perspective is an appropriate leadership framework to apply to global virtual teams (Kayworth & Leidner). Empirical studies in team literature have focused on: (a) Transformational Leadership; (b) Transactional Leadership; (c) Contingency Theory; (d) Social Context Theory; and (e) Leader-Member-Exchange Theory (Martins et al., 2004; Northouse; Yukl, 2006; Pauleen, 2004).
  • 53. 34 Hans’ (2006) study investigated the impact of team diversity and perceptions of leader support and citizenship behavior in virtual teams. The study is important because the factors that impact team member relationships which may contribute to team effectiveness were examined. Hans explained the concept of tenure diversity as group member identification based on similar demographics and in-group similarities. The concept of tenure diversity has implications for the impact of subgroup formation on virtual teams. Interestingly, the author discussed how the Leadership Member Exchange Theory (LMX) may be applied in virtual teams in describing in groups and out groups. According to Hans, group members who are less alike are more likely to be a part of the out-group and experience less leader support. Further, the use of technology may decrease the importance of demographic similarity as a determinant for negative effects on virtual teams. The author used a variety of data collection measures to analyze organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) and perceived leader support. A subset of data was analyzed from a study that collected data by using phone interviews and questionnaires of 38 virtual teams. Tenure diversity was calculated using a mathematical formula to determine differences between group members. OCB and leader support were measured using adaptations of scales used in previous research. Hans found that the perception of leader support overcomes the negative impacts of dissimilarities among group members. Overall, the findings reveal that diversity among team members can have a negative impact on OCB in virtual teams. In addition to team leadership, there is evidence that there are other influence factors that contribute to team effectiveness. Kuo’s (2004) study examined the impact of transactional, transformational and paternalistic leadership styles, team social capital and
  • 54. 35 team diversity on effectiveness. Kuo found that transformational leadership has a positive effect on team effectiveness. Social capital was found to have a positive impact on effectiveness. In particular, the frequency and degree of informal communication, shared organizational values and increased levels of trust positively impact team effectiveness. Team diversity of roles and functions had a positive impact on effectiveness, while demographic diversity characteristics (age, education, education) had negative impacts. Kuo’s study did not explore cultural diversity in the study. Kuo strongly suggests that future research include “. . . the subordinate’s perspective to study how the characteristics of subordinate cause impact on behavior of leader and team effectiveness” (p. 275). The focus of this research is on team member perceptions of leader practices in global virtual teams. Kuo’s findings and directions for future research support the need for more knowledge about leadership, diversity and member perspectives on effective practices in global virtual teams. Heifetz (1994) argues that “effectiveness means reaching viable decisions that implement the goals of the organization” (p. 22). Conversely, perceptions of leader effectiveness may also be subjective (e.g., value judgments) and largely depend on the values, experiences and bias of the evaluator (Deutsch, 2006; Heifetz; Northouse, 2007). Leadership scholars (Ikenberry, 2008; Kouzes & Posner; 2007; McCoy, 2007; Northouse) support the contention that gender, culture and ethics are factors that could influence effectiveness in organizations. Research indicates that gender stereotypes, bias and differences in leadership style and effectiveness exist between men and women (Northouse, 2007). The role of gender in leadership studies has indicated that: (a) women are perceived to be more effective in
  • 55. 36 feminine leadership roles; (b) women use a more participatory involvement; and (c) women tend to use transformational leadership styles more than men according to Northouse. Little is known about the role of gender in leadership style in global virtual teams. Team composition is based on the skills and competencies needed to accomplish goals. There is interest in research in international business and organizational management literature. Gowing et al. (1998) raised several questions regarding management that are relevant to this study and warrant further exploration when they ask “What do organizations and managers need to know about managing across boundaries and managing non employees? What kind of leadership is required for employees and contractors alike in the changed organization?” (p. 19). Organizations have changed the composition of the workforce from low skilled workers to include more problem solvers and thinkers who use “knowledge, judgment, experience and instinct” to add value to organizations (Liu, Magjuka, & Lee, 2008, p. 21). These trends in globalization and changes in the workforce demonstrate a need to understand how to increase productivity and enhance performance of workers. Hertel et al. (2005) examined human resource management tasks and issues in teams with a high degree of virtuality. Over 100 studies were summarized and practical recommendations for managing virtual teams were drawn from the research. According to the researchers, there is agreement that all teams have characteristics of virtuality. The degree of virtuality was used to describe characteristics of the teams studied. Strengths of the study included documented practical recommendations for virtual team leaders and members supported by existing research.
  • 56. 37 A leader’s communication competence in the use of computer mediated technologies is an essential factor for global virtual teams (Sivunen, 2008). Sivunen studied four globally distributed teams in information technology, marketing and human resource functions. The researcher found that team members expected leaders to give guidance on the use of computer mediated communication practices. In addition, members expected leaders to communicate goals clearly, be supportive and encourage participation. The researcher suggests that leaders need information seeking, negotiating and networking skills to maximize team potential. The data were triangulated by using interviews about team practices and observations of member interactions and analyzed using qualitative methods. Workman (2007) found that teams with highly structured processes and open communication had higher levels of performance than teams focused on adhering to schedule and quality. Workman asserts that team openness and structured processes, rather than the leader alone contributed to higher levels of performance. The leader’s ability to analyze and sense factors that impact the team and respond to the needs of the task, team members, and context is essential to effective team performance (Pauleen, 2004). Additionally, effective global virtual teams have the support of top level leaders to help in understanding and fulfilling roles to the entire organization (Goodbody, 2005; Hackman, 2002). Leadership communication should be guided from top level leaders during change (Kotter, 2002). The dynamic environment of global virtual teams warrants the support of leaders and competencies in communication from team leaders to ensure alignment through change and cultural differences (Barczak, McDonough, & Anthanassiou, 2006).
  • 57. 38 Technology. Studies have also investigated the role of technology use to support group interaction. Group support system researchers focused attention on how groups can use groupware technology for: (a) information sharing; (b) aligning group and personal goals; (c) decision making; (d) participation; and (e) problem solving (Tarmizi et al., 2007; Zigurs & Buckland, 1998). Researchers and practitioners have applied findings by developing practical tools for team design, development and team building (Dyer, 1994; Dyer et al., 2007; Gundry & LaMantia, 2001; Hackman, 2002; Katzenbach & Smith, 1998). For example, Zigurs and Kozar (1994) studied the roles in co-located groups using Group Support Systems (GSS) to make decisions. The researchers found that the use of GSS technology is determined by the goal of information exchange to support group activity. Adaptive structuration theory explains that meaning is shaped by the different ways people use “technologies-in-practice as they identify and choose different features and develop their own style of interacting with technology and base their sense making on it” (Hatch & Cunliffe, 2006, p. 169). In global virtual teams, meanings formed by the leader and members may be perceived differently by team members. Technology enables virtual team work and group interaction. Several studies have examined how technology impacts group and team outcomes (Zigurs & Khazanchi, 2005). Zigurs, Poole, and DeSanctis (1988) conducted a qualitative and quantitative study to examine the differences in influence behavior between 32 computer supported and unsupported groups. The results of the laboratory study found no significant difference between the influence behaviors within the two groups and no difference in decision making or quality outcomes.
  • 58. 39 Fjermestad and Hiltz’s (2000) descriptive evaluation of 54 field and case studies used GSS to provide a framework for integrating a review of the literature that is relevant to this research project. The criteria for selection in the study included at least three people, peer reviewed journal publications, and the use of computer mediated communication to support collaborative processes and decision making. Fjermestad and Hiltz’s study is important because it describes how organizations use technology to increase performance. Global virtual teams typically operate in asynchronous environments. These researchers emphasized how essential collaboration tools are to work efficiency in asynchronous communication environments. However, the majority of this research focused on teams in co-located environments. Leadership, electronic and verbal communication and high trust were identified as success factors for implementation of GSS. More needs to be known about the use of collaborative tools in asynchronous environments. Results of the study suggest that research is needed in groups with diverse culture and nationality. Collaboration. Collaborative work and problem solving are important activities in virtual teams (Goodbody, 2005; Zigurs & Wilson, 2001). Existing literature has analyzed traditional, laboratory, and real and virtual team in studies. In the majority of studies, qualitative methods were used to collect data from questionnaires: interviews and data logs (Gratton & Erickson, 2007; Leinonen, Jarvela, & Hakkinen, 2005; Sarmiento & Stahl, 2008; Tarmizi et al., 2007). Results of these studies indicate that global virtual team research has developed from multiple disciplines. Increasingly, organizations are adopting characteristics of the virtual work environment. Collaboration tools are essential to
  • 59. 40 communication, problem solving and decision making in virtual teams (Zaccaro, Mumford, Connelly, Marks, & Gilbert, 2000). GSS researchers have studied: (a) perceptions; (b) efficiency; (c) effectiveness; (d) consensus; and (e) satisfaction (i.e. process, outcome and participation). Cultural differences. Over the last ten years, studies have found that structural and cultural issues are important factors for supporting virtual teams. For example, communication tools and reward systems are structural issues that contribute to success in virtual teams (Douglas, Martin, & Krapels, 2006; Grosse, 2002; Wiesenfeld et al., 1999). Second, a willingness to innovate and an openness to multiple perspectives have been found to positively influence effectiveness and performance in virtual teams (Connerly & Pedersen, 2005). Another cultural issue that has been studied is the impact of cultural differences between collectivist and individualist cultures in global virtual teams (Grosse; Ilgen et al., 2005; Lipnack & Stamps, 2000). Cultural differences can help to develop more agile emotional intelligence that enhances all work relationships by expanding personal and professional networks and enjoying a sense of autonomy (Daft, 2008). Broader perspectives have been found to influence innovation and quality of products and services to customers (Gundry & LaMantia, 2001). Teams who draw on differences to access and understand multiple viewpoints increase the capacity to gather information and provide solutions to strengthen the organization (Lipnack & Stamps, 2000). An awareness and tolerance of culture values are needed to maintain trust and make good decisions (Ilgen et al., 2005). National diversity is an important characteristic of global virtual teams. According to
  • 60. 41 Cordery and Soo (2008), “virtual teams may have members with many nationalities from around the world. Equally, a virtual team may contain a single nationality, although its members are distributed at different sides of a continent communicating via e-mail and the intranet/Internet” (p. 488). Success Factors in Global Virtual Teams Effective dispersed global virtual teams and traditional teams share some important team composition and competency characteristics, according to existing literature (Curseu, Schalk, & Wessel, 2008). First, attributes are identified followed by a discussion of relevant studies centered on a summarized list of attributes found in successful traditional and global virtual teams relevant to this research: 1. a well designed structure (Dyer et al., 2007; Karayaz, 2006; Lipnack & Stamps, 2000; Liu et al., 2008); 2. a defined meaningful purpose (Hackman, 2002; Katzenbach & Smith, 2003; Lipnack & Stamps); 3. a defined team and organizational roles (Aritzeta, Ayestaran, & Swailes, 2005; Dube & Robey, 2008; Hackman, 2002; Yukl, 2006); 4. clear direction toward completing tasks (Gratton & Erickson, 2007; Kayworth & Leidner, 2001; Scholz, 2003); 5. clear measurable goals (Fleming & Monda-Amaya, 2001; Katzenbach & Smith; Lipnack & Stamps; Lurey, 1998); 6. objectives understood by all members (Katzenbach & Smith; Lipnack & Stamps)
  • 61. 42 7. coordination of complex tasks (Boule, 2008; Daft, 2008; Grosse, 2002; Karayaz, 2006; Nemiro, 2002) and 8. team composition (Antoni, 2005; Dyer et al.; Gratton & Erickson; Liu et al.). Success in virtual teams is also influenced by the individual knowledge, skills, abilities and behavior of the leader and team members (Dyer et al., 2007; Maznevski & Chudoba, 2000; Yukl, 2006). There is agreement in the literature that effective leadership and team communication are key factors for success in global virtual teams (Cordery & Soo, 2008; Pauleen, 2004). Effective leadership combined with team communication helps overcome the individual and group disadvantages of virtual teamwork (Yukl). There is evidence in the literature that effective communication is an important skill for leaders and members to manage conflict, decrease ambiguity and harness the potential in cultural differences brought from team diversity (Connerly & Pederson, 2005; Daft, 2008). Similarly, the use of technology has been found to improve trust and collaboration efforts when the communication method is appropriate for the task (Maznevski & Chudoba, 2000). Information sharing in a constantly changing membership base can be a challenge. Successful global virtual teams develop strategic contingency plans and prioritize goals (Ilgen et al., 2005). However, more needs to be known about the best practices, skills and resources leaders use to develop a shared understanding of team knowledge and processes (Martins et al., 2004; Pauleen, 2004; Staples and Webster, 2007). The six main success factors most important to global virtual teams are discussed: (a) team leadership; (b) leader communication competence; (c) team communication practices; (d) trust; (e) teamwork; and (f) interpersonal relationships.
  • 62. 43 Team communication factors. Clifton (2009) supports the concept that group processes are more effective when discursive skills (i.e., turns at talk, humor, silence, summarizing and devil’s advocacy) are used in distributed teams. Clifton used conversation analysis methods in a case study on an internationally distributed team. The impact of computer mediated communication in meeting interaction was observed in quasi-synchronous communication (i.e., chat threaded discussion video and phone). Results of the study provide evidence that tool selection is important to team interaction. Chat threads combined with video and phone interactions created redundancy and ambiguity in message interpretation. However, the use of discursive practices by the leader in the opening and closing of meetings to enact leadership, influence decision making, and to provide social emotional support moderated the negative effects of quasi-synchronous communication (Clifton). Limitations of the study were that findings were based on a single case of students in a laboratory setting. Effective set up and implementation of the initial team meetings and regular interactions are factors for global virtual team success (Boule, 2008; Katzenbach & Smith, 2003). Other studies have considered computer mediated communication and the role of social communication and engagement as factors for virtual team success. Kayworth and Leidner (2000) emphasize that the use of multiple communication channels increases success in virtual teams. However, the researchers caution that the fast response delay time is a key factor for reducing ambiguity and increasing future actions toward performance challenges (Kayworth & Leidner). Grosse (2002) agrees that properly managed communication in intercultural virtual teams is an important success factor for performance and effectiveness. Grosse contends that strategic communication, building
  • 63. 44 partnerships and alliances, and awareness of diversity are practices that foster team success. Positive communication behaviors and strategies contribute to the success of global virtual teams (Kayworth & Leidner). Communication also channels success factors for innovation and creativity in teams. Nemiro (2002) found that creativity and innovation in virtual teams evolved in four phases of the project lifecycle: “idea generation, development, finalization/closure, and evaluation” (p. 74). Nemiro’s findings indicate that face-to-face communication was more effective in the initial phases for idea generation. This study used a grounded theory approach and purposeful sampling methods involving nine globally distributed virtual teams. The majority of 36 participants was from the United States. Team size ranged from 3-12 members. The findings in the study were significant because the degree and type of communication channels used by teams varied. Yet, the four phases of communication emerged as consistent patterns in all the teams. Data were coded from the interview transcripts. Inter-rater reliability was judge to be “. . . good with perfect agreement on 69% of the quotations check coded” (p. 74). SPSS software was used to analyze survey data and calculate descriptive statistics and frequencies. The data collection methods, inter rater reliability and the use of real teams in organizations strengthen the validity of findings (Patton, 2002). Tavcar, Zavbi, Verlinden, and Duhovnik (2005) studied best practices and principles for work and communication in global virtual student design teams. Tavcar et al. point out that selection of communication channel is a key success factor when task complexity is increased. Equally, team members need to have access to communication tools, develop familiarity with and adopt the use of available technologies (Tavcar et al.).
  • 64. 45 Leede, Kraan, Hengst, and Hooff (2008) found that three factors lead to high levels of innovation in global virtual teams: (a) collaborative communication tools; (b) trust; and (c) cooperation to attain a common goal in complex tasks. Trust. Many studies have shown that trust is a success factor for global virtual teams (Hodson, 2004; Jarvenpaa, Knoll, & Leidner, 1998; Matzler & Renzel, 2006). Jarvenpaa et al.’s early study of global virtual student teams investigated strategies used by team members to develop deep levels of trust. Jarvenpaa et al. found that in teams with high levels of trust, they used several strategies. High trust teams were results driven, shared leadership, used a positive tone, communicated frequently and provided meaningful feedback. Further, the team used clear processes to manage time and work on interdependent tasks. Understanding the strategies and techniques used to develop trust is important to the focus of this research on a leader’s best practice. Interpersonal trust increases satisfaction levels and loyalty in virtual teams (Matzler & Renzel, 2006). Paul and McDaniel (2004) found three additional forms of trust are interrelated with interpersonal trust in successful virtual team collaboration: (a) calculative trust (commitment weighed against gains and losses); (b) competence trust (i.e., trust in the skills and abilities of the team); and (c) relational trust (affective or socio-emotional attachment to others). Paul and McDaniel found a strong positive relationship between each type of trust and performance. Their findings confirm Jarvenpaa et al.’s (1999) research that integrity, benevolence and ability were predictors of trust in virtual teams.
  • 65. 46 Existing literature indicates that the formation, maintenance and sustained trust are essential to the success of global virtual teams (Liu et al., 2008; Ross, 2006). Frequent communication interactions, interpersonal exchanges and the use of multiple methods facilitate trust in global virtual teams (Kayworth & Leidner, 2001). Liu et al. also found that there was a positive relationship between conflict management style and team structure and trust on team effectiveness. The researchers studied 44 student teams on a group project. The small size and use of student teams limit the validity of results when applied to real organizations. Threats to external validity need to be considered in the application of findings since the focus of this research project is on global virtual teams in real organizations. Teamwork. Research suggests that teamwork is a second success factor for global virtual teams (Katzenbach & Smith, 2003). Teamwork is a set of values that require behavior necessary for team goals to be accomplished (Lencioni, 2002). Lencioni emphasizes that teamwork is not a virtue, but rather a strategic choice. Awareness and tolerance of culture values are needed to maintain trust and make good decisions. Satisfaction and performance outcomes have been predicted by the extent to which the diversity of team members is managed (Ilgen et al., 2005). Researchers have found that culture value differences influence team performance and member satisfaction more than demographic differences. McGrath et al. (2000) argue that future studies should investigate the effects of diversity of members, technology, projects and context on virtual team effectiveness. More needs to be known about the practices leaders use to develop a shared understanding of team knowledge and processes.
  • 66. 47 One of the main factors that contribute to sustained high performance is a strong positive organizational culture to build on the organization’s strengths and weaknesses. According to Loden (1996), leveraging diversity requires a fundamental shift in assumptions about the organization culture, as well as changes in the basic systems and practices used to support customers and employees” (p. 33). Dyer et al. (2007) agree that elements of corporate culture shape the context for team development. An organizational culture that supports virtual teamwork through its engagement initiatives, support, resources, processes and policies help to create open and psychologically safe environments (Gibson & Gibbs, 2006; Melcrum, 2008). Organizational culture has been shown to have an impact on global virtual team performance in previous studies. Chudoba et al. (2005) found that performance is positively impacted by organizational alignment between all stakeholders around the business strategy. Moreover, successful global virtual teams balance local and global interests inside and outside of the organization (Maznevski & Chudoba, 2000). Interpersonal relationships. Effective global virtual teams develop strong interpersonal relationships between members and strategic internal and external partnerships (Boule, 2008; Goldsmith et al., 2003; Gratton & Erickson, 2007). Slater, Sadagic, Usoh, and Schroeder’s (2000) comparative study of traditional and virtual team communication found a positive relationship between group performance and co-presence (i.e., the sense of being with other people) and presence (i.e., sharing the same physical space with other people). Siino (2007) conducted a later comparative study on emotional engagement in meetings between distributed teams and face-to-face interactions with computer mediated
  • 67. 48 interactions. Siino’s findings suggest that even small amounts of engagement improve team collaboration and information sharing despite the lack of nonverbal cues, touch or co-presence. Best practices. Lurey (1998) studied eight companies in information technology, agriculture and service industries from multinational organizations. Lurey’s research was an “applied organizational investigation of the existing operations of several companies” (p. 59). A mixed method design was used. The data were collected through questionnaires and interviews. Participants (n=67) were solicited through e-mail distribution lists, postings and personal business contacts of the researcher. The email messages included a description of the scope of research, and potential benefits to participants and sponsors. Selection criteria for participants were the need to work in a geographically dispersed teams and electronic dependence. The participants were not required to be dispersed across space or time zone boundaries. Data were analyzed using Pearson’s correlation and descriptive statistics. Qualitative data from the interviews were coded for emergent themes across the twelve teams studied. Lurey found a strong positive association between team processes and relationships and team performance. Communication and technology issues were identified as major factors that contribute to problems in virtual teams. Within the teams, e-mail and personal phone calls were the most frequently used methods of communication. Bivariate correlations were used to determine the degree of association between scaled items on the survey and “predictor variables” (p. 73). Scholz (2003) investigated best practices in eight companies using virtual teams in the information technology industry. Scholz conducted a qualitative organizational
  • 68. 49 case study. Participants were selected through an industry tracking software called “Web 100” using non probability sampling methods (p. 20). Industry leaders were asked to refer eight participants who had extensive experience in virtual teams to participate. Data were collected using interviews and questionnaires. There were two main research questions: “What are the characteristics of successful virtual teams?” and “What are the best practices of successful virtual teams with regard to: 1. virtual team building? 2. addition and removal of team members? 3. establishing and capturing group norms? [and] 4. building and sustaining team cohesion/esprit de corps?” (p. 24). Scholz found that successful virtual teams had best practices in all areas except establishing and capturing group norms. Cultural differences and the degree of virtuality of the teams studied are not known. Scholz required that participants speak English and the ages ranged between 40-60 years old. A limitation of the study is the small sample size. Another limiting factor is the lack of descriptive information regarding cultural differences, team diversity and a broader age range of participants. Existing studies show that generational, language and cultural background differences need to be properly managed in global virtual teams (Arsenault, 2004; Barczak et al., 2006). This research project will expand on Scholz’s study to understand the best practices in effective global virtual teams. Kerber and Buono (2004) conducted a field study on a global virtual team in the training and development industry. The purpose of the study was to examine questions about virtual team effectiveness, the leader’s role, and “the types of interventions managers can use to launch and sustain these teams” (p. 4). Eleven team members and leaders were distributed within the United States, England, Ireland and Australia. The
  • 69. 50 team covered 17 time zones on a limited budget in a restructured organization in the technology industry. Team members communicated using computer mediated communication, intranet and collaborative technologies. Kerber and Buono found that there are dynamics within virtual teams that contribute to virtual team performance and have implications for team leaders. The researchers applied a model of team development based on a review of the literature and the case study. The model builds on I-P-O models and life cycle models by considering the dynamics that bring virtual teams together and pull virtual teams apart (Martins et al., 2004). Five practices of the leader and the team in the case study are discussed. First, the team defined a compelling performance challenge to create a sense of urgency and personal meaning and relevance. The team leader and members worked together to define the purpose and goals. The team’s challenge was defined by the need to demonstrate value and create credibility throughout the organization during a large scale downsizing. Katzenbach and Smith (2003) acknowledge that a compelling challenge exists when “drama, urgency, and a healthy fear of failure combine to drive teams who have their collective eye on an attainable goal” (p. 55). Likewise, Kerber and Buono (2004) assert that global virtual teams also need “a compelling challenge that energizes the team to overcome the difficulties of spatial distance and technological mediation is essential to performance” (p. 6). Teamwork needs to be meaningful and personally relevant, according to Sivunen (2008). Second, the team leader created involvement by using rich team communication channels and technology. The leader increased interaction and participation by scheduling regular meetings across different time zones. Next, the leader facilitated
  • 70. 51 meetings by providing information through multiple channels to direct conversations. The leader combined asynchronous and synchronous communication to create involvement and inform decision making. In the same way, team collaboration of all written documents encouraged participation. A leader’s communication competence in the use of computer mediated technologies is an essential factor for global virtual teams (Sivunen, 2008). Sivunen studied four globally distributed teams in information technology, marketing and human resource functions. Siino’s (2007) study on emotional engagement in meetings within distributed teams compared face-to-face interactions with computer mediated interactions. Third, the team leader developed performance management routines. The use of regular communication, team member feedback and personal development plans were used in order to evaluate team performance. The routines were distributed among team members to increase their awareness about how performance would be measured. Fourth, the leader encouraged the development of strong interpersonal relationships between team members. The leader used provided opportunities for sharing personal experiences, photographs and ice breakers to promote informal interaction between members. Team members perceived these interactions useful for building virtual relationships with each other. Last, the leader demonstrated commitment to the team through three practices. First, the leader acknowledged individual and team contributions that added value to the organization. Second, the leader effectively managed change through continuous flows of information. Third, the leader demonstrated a genuine
  • 71. 52 concern for members through coaching, providing feedback, rewards and personal development opportunities to individual members. Melcrum (2008) studied best practices in 63 large global organizations which ranged in size from 1,000 to over 30,000 employees. Informants in the study were internal communication professionals and human resource professionals. Data were collected through internet surveys and 18 in-depth interviews. Findings of the study revealed that successful virtual environments have best practices established in five areas: (a) team composition and design; (b) “resources; policies and skills”; (c) simple tools and infrastructure; (d) strategic efforts to build engagement and commitment; and (e) effective technology and communication (p. 7). Melcrum’s findings were used to develop a TRUST model of virtual team effectiveness based on each of the five areas. This study is significant because specific best practices for virtual teams are related to the organization, leaders and implications for the team. However, a limitation in the study is that more is not known about the informants. Information about the perspective of leader versus team members would add increased value. Past research (Dyer, 1994; LaFasto & Larson, 1989; Latapie & Tran, (2007) indicate that leaders are sometimes unaware of the seriousness of problems that exist in teams. The focus of this research project is to understand perceptions of best practices from the perspective of team members. In summary, Latapie and Tran (2007) found that a team leader’s practices contributed to the effectiveness of team collaboration. The five practices were to: (a) define the compelling challenge; (b) use rich communication flows; (c) develop and distribute performance management routines; (d) encourage strong interpersonal relationships among the team members; and (e) demonstrate personal commitment and
  • 72. 53 accountability to the team. Although the case study identified effective leader and team practices, findings were limited to a single case. Kerber and Buono (2004) formed conclusions based on a review of the existing literature and interviews. The strength of the study was identification and description of effective leader practices for virtual collaboration. Equally important were recommendations for virtual team leaders. However, little attention focused on team member perceptions of leader practices. Empirical research is needed on perceived leader practices by team members. Challenges Faced by Virtual Teams As virtual teams are viewed as more complex and dynamic systems within organizations, there is a growing need to understand and manage the effects of various factors on team performance (Chudoba et al., 2005; Sheetz, Tegarden, Kozar, & Zigurs, 1994). Technological advances, diverse group membership, and working across geography and time are advantages of virtual teams. According to Cordery and Soo (2008), virtual teams face many challenges: “(a) accessing storing and capitalizing on team knowledge; (b) developing a sense for collective engagement in respect of the team task and (c) experiencing the sense of collective competence that is often associated with performance” (p. 489). In a separate study developing a sense of team identity, engagement, support, and effective technology and communication were identified as major challenges Some characteristics that make virtual teamwork advantageous, may also contribute to poor performance (Dube & Robey, 2008). The differences that distinguish virtual teams from traditional teams emphasize the need for effective leadership and maintaining clear direction. According to Gibson and Gibbs (2006), there are four characteristics of
  • 73. 54 virtual teams that present challenges to virtual teams: (a) geographic dispersion; (b) electronic dependence; (c) dynamic structure; and (d) national diversity. However, (Chudoba et al., 2005) found that geographic dispersion alone does not strongly influence performance. The researchers suggest that a variety of work practices, multitasking, national diversity and time zone are challenges that face global virtual teams. Kerber and Buono (2004) recognized that achieving alignment and commitment to the team’s purpose is a key challenge for leaders. A summary of the challenges faced by global virtual team leaders according to Hertel et al.’s (2005) review of the literature are: 1. difficulties supervising team members’ activities (monitoring work), 2. preventing unproductive developments in time, 3. additional costs for appropriate technology, 4. data security issues and 5. adequate training programs. Six additional challenges to team members are summarized in Martins et al.’s (2004) review of the literature: 1. feelings of isolation 2. decreased interpersonal contact 3. increased chances of misunderstandings 4. conflict escalation 5. increased opportunities of role ambiguity and goal conflicts due to commitments to different work units and 6. lack of face-to-face
  • 74. 55 The challenges faced by virtual teams’ leaders and members to overcome characteristics of virtuality supports the need for identifying and evaluating leader best practices in global virtual teams. Existing literature emphasizes the leader’s role in team effectiveness and performance. Global virtual team leaders have increased difficulty developing strong interpersonal relationships between team members, communicating and coordinating processes compared to traditional teams. Prior literature on best practices in global virtual teams can be drawn from similar research in virtual environments (Boule, 2008; Lurey, 1998; Melcrum, 2008; Scholz, 2003). Stansfield et al. (2009) evaluated the implementation and sustainability of e-learning best practices in European virtual campuses. Participants were selected based on experience and understanding of best practices within virtual campuses. Researchers used Appreciative Inquiry methods to elicit information from multiple stakeholders and interpret core issues relevant to best practices. Qualitative data collection methods were used to elicit information. Virtual campuses are partnerships between higher education and learning institutions that jointly deliver curriculum across boundaries (Stansfield et al.). Findings in the study are important to this research because the degree of virtuality that characterizes the virtual campus mirror attributes found in global virtual teams (i.e. geographic distance, national diversity, electronic dependence and dynamic structure). The researchers emphasize the need for best practices to address issues that contribute to organizational failure. Further, key issues related to best practice and sustainability in the study is supported by research in virtual team literature. There are two main issues related to best practices on virtual campuses that are shared by global virtual teams. Like global virtual teams, the researchers found that
  • 75. 56 leadership challenges and technology were the main issues identified by participants in the study. The need for strong leadership best practices to use proactive management strategies and to develop contingency plans was identified. In addition, participants identified the need for tacit leadership skills. Tacit skill develops over time through varied experiences that can be applied to the virtual campus environment. Another issue related to best practice is the need for leaders to form effective partnerships with internal and external stakeholders in order to reach organizational and team objectives (Katzenbach and Smith, 2003). The need to effectively manage diversity and provide dialogue between stakeholders was identified as best practice to promote team learning, decrease misunderstandings and identify problems. Effective teamwork, role clarity and the leader’s ability to manage conflict were identified as key issues for collaboration. Further, the need for cost effective, secure and innovative technology was identified as issues related to best practices and sustainability in virtual campuses. Resistance to virtual work, language and culture are potential challenges faced by virtual teams to overcome through the formation of trust, effective teamwork, communication practices, technology utilization and leadership. Leaders need to adapt their behavior to ambiguous and complex situations as a way to improve leadership, rather than changing the situation to fit the leader (Mumford et al., 2000; Northouse, 2007). Existing literature recognizes leadership at the individual and team levels. For example, Katzenbach and Smith (2003) emphasize that the formal leadership role coexists with “shared leadership” of the team (p. 80). As global virtual teams continue to become a reality in organizations, effective virtual leadership is
  • 76. 57 required. Melcrum’s (2008) research findings report on how to create an effective work environment in large organizations with multiple resources. The problem that initiated this research was a need to understand perceptions of best practices from the team member. Team members actually follow the processes, policies, and use the available tools organizations put in place. There is a gap in the literature. For the purpose of this research project, the formal leadership role was studied, although leadership roles may be shared or emerge within the team. The review of the literature has shown that leadership, success factors and challenges in virtual teams have been studied. Still to be revealed are best practices in global virtual teams from the member’s perspective. The literature on best practices in virtual teams is scarce (Lurey, 2008; Scholz, 2003; Siino, 2007). The focus of this research project is on team member perceptions of leader best practices in global virtual teams. This area is reflected in the research questions in Chapter Three. These questions will be delineated in Chapter Three, along with the appropriate elements: (a) research design; (b) population and sampling procedures; (c) instrumentation; and (d) methodological assumptions and limitations.
  • 77. 58 CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY Introduction The purpose of this research was: (a) to identify the extent to which leader communication factors are perceived to be important factors to team effectiveness; and (b) to identify effective communication practices within global virtual teams. This exploratory study sought to understand how members of real global virtual teams perceive leader communications and how leadership inspires a willingness from participative members to be productive, engaged and motivated. The design, procedures and analysis methods used in this study are explained below. Chapter Three leads with a discussion on data collection and analysis methods, followed by population and sampling procedures. The researcher describes the: (a) target population and demographics; (b) selection procedures and criteria; and (c) the representativeness of the sample to broader populations. Instruments used in the study are described and validity and reliability issues are discussed. Chapter Three is organized under the following sections: (a) research design; (b) the population and sampling procedures; (c) instrumentation; (d) methodological assumptions and limitations; and (e) a summary. Research Design Qualitative grounded theory. Comparative analysis was used to generate theory in the substantive area of leader communication between groups of global virtual teams. Grounded theory can be used to generate substantive or formal theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). Substantive theory focuses on a general area of study and is grounded in the empirical literature. In contrast,
  • 78. 59 formal theory focuses on specific concepts within a broad area of study and may be generated from substantive theory. Glaser and Strauss state that “ . . . allowing substantive concepts and hypothesis to emerge first, on their own, enables the analyst to ascertain which, if any, existing formal theory may help him generate his substantive theories” (p. 34). Determining the focus of the grounded theory is important for guiding the research design for comparative analysis. For the purpose of this research, qualitative methods were used to generate categories. Qualitative methods were utilized to generate categories found in emergent categories and patterns from qualitative methods. Quantitative methods were used to maximize what was learned from the data that emerged. With regard to qualitative research, Glaser (1992) explains: Qualitative research and analysis give the intricate, most relevant and problematic details of the phenomenon which can be used to formulate the questionnaires of quantitative research. It is a basic research approach in a new area to do the qualitative research and analysis first in order to formulate the quantitative research so it will not force the data under study and will yield the empirical facts that test, verify and extend the qualitative hypothesis. (p. 12) Qualitative, ethnographic or naturalistic statistics are not descriptive statistics. Qualitative methods describe attributes or events. Qualitative research investigates attitudes and behaviors in a natural context without the restrictions of quantitative rules to arrive at conclusions. Qualitative research relies on subjective judgment to generate data (Isaac & Michael, 1997). Qualitative data are verbal descriptions of attributes and events that vary in the degree of validity, reliability and generality (Silverman, 1998). Descriptive statistics do not explain relationships, test hypotheses, or seek meaning through implications according to Isaac and Michael.
  • 79. 60 Quantitative grounded theory. According to Silverman (1998) and Dodge (2003), descriptive statistics describe an aspect, or attribute, of a set of quantitative data in a concise manner. Quantitative data are numerical descriptions of attributes or events of quantities or magnitudes (Silverman). The interpretation of descriptive statistics is not objective; rather interpretation is based on human judgment and perception. Conversely, descriptive statistics are not “drawing inferences or making predictions about the behavior of a population based on what was observed in a sample was unlike inferential statistics” (Dodge, p. 4). Further, “measurement is the assignment of numerals to attributes of (objects and) events according to rules” (Silverman p. 102). Silverman supports Isaac and Michael’s (1997) discussion about measurement. Qualitative methods use numbers in many ways. First, numbers have different meanings based on the rules assigned to the numeric symbols. Second numbers are assigned to attributes of objects and events that describe part of the object or event, not the whole event or attribute. Third, objects can be described as events on a molecular (microscopic level) and described through observation (macroscopic level). Fourth, the changes over time of objects can be considered as observable events. Rules can be assigned to numerals to describe attributes of events. For the purpose of this research, quantitative data was collected in order to discover and elaborate on the patterns and relationships that emerge in the data (Glaser, 1992). This researcher is mindful that the rules and rigor for verification applied to statistical analysis are not necessary for qualitative grounded theory secondary analysis (Giske & Artinian, 1992). Glaser and Straus (1967) emphasize that theoretical sampling is done to discover categories and their properties, and to suggest the interrelationships
  • 80. 61 into a theory. Statistical sampling is done to obtain accurate evidence on distributions of people among categories to be used in descriptions or verifications. The aim of theoretical sampling is not to prove any particular hypothesis, but to modify the research as new data emerges (Glaser, 2008). The grounded theory approach. McCallin (2003) defines grounded theory as “an interpretive research methodology that is useful to generate research-based knowledge about the behavioral patterns that shape social processes as people interact together in groups” (p. 203). Characteristics of the methodology include constant comparative analysis. Unlike qualitative or quantitative methods that describe findings, grounded theory seeks to discover new theories that emerge from systemic constant comparative analysis. Grounded theory is applied in real situations to explain events, actions or outcomes (Patton, 2002). The purpose of the study, research questions and pragmatic considerations influence design decisions. Theory building involves coding processes for data analysis: (a) basic description; (b) concept organization; (c) elucidation (i.e., clarification of categories); and (d) theorizing (Patton, 2002). New themes emerge as the data are collected and analyzed. Data collection and analysis are driven by the need to clarify or test the findings in a variety of situations or data sources. For this reason, Patton argues that grounded theory “is more than a set of findings, it offers an explanation to phenomena” (p. 487). Grounded theory requires the researcher to have analytic and conceptual skills. This study employed a mixed method research design with a grounded theory approach. Qualitative and quantitative methods were used for data collection,
  • 81. 62 organization and analysis. Patton (2002) emphasizes that “multiple methods of a variety of data types can contribute to methodological rigor” (p. 68). This grounded theory study used constant comparative analysis as a method for qualitative data analysis, in conjunction with statistical analysis as a method of elaborating emergent patterns (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). Patton (2002) states that “the strategy of inductive designs allow important analysis dimensions to emerge from patterns found in the cases under study without presupposing in advance what the important dimensions will be”(p. 56). Emergent patterns and themes were discovered using qualitative methods. Microanalytic techniques were used to code data line-by-line to generate initial categories, patterns, themes and relationships. Subsequently, axial coding was used to: (a) organize; and (b) suggest relationships between categories and subcategories in the data. After patterns or themes emerged from the qualitative data, quantitative methods were used as a comparative analysis tool. Understanding develops through perspective taking and discerning the thoughts, behaviors and feelings of others. The aim of this study was to identify the extent to which leader communication factors are perceived to be important factors to team effectiveness, and to explain effective communication practices within global virtual teams. Theoretical concepts from the grounded theory method were applied as an analytical framework. The literature was integrated at various points in the grounded theory process. The literature was used to show differences and similarities between the generated data and the existing literature (Glaser, 1992).
  • 82. 63 A grounded theory study of global virtual team members in the proposal development industry was conducted in order to answer the research questions. This qualitative and quantitative mixed method design hoped to identify the extent to which leadership communication factors are important to team effectiveness and to discover best practices from the member’s perspective in real global virtual teams. Sample Pool and Sampling Procedures This study focused on team member perceptions of effectiveness as an influence factor on performance. Participants in this study are affiliated with the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP). According to Dyer et al., (2007) in order to succeed, team members must have the skills, and they must have the motivation to succeed. APMP members have three levels of accreditation: (a) foundation; (b) practitioner; and (c) professional. According to Webb (2010), “to date, nearly half of APMP’s membership has some form of accreditation. The largest percentage, nearly 1,400 members, have received Practitioner Level, and of those approximately 2 percent have achieved Professional Level” (p. 4). Participants in the study have met performance standards required by the industry for accreditation or organizational requirements. Participants in this study have experience in multinational organizations in diverse markets and industries: (a) commercial; (b) civilian; (d) defense; (e) intelligence and; (f) state and local government; (g) information technology; (h) aerospace engineering; (i) healthcare; (j) consumer goods; and (k) professional services. In the proposal industry, technology, cultural and language factors are challenges that global virtual teams face. Collaborative tools and proposal software systems are used to support work processes. The use of proposal software contributes to fewer interactions
  • 83. 64 between all stakeholders. Stakeholders are defined as anyone with an interest, involvement or influence in the proposal. In addition to cultural and linguistic factors, technical jargon may be different across the world. This study focused on team members who have had experiences with a leader in geographically dispersed teams. Participants in the study met two criteria for virtuality: 1. use of computer mediated communication for work processes and social interaction with limited face to face interaction and 2. participants had the majority of experiences in geographically dispersed teams to complete work processes and were not co-located. Proposal teams in this study ranged in size between three and 15 team members. Proposal teams fulfill a variety of roles and functions and are comprised of members in the following roles: 1. proposal managers 2. proposal coordinators 3. capture managers 4. subject matter experts 5. solution architects 6. proposal writers and re-writers 7. pricing cost specialists 8. graphic designers 9. desktop publishers. and 10. oral presentation coaches.
  • 84. 65 Selection of participants. Participants in the study were selected from teams who were considered effective, according to the characteristics of high performing teams that are grounded in the empirical literature. The win-rate is considered to be a common performance based standard within the industry to differentiate effective from ineffective teams. According to Green (2010), effective proposal teams have win rates above 65%. The win rate is the percentage of successful attempts (i.e., new business acquired or proposals selected) within the proposal process out of the number of opportunities attempted. For example if 10 proposals were written and 7 were selected, the win rate is 70%. High performance teams are needed to win in a competitive landscape through the business acquisition cycle (i.e. marketing, business development, negotiations and awards). This study focused on the team member perceptions of team effectiveness. Win rate is a selection criterion for effective teams. Proposal teams experience constant change, deadlines and the need to solve complex problems with cost effective and efficient solutions (Rochon, 2010). Proposal teams are composed of multiple people with high levels of interdependence. While motivating team members to meet project goals is not a major challenge, inspiring members to fully embrace best practices to influence win rates is. Language barriers, stress, lack of resources, under trained staff and technology barriers are challenges proposal teams face. For the purpose of this study, participants were asked to share their leader- member experiences from the perspective of the manager as leader of a winning global virtual team. In this study, a winning team has three characteristics: (a) a win rate of 65% or higher; (b) engaged stakeholders; and (c) high productivity. Participants were asked to
  • 85. 66 share experiences on teams that met with three criteria for virtuality: (a) geographically dispersed teams that span time zone or geographic boundaries; (b) cultural and linguistic diversity; and (c) electronic dependence for communication and collaboration (Chudoba et al., 2005). This study included English speaking participants with at least one year of experience in the proposal industry. Participants were selected from the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) international membership in the following countries: Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States. Purposeful sampling was used to sample members of effective global virtual teams. Participants were identified from the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP). Organizational leaders were enlisted to identify teams who may offer insights about global virtual team member perceptions of leader communication practices. Federal and commercial teams were studied in the proposal industry. The Director of APMP Education and Professional Development was provided with a proposal to present to the International Executive Board. Board members were provided with information about the study and encouraged to recommend participants in global virtual teams. The International Board represents members from the United Kingdom, Unites States, China, and India. Sampling plan. This study used multiple types of data. Patton (2002) and McCallin (2003) acknowledge that emergent research designs require constant updates because the variables are unknown and the context is specific. T researcher developed sample interview questions and a general framework of the research for approval by the Argosy University Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to theoretical sampling.
  • 86. 67 Informed consent procedures. Participants were invited to participate in the study through e-mail (Appendix A) and with a follow-up phone call to confirm participation. The researcher enlisted the support of an organizational liaison to distribute the invitation and a letter of informed consent to potential participants. The letter of consent (Appendix D) explained the voluntary nature of the study. Participants responded via e-mail whether to accept or decline participation in the study. Participants completed the letter of informed consent and faxed or emailed the letter of consent with an electronic signature to confirm and document participation. Confidentiality procedures. Confidentiality was maintained through the use of coding procedures and the use of pseudonyms for interviewees. The Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) educational director was consulted about code of ethics and research considerations. Information received was integrated into all phases of the emergent design. The researcher disclosed the fact that the use of findings would be used for a dissertation and may contribute to the body of knowledge of the organization in journal or book form. The names of individuals and organizations were disguised in order to offer anonymity to participants. Data Collection Procedures Pilot testing. Prior to conducting interviews and administering surveys, questions were pilot tested on a group of individuals with similar characteristics as participants in the study. The pilot study used three individuals for interviews and survey components.
  • 87. 68 Interviews. In-depth interviews were conducted on 10 members of global virtual teams in order to collect data for qualitative analysis on research questions one. Using quantitative methods, 50 participants were surveyed to identify the extent to which the emergent themes generated in the interviews were important (Appendix B). All participants were asked to identify and describe best practices for leader communication in global virtual teams through open-ended questions. Five participants were selected from the surveys submitted for a follow-up interview to clarify data. Follow-up interview participants were selected based on the information richness of their response from the open-ended questions. The purpose of interviewing is to understand the perspective of others through their experiences and stories. According to Patton (2002), the interview guide “. . . helps make interviewing a number of different people more systemic and comprehensive by delimiting in advance the issues to be explored . . . it keeps the interactions focused while allowing individual perspectives and experiences to emerge” (p. 344). The interview strategy used in this study was adapted from LaFasto and Larson’s (1989) study on team effectiveness: A set of core questions was asked in every interview. These core questions involved critical incident questions, designed to get the interviewee to recall and describe specific features or characteristics of teams the interviewee had experienced. The core questions asked the individual member of an unusually effective functioning team: to describe the situation: and to identify those factors, in the opinion of the interviewee that accounted for this high level of effectiveness. Similarly, another set of core questions asked the individual to recall a specific point in time when he or she was a member of an unusually poorly functioning team: to describe the situation; and to identify those factors that accounted for this low level of effectiveness. . . After the initial questions had been asked, we pursued whatever avenues or insights emerged in the critical incident questions. (p. 24)
  • 88. 69 Interview procedures. The researcher used the following interview procedures: 1. Arrangements were made to send a web camera and any other pertinent materials to the participant 48 hours prior to the interviews. 2. Participants were sent an invitation to confirm the interview time and to place the event in their personal calendars using e-mail scheduling tools. Participants were sent a reminder notification 24 hours before the interview. 3. Participants were briefed about what to expect in the interview process, and were asked if there were any specific time limitations the researcher should be aware of. The following procedures were used: (a) establish the rapport with the participants; (b) discuss the rationale and significance of the study; (c) review confidentiality procedures; and (d) review participant rights. The researcher disclosed that the interviews would be audio recorded for capturing insights that may emerge from free flowing conversation. Participants were asked to type responses to questions using Skype software. Interview questions. The following procedures were used to interview participants in the study: 1. A standard set of critical incident questions, open-ended and appreciative inquiry questions were used with all participants (Appendix A). 2. Follow- up questions were used to clarify and verify information from interviews or surveys (Appendix D). 3. Interviews were audio recorded and participants used Skype to record responses for later transcription and analysis.
  • 89. 70 Summary statements. Interviews concluded with the following summary statements: 1. Participants were thanked for his or her time during the interview process 2. Participants were invited to share any additional information that may be useful to help the researcher understand the main concern or issues during the interview. Participants were also asked to e-mail any insights that emerged after the interview within 36 hours. Instrumentation Three instruments were used: (a) interview guide; (b) open-ended interview questions; and (c) responses to scaled items on a survey. The research questions and the methods that directed this study follow. Interview guide. The purpose of interviewing is to understand the perspective of others through their experiences and stories. According to Patton (2002), “the interview guide provides topics or subject areas within which the interviewer is free to explore, probe and ask questions that will elucidate and illuminate that particular subject” (p. 343). Qualitative in-depth interviews were used in this research study to identify leader communication factors participants perceive to be important for team effectiveness. An interview guide with open- and closed-ended questions was used. The one-on-one interviews were used to identify leader communication best practices for inspiring willingness in team members to be productive, engaged and motivated. An interview guide of questions (Appendix B) was developed for this study. Critical incident and appreciative inquiry questions were used.
  • 90. 71 LaFasto and Larson’s (1989) procedure and questions were adapted for the purpose of this study with regard to leader communication and best practices in global virtual teams. LaFasto and Larson used the following procedures: A set of core questions was asked in every interview. These core questions involved critical incident questions, designed to get the interviewee to recall and describe specific features or characteristics of teams the interviewee had experienced. The core questions asked the individual to recall a specific point in time when he or she was a member of a usually effective functioning team; to describe the situation; and to identify those factors, in the opinion of the interviewee, that accounted for his high level of effectiveness. Similarly, another set of s core questions asked the individual to recall a specific point in time when he or she was a member of an usually effective functioning team; to describe the situation; and to identify those factors that accounted for his low level of effectiveness. (p. 24) Interviews were conducted using computer mediated communication technologies and audio recording. Audio recording was used to capture the supra segmental aspects of language (i.e., tone, voice, pitch and contrastive stress) (Giske & Artnian, 2007). The interviews were conducted using Skype, a multimedia information technology tool, which allows audio and visual communication. Skype was used for three reasons. First, Skype is a synchronous videoconferencing tool that provides users with the opportunity for face-to-face and interaction and to share presence. The researcher was able to observe the context and participants’ paralinguistic features (i.e., nonverbal behavior, communication breakdown and repair and emotions). Observations of the context and participant’s nonverbal behavior may strengthen the credibility of findings (Patton, 2002). Second, Skype allows participants and the researcher to share computer screens in real time to view information that may be needed to further explain or demonstrate phenomena. Last, the instant messaging feature in Skype allows for responses to be typed by the participant. Direct quotes are raw data in qualitative research (Patton).
  • 91. 72 All participants were interviewed using the Skype communication tool. The interview was used to: (a) collect demographic information; (b) explore the use of global virtual teams within their organization; and (c) identify the degree of virtuality of the global virtual teams members participated in. The in-depth interviews addressed all of the research questions under study. All participants were asked to record responses in the instant messenger feature of the tool. After all the interviews were conducted, participants were re-interviewed with follow-on or clarification questions as themes, patterns and characteristics emerged from the data using the Skype tool. Content analysis of interviews provided information about actual communication devices and methods a leader uses to enact effective leadership from the member’s perspective. Participants were asked to provide examples of effective communication practices from leaders in open-ended questions on the survey. Open-ended questions. Patton (2002) states that the “the purpose of gathering responses to open-ended questions is to enable the researcher to understand and capture the points of view without predetermining those points of view through prior selection of questionnaire categories” (p. 21). Open-ended questions and appreciative inquiry interview methods were used to ask participants in their experience, to share best the practices that a leader should start, stop or continue doing. Participants were selected for follow-up interviews based on the depth of response, alternative patterns or unusual cases that emerged to help elucidate the data. Open-ended questions were used in the in-depth interviews and the survey. An interview guide was used to answer Research Question 3 for verification interviews. Follow-on questions were asked to clarify information or probe further for data. The data
  • 92. 73 were analyzed using qualitative methods for open coding. The following open-ended questions were adapted from LaFasto and Larson’s (1989) grounded theory study on effective teams: 1. What were the current strengths of the team? 2. If you could change one thing to help the team function more effectively, what would it be? 3. If you could discuss one issue in an open way, involving the total team in the discussion, what would it be? 4. What one norms or practice does the team accept that keeps the team functioning better? 5. What are the strengths of the team’s leadership? 6. What does the leader do that keeps the team from functioning more effectively? (p. 132) Responses to scaled items. Survey Monkey, an online survey tool, was used to survey participants. Survey questions were piloted on three participants to ensure they understood the questions. Feedback from participants in the pilot was used to modify the instrument to strengthen the measurement. Participants were asked to report their perceptions about the extent to which leader communication factors are important to team effectiveness (Appendix C). Rated scales were constructed based on emergent themes from the exploratory interviews. Riley et al. (2000) suggest the following survey design process: (a) identification of categories or topics; (b) piloting the survey; (c) analysis and feedback; (d) repiloting; (e) finalizing items; and (f) coding the survey for data analysis.
  • 93. 74 Instrumentation and research questions. Research Question 1. From a team member’s perspective, what are the skills, attributes, and characteristics that contribute to effective leadership communication in virtual team environments? To investigate Research Question 1, a standardized open-ended interview strategy was employed. Critical incident questions and open-ended questions were used collect data. The critical incident questions were adapted from LaFasto and Larson’s (1989) study. All of the interview questions were piloted prior to conducting the study. Research Question 2. To what extent do leader communication factors most influence members to be effective? To investigate Research Question 2, responses to scaled items were reported. Team members were asked to report perceptions about the extent to which leader communications contributes to team effectiveness. Responses to scaled items were recorded. Scaled items were based on theoretical sampling from the review of the literature in chapter two if this study. Research Question 3. What best tactics can leaders use to best influence effectiveness in the following: 1. inspire the willingness to be productive 2. boost morale 3. engage members 4. encourage participation and 5. utilizes collaboration tools and technology?
  • 94. 75 To investigate Research Question 3, appreciative inquiry methods were used to gain insight into successful best practices in the follow-on interviews. Appreciative inquiry is an unconditionally positive approach to transformational change and organizational development. Preskill and Catsambas (2006) define appreciative inquiry as “a group process that inquires into, identifies, and further develops the best of ‘what is’ in organizations to create a strength based future” (p. 1). Appreciative inquiry interviewing techniques engage and inspire participants to explore the best way to achieve objectives and prioritize problems. Participants were asked to recall best practices enacted in exceptional experiences with leaders. Participants were asked to share stories about their past best experiences and to imagine what is desired to foster team effectiveness. The two most common appreciative inquiry models follow a 4-step process. One model focuses on the following processes in the AI 4-I model: (a) inquiry; (b) imagine; (c) innovate; and (d) implement (Preskill & Catsambas, 2006). The 4-D model is composed of four similar processes: (a) discovery; (b) dream; (c) design and; (d) delivery (Fairbairn, 2005). In both models, stakeholders identify what is working and the barriers that limit success. Stakeholders are challenged to develop and implement strategic action plans. For the purpose of this study, the appreciative inquiry interviewing methods were used in the follow-on interviews. The ruse of appreciative interviewing methods is informed by previous research on best practices (Stansfield et al., 2009). Stansfield et al. evaluated the implementation and sustainability of e-learning best practices in European virtual campuses. Participants were selected based on experience and understanding best practices within virtual campuses. Researchers used appreciative inquiry methods to elicit
  • 95. 76 information from multiple stakeholders and interpret core issues relevant to best practices. Qualitative data collection methods were used to elicit information. In this study, individual interviews were conducted for the inquiry, imagine and innovation phases of the method. Implementation of the recommendations and best practices discovered were beyond the scope of this study. Research Question 3 sought to explain the best methods for leaders to foster team effectiveness. Validity and reliability. Validity and credibility are essential to any credible research. Determining the validity refers to whether instruments measure what was intended, whereas the reliability refers to the consistency and generalizability of the findings (Patton, 2002). In essence, the researcher utilized instruments that measured perceptions of the extent to which leader communication factors are important. Establishing validity and reliability are significant to the grounded theory methodology. The patterns and themes that emerge must be rigorously field tested for practical application. One common problem for the novice researchers is the development of explanations about phenomena without adequate comparative analysis processes. Grounded theory methods depend on consistency in the methods across a variety of data sources. Comparative methods are used to generate, verify and confirm the quality and credibility of the findings (Patton, 2002). As with any research, there are threats to the internal and external validity of the findings. The external validity is the extent to which findings are generalized. In grounded theory methods, the more practical implications increase, the more valid and reliable the findings are. Giske and Artinian (2007) have “pointed to the criterion of fit as
  • 96. 77 most important for evaluating validity and truth of the grounded theory” (p. 69). In this study, objectivity and openness were practiced in order to reduce the intrusion of bias. Through reflection and documentation of thoughts in field notes, theoretical sensitivity was practiced by using existing knowledge to recognize patterns and themes in the data (Patton, 2002). The reliability and validity of the findings were strengthened by acknowledging threats and offering ways to counteract potential harm to the study. According to Riley et al. (2000), “validity always comes down to a matter of judgment and the purpose of using external measures such as expected behavior, alternative tests, established facts, previous research findings to reinforce the judgment of validity” (p. 128). The reliability and validity of the findings were strengthened by acknowledging threats to internal and external validity and using techniques by reducing the effects of these threats. Reliability. There was an awareness to try to mitigate the effects of errors and bias through the following techniques: 1. The interview questions were be field tested or piloted to ensure they were interpreted the same way by different people. 2. After the in-depth interviews were completed, a second follow-up interview was conducted to confirm accuracy of responses, no misinterpretations, and to clarify any unclear responses. 3. A prewritten interview guide with a set of core questions was used. 4. Triangulation methods, including multiple data sources and methods were used.
  • 97. 78 5. Participant and researcher bias were mitigated by acknowledging the potential for bias. It was recognized that the experiences of the researcher could affect the analysis and interpretation of data through these affiliations: (a) virtual team leader and member roles; and (b) Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP). To reduce the potential for bias, reflexivity was practiced. Methodological assumptions and limitations. There was an assumption that time management, organizational skills and active listening would be essential for conducting interviews. The conferencing feature was used to mute and ensure the participant was not interrupted during the interview. There was an assumption that all participants wanted to provide helpful information. In this regard, the information provided in the interviews and survey may not have been completely truthful. Participants in the study fulfilled leadership and member roles. Active listening was used to hear any information the participants wanted to share in an effort to fully understand the experiences and perspectives presented. Critical incident questions were asked to allow the participant to contextualize the information presented. There was also the assumption that there would be uncertainty about the next steps to pursue in the process. The concepts were applied supported by grounded theory methods for discovery processes, fit, work, relevance and modifiability (Giske & Artinian, 2007; McCallin, 2003; Patton, 2002). Giske and Artinian argue that “in analyzing data, it is important that categories not be forced or selected out of preconceived understandings of phenomena studied” (p. 69). Findings in the study were compared to existing literature in order to analyze fit.
  • 98. 79 Grounded theory methodology presents four assumptions, according to McCallin (2003): 1. There is flexibility in conducting the research and few boundaries. 2. Theory generation is the aim of grounded theory. 3. The researcher needs to refrain from perusing an agenda. The researcher needs to be open minded, and self aware of researcher and participant bias. The researcher will engage in reflective actions during data collection and analysis. 4. Data collection and analysis are concurrent. Patton (2002) identified three limitations to using open-ended responses that were relevant to this study: (a) writing skills of the respondents; (b) fewer opportunities to probe responses; and (c) effort required for the participants. The educational level of the participants offset limitations of inadequate written communication skills. Further, written communication is an essential part of the scope of work within the industry from which participants were selected. However, language barriers and the use of technical jargon were factors that could limit the interpretation and analysis of data. Participants were asked to clarify unclear responses. The use of written responses and post interview review questions helped mitigate the risk of cultural and language limiting factors. In-depth interviews and post interview review questions also decreased the limitations for the researcher to probe responses. Questions were pilot tested to gain feedback about the amount of effort required for participants. Additionally, participants received clear disclosure through informed consent about the time and effort required for participation in the study. There was an
  • 99. 80 acknowledgement that response rates may be low due to the challenges participants face in their industry. Sensitivity to the amount of effort and time required to participate was observed. Timers were used during the interview audio and visual to adhere to schedules. Data Analysis Procedures Qualitative data analysis. The data were analyzed using constant comparative methods. During the interviews, the researcher collected field notes on important information that warranted later attention. Following each interview, the researcher asked participants to rate the extent to which they perceive leadership communication factors to be important to team effectiveness and best practices in global virtual teams. The patterns and emergent themes from previous interviews were compared. Alternative explanations and contextual factors that may have contributed to differences in the patterns observed were documented. The seven stages outlined by Riley et al. (2000) were used to study the importance of leader communication and best practices of successful global virtual teams: 1. familiarization 2. reflection 3. conceptualization 4. cataloguing concepts 5. recoding 6. linking, and 7. re-evaluation. (p. 106)
  • 100. 81 Generation of themes. Phase I of this study sought to identify characteristics of effective leader communication factors for global virtual teams. The data were analyzed using qualitative methods for open coding, axial coding and selective coding from field notes (Giske & Artinian, 2007). During the open coding process, memos, questions, or ideas were recorded. Each field note was dated and given a heading to sort and organize the data. Next, the main issues, concerns and core categories were identified after each interview. As the interviews continued, categories, subcategories and concepts emerged and were validated concurrently. The researcher used NVivo 9 (2010) software for the selective coding process. Trainings were attended and technical support was received for 10 days prior to using the tool. NVivo software is a qualitative data analysis tool for sorting, arranging and classifying data. Giske and Artinian used NVivo 2.0 software in a grounded theory study. The researchers found the coding reports generated by the software assisted comparative analysis and the identification of emergent themes. Verification of emergent patterns. Phase II sought to identify the extent to which leader communication factors that emerged from Phase I were important to team effectiveness. Participants were asked to record responses on a 5-point scale of importance (1 = least important, 5 = most important). The interval data were analyzed using quantitative methods. Responses across all participants were compared. Participants were probed with follow-on questions as themes and patterns emerged.
  • 101. 82 Confirmation of emergent themes and patterns. Theoretical sampling and saturation techniques were used to clarify and verify information. Concept mapping (Patton, 2002) was used as a tool for theoretical sampling (Giske & Artinian, 2007). Relationships between categories and core concepts in the data were identified. Microsoft Windows 2007 graphic organizational tools for conceptual mapping was used. In addition to interview responses, survey data were analyzed using similar sampling techniques, saturation and conceptual mapping methods. Responses to scaled items on a survey were compared with information obtained from interviews. Field notes were transcribed during and following the interviews. Quantitative data analysis. In grounded theory methods, data collection and analysis are concurrent. While the variables are unknown, due to the exploratory nature of the study, coding procedures were applied to the range of possibilities for analysis (i.e., gender, age, industry, win rate and nationality).The numbers used in the codes began with zero and followed a sequence. Codes were entered into the SPSS statistical software for analysis. The codes corresponded to question numbers, variables and descriptions of the variables. Leadership communication factors and best practices were ranked in order of importance. The nature of the data was ordinal. The following statistical techniques were considered for use to analyze the data (Weaver, 2005): 1. The t-Test was used to compare two means or averages. 2. The Pearson’s r correlation was used to compare the relationship between pairs of data on two variables
  • 102. 83 Summary Chapter Three outlined the plan for conducting the research in this study. The design, procedures and analysis methods used in this study was explained. The chapter led with a discussion on data collection and analysis methods followed by population and sampling procedures. The following has been described: (a) target population and demographics; (b) selection procedures and criteria; and (c) the representativeness of the sample to broader populations. Instruments used in the study were described and validity and reliability issues were discussed. Chapter Three was organized under the following sections: (a) research design; (b) the population and sampling procedures; (c) instrumentation; (d) methodological assumptions and limitations; and (e) a summary. Chapters Four and Five present the findings of the research, conclusions drawn, and implications for further study.
  • 103. 84 CHAPTER FOUR: FINDINGS Introduction The purpose of this research project was to: (a) identify the extent to which leader communication factors are perceived to be important factors to team effectiveness; and (b) identify effective communication practices within global virtual teams. This study investigated how members of global virtual teams perceive leader communications and how leadership inspires a willingness from participative members to be productive, engaged and motivated. Chapter Four is presented in the following sections: (a) research questions; (b) methodology; (c) participant demographics; (d) qualitative interview findings; (e) emergent themes; (f) quantitative demographic data; (g) quantitative findings; and (h) a summary. Research Results The first section of the results report the qualitative findings and emergent themes generated from in-depth interviews to Research Questions 1 and 3 (identified below). The second section presents quantitative findings from survey data based on emergent themes. To investigate characteristics that contribute to effective leadership communication in virtual team environments from a team member’s perspective, 10 interview questions were asked. Questions 1 and 2 examined the characteristics of effective virtual teams and team leaders. The remaining eight questions examined leadership communication and virtual team leader best practices.
  • 104. 85 Research Question 1. From a team member’s perspective, what are the skills, attributes and characteristics that contribute to effective leadership communication in virtual team environments? To investigate Research Question 1, a standardized open-ended interview strategy was employed. Critical incident questions and open-ended questions were used to collect data. The critical incident questions were adapted from LaFasto and Larson’s (1989) study. All of the interview questions were piloted prior to conducting the study. Research Question 2. To what extent do leader communication factors most influence members to be effective virtual team leaders? To investigate Research Question 2, responses to scaled items (see Appendix C) were reported. Team members were asked to report perceptions about the extent to which leader communications contributes to team effectiveness. Responses to scaled items were collected in an online survey over a period of three weeks and analyzed using SPSS software. Scaled items were based on two perspectives derived from the literature on team leadership: (a) leadership brought to the team by an individual; and (b) leadership that emerged from the team (Day, Gronn, & Salas, 2004). In the first perspective, research suggests that a team leader’s ability to transfer knowledge and to stimulate creativity and facilitate team learning are key determinants of effectiveness in virtual and global teams (Lipnack & Stamps, 1997; Daft, 2008). Hackman (2002) challenges the concept that a leader’s actions have an effect on the performance of the team. Instead, Hackman’s view is that:
  • 105. 86 the main responsibility of leaders as creating and maintaining the five conditions that increase the chances that a team will, over time, become increasingly effective in carrying out its work. The five conditions that need to be created and maintained are: (1) is a real team rather than a team in name only; (2) has a compelling direction for its work, (3) has an enabling structure that facilitates rather than impedes teamwork, (4) operates within a supportive organizational context, and (5) has available ample expert coaching in teamwork. (Hackman, p. 31) Dyer et al.’s (2007) Four C Model (context, composition, competencies and change management) of teams’ effectiveness supports Hackman’s (2002) belief that the design and support provided to teams are as important as the attributes and behaviors of individual leaders. These perspectives are important because the focus of this research was on team leader practices that impact performance over time rather than behavioral style alone in global virtual teams. The following “influence factors” of effective teams were used to investigate the research questions: 1. virtual team leadership, 2. technology 3. collaboration 4. cultural differences 5. team communication 6. trust 7. teamwork 8. interpersonal relationships 9. best practices, and 10. challenges teams face.
  • 106. 87 Research Question 3. What best ways can leaders employ to influence effectiveness in the following: 1. inspire the willingness to be productive; 2. boost morale; 3. engage members; 4. encourage participation; and 5. utilize collaboration tools and technology ? To investigate Research Question 3, appreciative inquiry methods were used to investigate successful best practices. Participants were asked to recall best practices observed during exceptional experiences with leaders. Participants were also asked to share stories about their past best experiences and to imagine what leadership behaviors are desired to foster team effectiveness. No additional follow-on interviews were conducted after the survey. Research Question 3 sought to explain the best methods for leaders to foster team effectiveness. Methodology Grounded theory methods and descriptive statistics were employed to collect data. This study was a qualitative and quantitative mixed method study designed to identify the extent to which leadership communication factors are important to team effectiveness and to discover best practices from the member’s perspective in real global virtual teams. The methodology was employed in two phases to increase the richness of data for comparison and later analysis. In Phase I, quantitative data were collected to identify patterns and relationships that emerged from research questions one and three (Glaser, 1992). Phase I involved in-
  • 107. 88 depth qualitative interviews designed to identify leader communication factors that participants perceived to be important for team effectiveness. Critical incident, open- ended and appreciative inquiry questions were used. LaFasto and Larson’s (1989) procedure and questions were adapted to examine leader communication and best practices in global virtual teams. Theoretical sampling was conducted to identify categories and emergent themes using verbatim transcriptions in Phase I. Transcribed data were later coded and posted in the NVIVO 9 software. Four hundred and fifty two codes were generated. Nine themes, to be discussed later in this chapter, emerged through the data analysis from Phase I. Phase II involved data collection through Survey Monkey, an online survey tool disseminated via e-mail, APMP websites, and social media, and through purposeful sampling techniques. The target number of participants expected to participate in the survey was 100. Fewer people participated than expected (n=68). Demographic data and responses to 15 scaled questions were related to the emergent themes in Phase I. All participants were asked to identify and describe best practices for leader communication in global virtual teams through critical incident, open-ended and appreciative inquiry questions. Participant selection. This study focused on team member perceptions of leader effectiveness as an influence factor on performance. Participants in this study were affiliated with the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP). As such, participants in the study met performance standards required by the industry for accreditation or organizational requirements. Participants in this study have experiences in multinational
  • 108. 89 organizations in diverse markets and industries and in commercial and government sectors. Participant demographics. Qualitative interview participants. Ten participants in the study were selected from teams that were considered effective, according to the characteristics of high performing teams described in Chapter Two’s literature review. This study focused on the team member perceptions of team effectiveness. The characteristics used to determine effectiveness were based on leadership effectiveness, leadership communication, and virtual team effectiveness literature (Hertel, Geister, & Konradt, 2005). Dyer et al.’s (2007) Four C model for high performing teams was used to identify determinants of effectiveness related to four factors: (a) context; (b) composition; (c) composition; and (d) change. According to Dyer et al.: High performing teams are those with members whose skills, attitudes, and competencies enable them to achieve team goals. In high-performing teams, team members set goals, make decisions, communicate, manage conflict, and solve problems in a supportive, trusting atmosphere in order to accomplish their objectives. (p. 42). The Four C model was used to describe characteristics of global virtual teams in this study. Characteristics of Effective Global Virtual Teams Purposeful sampling was used to sample members of effective teams. Team members were identified from the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP). Organizational leaders were enlisted to identify teams who could
  • 109. 90 offer insights about global virtual team member perceptions of leader communication practices. Federal and commercial teams were studied in the proposal industry. Context. The need for teamwork in the proposal development industry is driven by the need for organizations to compete for and win opportunities to provide products and services to global markets. Organizations that utilize proposal teams need fast, efficient and cost-effective solutions in order to acquire new business. A proposal is a written document based on pre-determined selection criteria by the organization that needs a product or service. Proposals are composed of several components that explain and persuade organizations to select the offering organization. The function of proposal teams is valuable for senior leaders and stakeholders in organizations. The role of proposal teams in organizations becomes more and more critical as economic resources become scarce. Globally, governments and businesses utilize contracted services for: (a) development and maintenance of infrastructure; (b) peace keeping missions; (d) natural disaster relief; and (e) healthcare services and education. Globally, organizations are seeking to penetrate markets. More organizations are competing for fewer chances to offer products and services. Rochon (2010) underscores the importance of task and relationship skills within the proposal process. Rochon states that “underlying needs represent the customer’s superficial, yet explicit expectations for the project. These may include stakeholder satisfaction, task prioritization and corresponding cost allocations, desired level of service or preferences for a specific technologies” (p. 53).
  • 110. 91 Communication is an essential skill for proposal managers. The nature of the work requires technical writing, oral presentation skills and interpersonal effectiveness. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) recognized oral presentations as a cost saving way to deliver information about the technical, management, past performance history and capabilities to meet the requirements in the proposal. The ability to win contracts relies on the ability to present written and oral information with power and clarity. Effective communications is essential for proposal managers to convey highly technical information with credibility, confidence and persuasion. Developing, delivering and sustaining the message in oral presentations involves an awareness in nonverbal communications, in addition to presentation skills. Proposal managers need to properly manage risks for time, design, and quality. Failure, to engage all stakeholders increases the risk for failure. Poor leader communications may lead to bidding on the wrong type of opportunities, unclear processes or poorly written documents that do not adjust to the client’s needs, decrease win-rates and waste time. The win-rate is considered to be a common performance based standard within the industry that differentiates between teams that are effective from teams that are ineffective. According to Green (2010), effective proposal teams have win rates above 65%. The win rate is the percentage of successful attempts (i.e., new business acquired or proposals selected) within the proposal process out of the number of opportunities attempted. High performance teams are needed to win in a competitive landscape through the business acquisition cycle (i.e. marketing, business development, negotiations and awards).
  • 111. 92 This study focused on team member perceptions of team effectiveness. Participants in this study had experiences in multinational organizations in diverse markets and industries. Participants in the study had experiences in the following markets: (a) commercial; (b) civilian; (d) defense; (e) intelligence; (f) and state and local government. Industries that participants have experience in are information technology, aerospace engineering, healthcare, consumer goods, and professional services. In the proposal industry, technology, cultural and language factors are challenges that proposal professionals face. Collaborative tools and proposal software systems are used to support work processes. Collaborative tools are information and communication technology systems, platforms or applications that allow teams to share, store and manage data. The use of proposal software contributes to fewer interactions between all stakeholders. Stakeholders are defined as anyone with an interest, involvement or influence in the proposal. In addition to cultural and linguistic factors, technical jargon may be different across the world. This study focused on team members who had experiences with a leader in geographically dispersed teams. Participants in the study met two criteria for virtuality: 1. use of computer mediated communication for work processes and social interaction with limited face to face interaction; and 2. participants had the majority of experiences in geographically dispersed teams to complete work processes and were not co-located.
  • 112. 93 Composition. Participants in the study belonged to proposal teams that ranged between 3 to15 team members. Proposal team members fulfilled a variety of roles and functions. Proposal participants contributed to their teams in the following roles: 1. proposal managers 2. proposal coordinators 3. bid managers 4. solution architects 5. proposal writers and re-writers Competencies. Participants in this study were affiliated with the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP). According to Dyer et al. 2007), “for a team to succeed, team members must have the skills and experience to accomplish the task, and they must have the motivation to succeed. APMP members have three levels of accreditation: (a) foundation; (b) practitioner; and (c) professional. According to Webb (2010), “to date, nearly half of APMP’s members have some form of accreditation. The largest percentage, nearly 1,400 members, have received Practitioner Level, and of those approximately two percent have achieved Professional Level” (p. 4). Participants in the study met performance standards required by the industry for accreditation or organizational requirements. Participants in this study have a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of one year experience as a team member.
  • 113. 94 Change. Proposal teams experience constant change, deadlines and the need to solve complex problems with cost effective and efficient solutions. These teams are composed of multiple people with high levels of interdependence. While motivating team members to meet project goals is not a major challenge, the ability to inspire members to fully embrace best practice in order to influence win rates is a definite challenge. Language barriers, stress, lack of resources, under trained staff and technology barriers are challenges proposal teams face. The key challenge for proposal managers is to inspire the team to win, rather than just to complete the process and meet deadlines. The proposal profession is a job creation field and helps organizations compete for the opportunity to provide a product or a service to clients. Proposal teams write documents for commercial or federal organizations. Proposals are used to bid on lucrative contracts for multiyear work. Proposal teams are essential to successful global industry. Managers lead these critically important teams. Proposal managers are responsible for managing people and processes through the proposal process. They need both task and relationship competencies to manage and sustain effective winning teams. The role of the proposal manager is a key leadership role within most proposal teams. For the purpose of this study, participants were asked to frame their leader-member experiences from the perspective of the proposal manager as leader. Participants work in teams that are blended with virtual and co-located members (n=3). Seven out of 10 of the participants teamed across time zones and geography. The distance between team members ranged between 30 minutes (n=1) to teaming across
  • 114. 95 several continents (n=7). Participants were from telecommunications (n=3), education and software (n=1), defense (n=1), the environment (n=1) and commercial business industries (n=3). Table 1 depicts participant profiles related to the following information: (a) gender; (b) sector, (c) education level, (d) proposal experience, and the region of the world participant’s work. Fictitious names were used to conceal the identities of participants. Table 1 Participant Demographics (n=10) Name Gender Sector Highest Education Proposal Experience Region of the World Val Male G MA/FL 20-30 US Josh Male G BA/FL 5-10 US Murphy Male C,G BA 1-5 Australia Garrett Female C *BA 10-20 Ireland Aubrey Female C BA 1-5 Canada Chloe Female C,G BA/PL 5-10 US Nicole Female C,G BA/FL 10-20 US Regina Female C,G BA 10-20 US Ursula Female C,G BA 10-20 Canada Zara Female C,G BA 10-20 Australia Notes:C=CommercialIndustry;G=Government,BA=BachelorsDegree;*BA=Economicsand FinanceBAEquivalentDegreeMA=MastersDegree;FL=FoundationLevelAccreditation; PL=ProfessionalLevelAccreditationandUS=UnitedStates Figure 1 shows that eight out of 10 participants had at least 10 years of proposal industry experience. There were six female and four male participants. Three out of 10
  • 115. 96 participants have foundation level professional accreditation. One participant with five to 10 years of professional experience had professional level accreditation. All four accredited members were located in the United States. Nine out of 10 participants have bachelor’s degrees. The member with the most years of professional experience (20-30 years) had a master’s degree. Five out of 10 participants had 10-20 years of professional experience, while two participants had between one to five years of professional experience. Figure 1 Participant Years of Proposal Experience Participants used multiple channels of communication. Table 2 displays the most widely used methods of communication. The least used communication tools were fax, social media and video conferencing; one out of 10 respondents reported using faxes. Social media and web conferencing tools were reported by two out of 10 respondents respectively. All 10 participants used collaborative proposal tools, email and voice mail to accomplish work objectives and connect with team members. Five out of 10 respondents reported using instant message functions. Seven out of 10 respondents reported using web conferencing tools that include telephone bridge lines, meeting transcription, screen sharing and question and answer features. Eight out of 10
  • 116. 97 respondents reported using intranet frequently to manage content, share information and collaborate during the proposal writing process. Table 2 Participant Use of Communication Technology (n=10) Communication Technology Tool Number of Participants Fax 1 Social Media 2 Video Conference 2 Instant Message 5 Web Conference Tools 7 Intranet 8 Collaborative Proposal Tools 10 Voice Mail 10 Email 10 Note. Web Conference Tools (WebEx, Live Meeting and Teleconference Bridge); Collaborative Proposal Tools (Share point, Privia, Content Management Systems, Operation Level Agreements & Service Level Agreements) Qualitative Interview Findings The first section of the results report the qualitative findings and emergent themes generated from in-depth interviews. The second section of the results present quantitative
  • 117. 98 findings collected from survey data. Responses to the ten interview questions are presented followed by a summary of the nine emergent themes. Research Question 1. Can you tell me what it was like to be a member of the effective proposal development team? Please describe the situation. The responses to this critical incident question varied across all participants. The results displayed in Table 3 show the responses that each respondent reported and the number of times a code was referenced within the interview. Research Question 1 generated 35 responses reported by at least one person per response code. On average, each participant reported at least 3.5 responses to question one. The number of references in the interview text provided information about the extent to which a response was important to the respondent. Table 3 also shows responses related to leadership behaviors, characteristics of the team environment and feelings and emotions recalled from past positive team experiences. Communication roles and practices were reported across all respondents (n=10). Table 3 Question 1 Individual Response (n=35) Response Codes Number of References in Text (n=54) Adaptation 5 Adheres to schedule 1 Competence 1 Controlled Atmosphere 1 Effective email communication 1
  • 118. 99 Response Codes Number of References in Text (n=54) Feel like winners 3 Feel like you are meeting goals 2 Feel productive 1 Honesty 1 Humor 2 Leaders are mindful of needs 1 Leaders are prepared 2 Leaders are prepared to deal with problems 1 Leaders develop draft plans and requirements 1 Leaders display initiative 1 Leaders help struggling members 1 Leaders seek multiple sources of data 3 Leaders solicit feedback 1 Leaders solicit feedback 1 Leaders use rich communication 1 Manage co-located and virtual members 1 Processes and communication 7 Reduced stress 2 Respect is a core value 1 Significance of the opportunity 3
  • 119. 100 Response Codes Number of References in Text (n=54) Support struggling members 1 Task focused environment 2 Team Diversity 1 Value all contributions 1 Felt empowered 2 Felt fulfilling 1 Leader are engaged 2 Leaders set ground rules and goals 1 Openness 2 Team Selection 1 Note: Codes displayed reflect single mentions by participants in response. Table 3 shows that processes and communication (7) and adaptation (5), were reported as the most important responses. Responses that generated three references in the text each were: (a) feel like winners; (b) leaders seek multiple sources of data; and (c) the significance of the opportunity. Responses that were reported in the text only once could be separated into values, characteristics of leadership, discursive practices, tasks and relationship behaviors. Honesty, respect, openness and competence were reported as important. Humor and soliciting feedback were reported as important discursive practices. Eleven task behaviors were reported include adhering to schedule, leaders developing draft plans, and leaders setting ground rules. Six relationship behaviors were reported, including leaders are mindful of needs, leaders value diversity, felt empowered, and support struggling members.
  • 120. 101 Meeting facilitation skills and practices, frequency of communication, use of e- mail and the richness of communication are shown in Tables 4 and 5 as important communication factors. The following emergent themes are discussed in this section: (a) the environment; (b) leadership practices; (c) role clarity; (d) synergy; (e) leveraging technology; (f) communication; (g) empowerment; and (h) trust. Table 4 displays responses that were reported by at least two of seven respondents. The number of responses provides information about the extent to which the responses were important. Competitive was reported as the highest code (5), while rapport between members followed insignificance (4). Respondents believed that effective leaders create a safe environment and possess a problem solving orientation (3 each). Fully committed members, accountability, and leaders clearly defined roles were least reported (2 each). Table 4 Question 1 Responses with Joint Agreement (n=7) Response Codes Number of References in Text (n=22) Competitive 5 Create a Safe Environment 3 Fully committed members 2 Problem solving orientation 3 Rapport between members 4 Accountability 2 Leaders clearly define roles 2
  • 121. 102 Environment. Respondents expressed that the environment in an effective team feels productive and progressive. Transparency is established by the leader and is manifested in the working environment. Two male and four female respondents commented on the general work environment of the team as important characteristics in effective teams. Codes were generated from responses that focused on the significance of the environment. Overall, effective global virtual teams are described as focused, friendly and flexible. One male participant stated that: The atmosphere is generally controlled but it’s collegiate at the same time. It’s not super rigid, but at the same time it’s not like they used to portray Microsoft as being virtually unbounded. And so, everybody knows what they’re there for and they know that they’re expected to do some things. And they expect to be treated with respect at the same time. Aubrey describes what it was like to be a member of an effective team when she states that: I guess just being on a team like that, you feel like you're meeting your goals, you're meeting your objectives, it's--you feel like the progress, you don't feel like you're being stressed because everything is moving within the schedule. So, it's-- on a high performance team, even though there's a lot of expectations, it's a bit more relaxed than the team that's struggling with some of its members. A male respondent (Val) centered on the morale and spirit of the members who contribute to a competitive environment that establishes confidence: Well, what I’ve found, whether you’re leading it or whether you’re on it, it’s always tends to be a similar situation with certain amounts of variation. And there’s a lot of similarity whether it’s hardware systems or whether it’s services. First off the team has a self-perception of competence, both for themselves individually and for team overall. The next thing, they don’t feel like losers at all, they feel like winners. And not necessarily in a pushy or boastful way, but they just feel like they’re good. For the specific competition they feel that they are competitive, that they can win the thing or even that there’s a very good chance that they will win it.
  • 122. 103 They don’t feel like they’re just going through the motions or they’re--can do no better than coming close or something like that. They feel like they can win it. They have general confidence in the people that are leading the effort, the volume leaders, volume captains and the prop leaders and the proposal leaders, they earn it on a continuing basis. And in the best team I was in it was like being Phil Jackson running the--having the Bulls run through their routines on one of the other NBA teams. So, that’s how it feels when you’ve got a good proposal team working. And you feel like you’re going to win. You just know you’re going to win. Leadership practices. Leadership practices and behavior were important to team effectiveness. One female respondent in a consulting team works in a virtual team environment 90% of the time on internal and external proposals and professional organization projects. The female respondent (Chloe) stated that the leader of her company “. . . has become extremely effective at managing us virtually and as a result, he sort of flows down a lot of his practices to the way that we manage our proposals with our clients such that we can be virtual.” A male respondent pointed out specific leadership practices that are important to effective global virtual teams: The proposal manager and the people that are managing parts of it for him are ahead of the game. They are attuned to wherever information is coming from. They have the marketing guys feeding them updates. They do their planning early. They’ve got--if they don’t have a draft RFP they make up their own straw man requirements and they come up with the draft configurations if it’s an engineering project, and nominal plans to implement and all that sort of thing--- Before they’re required to have them. So, that they don’t have to go to the nth degree of detail because of the expense, but they have to have sorted it out and at least in their mind, if not on paper, they need to know what they’re going to go with when the actual RFP comes out. Role clarity and establishment of leadership. Respondents indicated that essential elements of effective teams are having clear roles, objectives and leadership. According to respondents (n=3), proposal development
  • 123. 104 involves leadership from different levels throughout the engagement. Effective global virtual team experiences required a clear sense of who is leading and what the objectives are for members. Participant responses follow: Val: There’s no fight over who is in charge. It’s shared between the capture manager, the proposal manager, the program manager. Each knows what their individual part is. And while they can have disagreements they get it sorted out like adults and not like children. When it’s well before the RFP marketing leads, with the program manager and engineering supporting them, then as the RFP approaches they do a transition. It winds up with a proposal manager in charge of the proposal, a capture manager in charge of the overall response and the program manager providing primarily budget estimation stuff for the proposal manager. You always see that, you always have something like that regardless, if it’s a good team. You could be a bit more formal, a bit less formal, but people know who’s in charge, they know who to look to and everybody knows that they have a part to play. Another male respondent further explained why team synergy is important to overcome some of the challenges global virtual teams face and how it can be achieved through establishing role clarity establishing leadership: Particularly in international teams, one of the challenges that face international teams is people have different cultures and different territories in the sense that they're feeling their way around how they want to do things and possibly trying to see--look who's--first question I guess is who's boss here. So, if they have--if they understand roles and responsibilities and also know that the environment that the leader provides is a safe environment where they can grow and mutually share without being slapped down or discouraged or stood upon, then I find that makes for better performance. Two respondents reported that role clarity was important. A female Australian respondent reported that: . . . the manager clearly defined the roles that we each had. So, I knew exactly what I needed to achieve throughout the tender phase and leading up to the deadline. I knew what I had to achieve.
  • 124. 105 Synergy. Team bonding and establishing rapport between members are important practices in effective teaming experiences. Respondents (n=4) suggested that, in global virtual team environment, those opportunities to get together and bond make a difference in the overall experience. Respondents indicated that both formal and novel experiences and interactions help to gel the team and really contribute to the overall satisfaction with the teaming experience. One female respondent admits that in virtual environments: you’re always going to be missing that one element of the personal touch. I think virtual teams are very strong and can be very cohesive, but I still think that nothing compares to the hands-on face-to-face meetings. Similarly, a female respondent indicated that the positive team experience created a sense of fulfillment when team members get along very well. Zara stated that: our characters would seamlessly move through challenging roles within the tender phase. And there wasn’t a lot of disputes. A male respondent (Garrett) felt that an essential characteristic of effective global virtual teams was team synergy. Team synergy was described as members working together in partnership and building on their mutual strengths. The respondent stated that: I guess one of the key elements is having the right people with the right skills and the right attitudes and then bringing that together in communication and particularly in synergy, establishing synergy amongst the team is in my view critical. So, some managers might be looking for sort of adversarial relationships where people spark off each other and competition breeds improvement. Team synergy can be achieved by establishing rapport to use informal communication as reported by three of six respondents. Two female respondents indicated the importance of informal discussions and “chit chat” before the start of formal meetings. Providing opportunities for team members to get to know personal information
  • 125. 106 about each other helps to establish a sense of team. The significance of synergy to address several common issues in global virtual team efforts in Indian, German and French members in effective team experiences was described: I would be looking for a kind of a harmony with--amongst team members, no matter what nationality they're coming from, mutual recognition of strengths and weaknesses, some humor, that helps, and honesty and just the ability to stay focused on the task, be mindful of the needs of the people that are involved on the team from different cultures or different nationalities, but remaining focused on the task so that people can do a professional job and know that a professional job will be rewarded and that where people are struggling, they'll be helped and in a way to sort of try and improve their performance without actually necessarily turning into either a confrontation or a negative sort of criticism. So, that would be my feelings for--around an effective proposal team in an international context. Regina So, the situation was there were probably--I think there were like 12 of us on the team. And we all--I think only two of us maybe were in one--only two of us I think were co-located and then the rest of--everybody else was either work at home folks or work at a remote location or a client site. I think that when it worked well it was good. It was--we had, we really built like some kind of camaraderie, right? So, when we would get on status calls, as people would chime in it was kind of, oh hey, how’s the weather in Maine today, how’s the weather in Virginia today? Just kind of like chit chat. And then, start up with like the business thing. So, it was almost as if--I would say it almost, as the team moved forward it became as comfortable as if you were sitting in a conference room with somebody. Just kind of doing that regular everyone’s getting their coffee, people are kind of settling in and checking in with each other, and then start with the agenda kind of thing. Ursula I've worked on virtual teams and it could be--it would--I would say the equivalent would be the long working teleconference sessions where you're using a tool like Live Meeting to see someone actually working in the document. The only difference is that, afterwards, there's not that same level of bonding. You tend to move on more quickly and not recall as much about that person or feel as inclined to contact them afterwards because it was virtual. You don't know what they look like. You haven't shared donuts together or whatnot. Table 5 shows responses that at least three respondents reported out of 10 possible sources. The numbers of references in the interview text related to responses are
  • 126. 107 presented. Synergy was reported by the highest number of sources as important (4) and referenced in the interview text five times. Leaders utilize technology, leadership structure visible and regularly scheduled meetings were reported by three sources each. The leader’s use of technology and facilitating regularly scheduled meetings were referenced in the text four times each. The visible leadership structure (the clear sense of who is in charge) was referenced in the interview text as many times as the top code synergy (5). Table 5 Question 1 High Frequency Responses Response Codes Number of Sources (n=10) Number of References in text Leaders utilize technology 3 4 Leadership structure visible 3 5 Regularly scheduled meetings 3 4 Synergy 4 5 Leveraging technology. Table 5 displays responses which indicate that the effective use of communication technology is important to team effectiveness. Respondents reported that the use of tools and applications to increase work efficiency, manage content and monitor work processes. The leader’s role in adopting and utilizing technology was mentioned in responses as well. Chloe commented that: And some of the things that we--we leveraged technology to the fullest extent possible. One of the first things we implement is a Share Point site or Privia [sp] or whatever the client feels comfortable with to store and manage documents and manage version control. Version control is one of the most difficult things to manage when you're on a virtual team because you're not sharing--in a lot of cases, especially as a consultant, you're not sharing like network folders or
  • 127. 108 anything like that. So--and email is so unreliable. So, you have to have something to centralize all of that. We fully leverage like webinars and Go To Meeting for reviews, for color reviews. Instead of having people just fly in and sit in a room, we actually will project the document on the computer screen and share our desktops so everybody can see it no matter where they are in the world and go through the documents that way. . . So, that sort of leveraging the technology that you have is key, I think, in running the effective virtual teams. Meeting facilitation. Three respondents reported on the use of regularly scheduled meetings in virtual teams. There were extensive and detailed comments about the use of email, teleconferences and collaborative technology to connect virtual team members together. The following respondents stated: Chloe We talk frequently. It's really, really important with a virtual team to maintain constant communication or it's kind of like an out of sight out of mind type of thing. Well, if you have an actual RFP that's out and it's--and you're working the real proposal, then I would say it's daily. Before that, if it's your sort of pre- proposal or capture phases, then it might be a couple of times a week. But, you set them up as recurring meetings, however frequent they are. And it's usually very quick. And the most effective teams have very efficient daily standup calls where it lasts maybe 15 minutes, the proposal manager is in charge, they go around the horn, they ask every person three questions. They say what did you work on yesterday, what are you gonna work on today/accomplish today, and are there any issues that the group needs to know. And each person answers those three questions, and you move onto the next person. And so, very quickly, in 15 minutes, everybody knows what everybody's working on. It keeps people accountable so that they--if they know that every morning at eight o'clock they're gonna have to say what they accomplished the day before and commit to what they're gonna accomplish today, like I said, it holds them accountable. And it really, as a proposal manager, it gives me that warm and fuzzy that, okay, they're still alive, they still know that the proposal's here, they're still engaged in the process. Regina Okay, so I think that--so, one particular time when I was a participant on a team, it was a team that was geographically dispersed. So, we had subject matter experts and business development people, capture people from different parts of
  • 128. 109 the U.S. And I think that one thing--you know, we came together like at the beginning of the effort. And we really did--we met each other in person once. And then, we kind of went back to our home base locations and we worked through the proposal effort. It was about a--I would say like it was a three month effort. And so, I think some of the things that we did during that time, you know, status call-- regular status calls, email communication, regular meetings using a lot of different kinds of tools, live meeting and things like that. Nicole So, it is a different skill set I think to have to manage these teams over the telephone. But, basically we had a conference call every day for the past week, and some of them were two hours long. But, sending out an agenda before the call happened so everybody knows exactly what we need to tackle on that call, making sure that any--everybody that was on the team had some kind of a buy in, some kind of a project to do to contribute to the proposal so they’re not just standing by and being a wallflower so to speak. Getting those people to participate on the calls by sending out the agenda ahead of time and letting them know that, okay, I need you to address this, where are we with this? And basically everybody just, it was just very effective because everybody just participated really well, and we kept to a timeline and we got the proposal--a pretty good proposal out the door on time. Adapting communication style. One respondent suggested that acknowledging the need to adapt communication to different cultures was important. Effective teams use formal and informal communication to increase performance. The respondent discusses the importance of switching communication registers between formal and informal: There is the informal versus the formal and the direct versus indirect. Now, in my bid team, I had Indonesians, but since they were working with an international team for a long time, they did not have any issues raising questions in a formal meeting, which is usually against their culture. The culture usually is very informal--formal in a way that you are formally engaging, but informally you actually get the real problems, and you never get them in a formal meeting. Whereas, I did have formal meetings, because as only--that was the only way to ensure that we’re all on the same information and on the same level of information. So, bid team members had to adapt, and actually they knew that we have in the morning a catch up call and in the afternoon. Right? So, they would come prepared for those problems, but not every bid team member would come with
  • 129. 110 those problems. Indonesians usually would actually tell me all their problems individually face-to-face, and I would bring them up, but in this instance, they’re very open, because they felt comfortable. They know how the process works, and they would bring out all the problems that they are facing in a public meeting. A lot of Indians weren’t doing that, because the Indian culture, again, is also very formal. And if your superior boss is telling you something, then you are doing it. You do not question. So, the Indian culture’s very formal, as all the Asian cultures are very formal. And so, the only way for you, and for me, as a bid manager, to get the feedback, if they have issues, they might tell you in the official meeting everything is fine, everything’s fine, but you might not get to the issues, unless you speak to them face-to-face before or after the meeting. Cross cultural communication and team diversity. Murphy reported that effective global virtual teams are culturally competent. Cultural communication competence was developed through careful observations of members and their responses to situations. The knowledge and understanding contributed to more appropriate ways of delivering information in order to achieve productive outcomes. Communication was tailored to meeting the needs of individuals on the team. The following excerpt explains the concept further: So, what was great is that I came to the knowledge and to the understanding that we--different cultures operate so different and understand communication so differently that I had to adapt to that. And an example was the local Indians, as being part of the team, I could see the difference so much. If you have customer requirements that mean the customer says, “I just want to--I want you to get me from A to B.” How you do that, that’s up to you. Right? And so, what you do is internally you trigger your own engineers, and you say, “Your goal is to find a solution on how to get the customer from A to B. How do you do that? What products you use to put together as a solution is up to you.”And what a lot of times happens is that the customer says--halfway through the tender response he says, “I don’t want you to get me from A to B. I want you to get me from A to B but via [unintelligible].” And what happens, all the different cultures start to moan, or they go--they sigh, or they--I don’t know what the English word for that is, but they are not happy. The German culture is not happy. And why? The Germans, who are part of the bid [sp] team, they’re not happy, because they have a set framework, which says this is the requirement, this is what I have to propose, and this is what I have to fulfill as a technical problem. And now halfway through you’re changing your
  • 130. 111 mind again. Are you stupid, Mr. Customer? That’s literally the engineering attitude. And I wouldn’t say that--I’m generalizing here. Commitment. Gaining commitment from proposal contributors is a challenge that team members report. Effective teams gain the commitment of all team members to the effort. Team practices and the uniqueness and significance of the opportunity were important characteristics of the global virtual team experience. The significance of an opportunity to establish credibility, gain buy-in and overcome resistance of managers was also important. Josh describes a situation where there was a turnaround of commitment to an effort once managers knew that the opportunity was a multimillion dollar bid. Josh states that: once they, you know, realized that we had a chance and that it could be a significant, you know, contract, then they started to listen more. One respondent explained how a change in the bidding practices contributed to the development of team commitment. Nicole stated that: Basically when we have an effective proposal development team, first of all it starts with everybody being committed to the proposal. Our company before, maybe a month ago, had zero bid, no bid decision criteria. We bid on every RFP that came into the pipeline. Which as anybody in the proposal world knows is not a very effective way of doing business. So, we finally just developed a bid, no bid process where the leadership--the sales leadership and our delivery leadership gets together and evaluates the opportunity, answers a bunch of key questions about the strategy and can we win it, do we want to--do we want the business if we did win it, why are we bidding on this kind of thing? So, the RFPs that we’ve seen coming in even within the last couple of weeks are much more targeted towards what our business wants to work on and wants to bid on. So, this--the RFP that I just worked on was a very effective team because the opportunity was prequalified, and it was--everybody had decided and committed to bidding on this RFP. So, I think that’s one of the most important elements to having an effective proposal team, because everybody comes to the table ready. They are excited about the opportunity, they want to win the opportunity and they are committed to
  • 131. 112 it. A lot of people at our company unfortunately are not dedicated to proposals. I mean, I am because I’m a proposal manager, but all of our subject matter experts, our sales teams, they have multiple other jobs and responsibilities going on at the same time. So, a lot of times when we’re working on these RFPs they’re not 100 percent committed. So, this one that we just delivered, everybody came to the table excited, they were committed, they were--I mean, it was a big win, it was a $7 million project. So, I don’t know if that had more to do with it than if it was a smaller project. But, with the commitment people participated in our phone calls because we’re not doing--I don’t have a war room where I can sit down in front of people and really get them to commit. It’s all done over the phone, so sometimes it’s a little bit harder to motivate people or too really--I don’t see body language, I don’t see--. Empowerment. A respondent reported feeling empowered to be a part of a particular proposal development team. Josh believed that the significance and the uniqueness of an opportunity contributed to team effectiveness and the establishment of trust. Josh reported that the unusual criteria and processes that were requested by the customer created an opportunity for the acceptance of new ideas, openness and acting on feedback. Managers contributed to the feeling of empowerment through openness, collaborative problem solving and willingness to listen. The fact that his managers were open and willing to listen made him feel more empowered to contribute meaningful solutions. So, probably the most notable experience would be a contract that we were able to win a little over a year ago. And it was--it started out as a--it's a little different. It was not called an RFP. It was called an invitation to negotiate. . . But, what was unusual, that they did not ask for any price. I guess you could call it a proposal, but we did not propose price. We proposed our solution. And from that, you know--and actually what was good about this was that, from a team member point of view, I felt like I was very--and I have to wonder if any of it had to do with the fact that they weren't asking for a price yet. I felt pretty empowered to--you know, to kind of provide the information that I felt that was appropriate. And I think the other idea was I think that there were probably some managers who, at that early stage, didn't think that it was business that we could win.
  • 132. 113 Trust. The uniqueness of the opportunity provided a context for the establishment of trust and creativity. The managers really listened to contributions with the intent of actually implementing and applying those ideas. Openness and listening were identified as important characteristics of the effective virtual team leaders. When asked if he believed like the managers trusted him Josh responded: You know, they did. And to be honest with you, they probably had no choice, because, you know, normally--this is probably one of the very first and few opportunities that we went after that was a state or a government type opportunity. And in the past, a lot of our salespeople, and management and sales, they are used to dealing with private institutions where--or having the opportunity to go out and, I guess, you know, for the lack of a better word, kind of schmooze with, you know, prospective clients, and take them to dinner and--you know, and kind of try to build some trust with them. As well as, you know, kind of build a relationship and develop a coach on the prospect side and that sort of a thing. And what was different about this opportunity, it was very much, you know, by the book because it was--they had to follow these state procedures. . . So, the fact that our managers were open to listening to that idea, you know, was really just more of--made me feel more empowered to. So, you know, I think that, you know, just in general, our management in this particular case--and again, I think it was because it was an opportunity. That was really not expected from-- you know, it wasn't in our pipeline. So, they were very open to, you know, ideas and suggestions. And I really think that that just kind of let everybody--you know, it let our creativity run a little bit. Research Question 2. What, if any, part of the proposal manager’s communication do you feel contributed to the effectiveness of the team? Please share specific examples of attributes, characteristics or skills. The responses to Research Question 2 varied across all participants. Question 2 generated 29 codes. Table 6 shows that individual responses (n=35) indicate that leadership skills and behaviors were perceived to contribute to team effectiveness.
  • 133. 114 Respondents identified leadership attributes, practices and communication skills and behaviors. Respondents mentioned expressive and oral language skills. Discursive practices, such as “humor” and “commanding attention” were reported as important to effectiveness. Humor was mentioned as an effective way to handle awkward, difficult or novel situations that the team may encounter. Commanding attention through the effective use of voice and turn taking during conversations reported as important to team processes. Table 6 Question 2 Individual Responses (n=29) Response Codes Number of References in text (n=35) Anticipate problems 1 Communication is understood 1 Conversation management 1 Decision making and problem solving techniques 3 Effective written communication skills 2 Empower members 1 Encourage high interdependence 1 Engaging 1 Establish confidence 2 Face to face communication is important 1 Humor 2 Leaders command attention 3
  • 134. 115 Response Codes Number of References in text (n=35) Leaders deliver clear communications 2 Leaders facilitate meetings with an agenda 1 Leaders focus on important work priorities 1 Leaders track and follow-up on action items 1 Long term versus short term decision making 1 Manage expectations 1 Organizational culture influences communication 1 Organizational Values 2 Planning 1 Preparation 2 Provide Guidance for Corrective Action 1 Recognize communication style and personality differences 1 Recognizes culture 1 Share information 1 Simplify complex tasks 2 Support and work on the team 1 Verbal Communication is followed by written documents 1 Vocal characteristics 2
  • 135. 116 One respondent describes the importance of humor: Garrett Well, in no particular order, but humor I think is incredibly important, the ability to laugh at one's self and not take one's self too seriously, the ability to encourage people to participate. And that's the kind of communication skill that is best communicated perhaps over a voice conference call or a video call. I've done those. In some ways, as well, I feel it helps in email communications. Email is a very, very important part of bid communications, particularly on a virtual team. Being able to keep communications focused but also friendly I think is definitely an art form in that. Zara describes specific leadership attributes of an effective leader on a global virtual team: In this one instance, the manager that I'm referring to, he was from the Department of Defense, and he had 20 years in the Department of Defense and had excellent leadership qualities. He had very good verbal and written communication. So, he would make it very clear to me what I would have to do. And he was a--and I think that led back to he was a good typer. . . And he would write his emails very succinct. So, what he used to write information back to refer back to was helpful. And we had a lot of meetings, so he was very keen to both meetings, and secondly, he had a very open door policy where I was able to access him whenever I needed to. Incidentally, if he was in a meeting with somebody else, he would allow me to interrupt because he knew that the work that I was doing was limited by time. So, if we delayed a decision by an hour or two or maybe even a day or if you left work early, then that would impact on our schedule. So, I think for him to be very forthcoming with his time, availability and communication was a real key to the success of my role in the team. He brought the characters or the personalities that we had in our team--he wouldn’t pick up on minor or incidentals. If there was a mistake made, he wouldn’t dwell on that. Another good leadership quality was he was quite happy to delegate and allow you to come up with your own solutions. …So, if you came up with a smart document or a smart Excel spreadsheet on how to manage a certain aspect of the tender, boy, he would praise you really highly for that. …So, he was happy to give you the glory. He wouldn’t adopt it and take it for his own smarts. He said look what Zara did. And I got the praise for that. Other good leadership quality about him was he was willing to put in the hard yards. He wasn't the type of manager that would delegate a lot of tasks and then leave for half the day or be inaccessible or going out on business development meetings, to restaurants or going out for coffee a lot. He was a really hands on business development manager.
  • 136. 117 Table 7 displays the frequency of codes (n=13) that were shared between two or more respondents. Table 7 also shows emergent codes in leadership factors important to team effectiveness. Emergent codes relate to leadership communication characteristics, leadership behaviors and practices and interpersonal effectiveness. Table 7 Question 2 Responses with Joint Agreement (n=13) Response Codes Number of References in text (n=37) Building mutual support 4 Communication checks for understanding 2 Communication is focused 3 Develop operational frameworks and communication plans 2 Establish competence 4 Executive involvement influences communication 4 Frequent communication 5 Give clear instructions 2 Leaders are responsive 3 Leaders deliver concise communication 2 Leaders facilitate regularly scheduled meetings 2 Leaders set ground rules and goals 2 Display a positive team attitude 2
  • 137. 118 Effective leaders planned and coordinated actions. Planning was considered to be an important practice and skill for leaders. One respondent explained that: The first thing--I’ve got basically three things that are communicated. Planning and preparations, the--one of the things I’ve found, there is no value in joining the team without having something for them to go to work on immediately. And so, drafting of--downloading the requirements as I say, if there’s a draft RFP, if there’s any notes, anything else, you get it downloaded, you get it set up where people can see it, whoever’s been joined. You come up with your outline, page budgeted, your themes, your discriminators, whatever appropriate history that you want to have as a reference. And this isn’t just for paper’s sake. Some people feel that if you put enough paper on the table, you’ll protect yourself from screwing up or something. So, the second thing is clear instructions, including explanations of things that they may find difficult or ambiguous. The last thing is what I’ve called mutual support. And you could call it positive leadership. Respondents suggested that effective leaders used communication to keep members informed, involved and to adhere to schedules. Respondents believed that scheduling time and assessing the complexity of the situation to determine how many answers, the types of answers and detail that people need to come up with were important leadership behaviors to decrease ambiguity. Effective leaders safeguard against people ignoring information being sent. On effective teams, the practice of ignoring information or being uninformed about key issues or events is not tolerated or acceptable. Effective leaders use multiple methods for communication, frequent communication and ask for communication no matter what. Communication is used not only to problem solve, but to pulse the team. Effective leaders also create the kind of policy within the team so that they know what is communicated. Technology and collaborative tools are used effectively to increase accountability and affirm commitment. Nicole provides further detail in her response: So, I think regular communication. If there’s not a phone call that day, definitely an email with a status check, you know, we’ve completed this much, we--the next
  • 138. 119 milestone is going to be this coming Friday, we have to have this, this and this done, these people are responsible for this. If you’re not on target to meet that deadline please let me know immediately. And then, and getting a confirmation via email, like after you send out a status email. Making sure that all the important people respond and say, yes, I got your email, I understand, I’m on target for that next milestone. And if there’s not a communication back via email, then getting that person on the phone to actually hear them commit to that timeline is an important--I think an important step. The respondent also described how leaders can deal with problems to build mutual support through focused communication efforts that demonstrates empathy. Effective leaders are supportive and helpful by finding ways to reduce barriers and make team members feel valued: It’s letting the people know that you’re not there just to crack a whip and bust their chops. And you can give out the outline, you can make sure people know what’s required, you can give them timeframes and so forth. And that’s all standard, everybody does that. Then when they come back part of the question is how do you deal with things?… But, sometimes you can do things of a more targeted nature, such as ask very specific questions. Did you mean this? Did you mean this? . . . or actually reword something that may be ambiguous in three different ways, and send it back to the writer and say, “Which one of these is closest?” And if it’s not quite right, then adjust it. Then you don’t do that all the time. But, sometimes when you do it, if the people you’re working with are really busy with other jobs, if you do that a few times they start to feel like you understand that they’re busy and it kind of buys loyalty. So, I’m--it’s not a form of communication per se, but it’s a mutual support thing so that if you do have to go back to them with something to rewrite for a fifth time because a review team has come in and said we need more of this or we need more of this, they’ll understand that you’ll--you’re--you have a better shot of getting it done with enthusiasm than if you just kept shoving things back, rejecting them or just putting notes on them. But, I personally think it’s important to find ways to make the people on the team feel like they’re not just cogs in a machine type of thing. Executive leadership involvement was reported to make an impact on the levels of engagement with the proposal effort and impact organizational culture. Sharing information, being included on emails and responses, were perceived to be effective
  • 139. 120 practices for leaders. Executive leadership involvement also demonstrated commitment to the projects. Murphy discussed the importance of executive leadership involvement: Well, I think one of the important things is executive involvement in the larger bids certainly, but even indirectly in the smaller bids that the executive would-- CEO, CIO, etc., would not get involved in directly. If they have set a tone in the company, then that will impact on all areas of the company . . . There's kind of like a common culture in spite of the different nationalities being involved. And that's a key factor, as well, because if you're creating, if you like, the picture frame within which the jigsaw’s gonna be built. And if people are working from a common framework of values, then that enormously increases or should be able to help the degree of cooperation and the effectiveness of the team. Josh highlighted the importance of clear and complete information to inform members of the proposal team: Well, you know, I think that sometimes, you know--and I don't know if there's a word for this. But, sometimes management, they don't share the whole picture with the team. And they--sometimes they feel that only--you know, you only need to know parts, you know. Parts that is important to you. And--but, you know, I think that when managers share as much as they possibly can and let you decide if it's relevant or important to your job, I just think that that's a better teambuilding perspective, you know? And it just makes people feel like--you know, like they know everything. And they'll decide themselves whether or not it's important or not to--do you know what I mean? Table 7 shows responses reported by at least two respondents. The number of references in the interview text provides information about the extent to which responses were referenced. Frequent communication was reported as the top code by two respondents and referenced in the interview text five times. Building mutual support, establishing competence and executive leadership influences were reported by two respondents each and referenced in the text four times each. Communication is focused and leaders are responsive were referenced in the text three times each and reported by two respondents and were referenced in the text three times each. The least referenced
  • 140. 121 responses reported by two respondents each were: (a) communication checks for understanding; (b) develop operational frameworks and communication plans; (c) give clear instructions; (d) leaders deliver concise communication; (e) leaders facilitate regularly scheduled meetings; (f) leaders set ground rules and goals; and (g) display a positive attitude (3 each). Table 8 displays responses reported by three or more respondents. The number of references to responses is also shown in Table 8. Two of the responses related to communication, while the remaining four responses related to leadership practices. Communication aligns with and encourages participation and involvement was reported by four respondents each and referenced in the interview text five times each. Fewer respondents reported that effective email, leaders utilize tools, and rapport between members and shares information, resources and support were important (3 each). Differences in the number of times responses were reported are shown in Table 8. Shares information, resources and support was referenced in the interview text eight times, followed by six references related to rapport between members. Effective email and leaders utilize tools were referenced in the text five times each. Outcomes of the data in Table 8 show that although more sources of data reported on communication aligns and encouraging participation and involvement, more references appeared in the text for rapport between members and sharing, information resources and support.
  • 141. 122 Table 8 Question 2 High Frequency Responses (n=6) Response Codes Frequency of Sources (n=10) Frequency of text references (n=34) Communication aligns 4 5 Effective email communication 3 5 Encourage participation and involvement 4 5 Leaders utilize tools 3 5 Rapport between members 3 6 Shares information, resources and support 3 8 Characteristics of clear communication. Respondents agreed that leaders communicate for understanding. One respondent stated that “I think communication early and communication often, a mutual communication and checking understanding, not just communicating the message, but also checking the understanding of the message would be very important…”. Effective leaders usually follow verbal communication with a clear concise written document according to Aubry. She stated that: I guess it would be the, probably the clear communication, like of the roles and the objectives. Milestones were set out and the objectives to meet those were set out. So, I would think communication, like clear communication was one of the most effective things. I guess--well, I guess using tools and that with clear communication a lot of times on the meetings. After we have a meeting, minutes and that are sent out. So, there is a concise documented nature of what the roles of everybody and those, I guess, milestones and objectives would be in the beginning. So, I guess when I say clear communication is everybody's on the same page, everybody understands what the next step is.
  • 142. 123 One respondent suggested that leaders need to communicate to encourage participation and involvement. It's a very delicate balance between maintaining your level of authority among the team, because without a central strong leader, teams tend to fall apart. So, you have to maintain the fact that you're sort of the chief. But, you have to do it in a way that makes people feel like their opinions are valid, they're being respected, they're--we want them on the team. It doesn't alienate them, because I think that, especially with proposals, it's not just about the productivity. It's about the quality of the work. And it's--proposals ask of you to be extremely creative. And when writing is so difficult for most people to begin with, and writing a proposal is even more difficult, you have to keep their mindset in a way that they feel open, they feel creative, they want to produce quality work and not just meet your deadlines because you're being a dictator. So, it’s that kind of fine balance that you have to find. So, I think that's in--it's in the tone of your voice, it's in the time that you take at the beginning of the calls, it's acknowledging--it's building a rapport. When you're on a virtual team, you don't have the luxury of seeing someone's body language or facial expressions. If you're in a room with someone and they're upset, you can usually see it on them, but when they're on the phone, you can't always hear it. Sometimes, they just go silent. So, I think because of that, it is that much more critical to build into your-- actually build into your schedule extra time to work on the relationship you have with each person. . . So that when they do have a need, they're comfortable calling you and they're quick to pick up the phone instead of sending an email because they know that you answer the phone on the other line, you don't just let it go to voicemail, or if it does go to voicemail, you call them back right away, and building that confidence that you are a real person, you really do care about them. Respondents mostly agree with the need for leaders to balance communication style to assert authority and build rapport between members. One practice identified was the effective use of meetings to learn and share personal information. Effective leaders spend the extra time to learn about personal information and show an interest in the lives of team members outside of the team. Team members are acknowledged as people with interests, lives and passions beyond the projects. Kerri explains the importance of establishing rapport and providing direction in global virtual teams:
  • 143. 124 The ability to kind of--let’s see, the ability to kind of make it a comfortable situation. To have that kind of open--everybody kind of knew something about where they were, what was going on in their life. Almost like--I would say that it’s almost more relaxed in terms of communication than if you were kind of sitting in a conference room. Because to me I’ve been on teams where you spend a lot of time in the conference room, and even though people might chit chat about the weather, they don’t--I don’t think they know too much about, oh hey, did you know that Eric’s son was in the newspaper for blah, blah, blah? So, it’s important to, once the chit chat is over, okay, you know what, now we’re going to move on to the agenda. And here’s what’s on our agenda today and using a lot of different communication styles. So, using verbal communication, written communication, shared stuff like in this particular instance we didn’t use something like SharePoint or Privia, but we did use like a shared network drive. For some reason when I’ve worked with like this team in particular it was--I would say this is the most effective team. But, the--be the leaders in the process, you know, finding out little tidbits about people, what’s going on in their life, and making it comfortable. But then, also a leadership style that is like when it’s business it’s no nonsense. So, it’s important to, once the chit chat is over, okay, you know what, now we’re going to move on to the agenda. And here’s what’s on our agenda today and using a lot of different communication styles. So, using verbal communication, written communication, shared stuff like in this particular instance we didn’t use something like SharePoint or Privia, but we did use like a shared network drive. Research Question 3. Can you tell me what the leader said or did in meetings to enact leadership? Please share specific behaviors or actions you have observed. Table 9 displays responses reported by one person. The number of references in the text related to the responses is shown. Table 9 shows that meeting facilitation skills and behaviors were perceived to be important to members. Responses to question three related to task, monitoring and process behaviors enacted during meetings (Kuo, 2004). Characteristics of leadership and specific skills relate to analysis, fact finding, and group facilitation skills in meetings (Sivunen, 2008). Four out of 23 responses were referenced in the text three times each. Respondents believed that leaders command attention,
  • 144. 125 deliver clear communication, encourage voicing opinions and speaking up and select appropriate communication channels. The remaining 19 responses were referenced in the text one time. Table 9 Question 3 Individual Responses (n=14) Codes Number of references in text (n=23) Leaders command attention 3 Leaders conceptualize and visualize 1 Leaders deliver clear communications 3 Leaders demonstrate fact finding and evaluation skills 1 Leaders demonstrate fact finding and evaluation skills 1 Leaders determine the pace and scope of work in meetings 1 Leaders earn respect among peers and subordinates 1 Leaders encourage voicing opinions and speaking up 3 Leaders model expected behavior, work practices and norms 1 Leaders select appropriate communication channels 3 Leaders understand and fulfill their role in meetings 1 Leaders use a variety of communication channels 1 Leaders value all team members and contributions 1 Manage co-located and virtual members in meetings 1 Organizational culture influences communication 1
  • 145. 126 Nine respondents reported several behaviors and skills as shown in Table 10. The behaviors and skills reported in the responses related to task oriented functions in meetings (Nielsen, 2009). Table 10 shows responses reported by two respondents and the number of references to the response in the interview text. The most highly referenced response was leaders facilitate regularly scheduled meetings with an agenda (6). Leaders demonstrate evidence of prior preparation and planning and leaders focus on important work priorities were referenced five times in the text. Leaders interpret body language and nonverbal communication with four references in the text, while leaders organize the environment, space and materials was referenced three times. The least referenced responses reported were verbal communication is followed by written documents (2) and leaders deliver logical plans (1). Table 10 Question 3 Responses with Joint Agreement (n=9) Response Codes Number of references in text (n=28) Leaders deliver logical plans 1 Leaders demonstrate evidence of prior preparation and planning 5 Leaders encourage members in meetings 2 Leaders facilitate regularly scheduled meetings with an agenda 6 Leaders focus on important work priorities 5 Leaders interpret body language and nonverbal communication 4 Leaders organize the environment, space and materials 3 Verbal communication is followed by written documents 2
  • 146. 127 Table 11 shows responses from at least three respondents. The number of times a response is reported in the text is also shown. Four respondents reported that encouraging participation was an important task for leaders. Three respondents reported that asking good questions, delivering clear plans and expectations for behavior, work practices and norms were important. Three respondents referenced asking good questions six times in the interview text, whereas encouraging participation and involvement was referenced in five out of 22 references. Respondents also reported that leaders used discursive practices to summarize and interpret information in meetings to enact influence (Clifton, 2009). A leader’s skills in encouraging participation and involvement were reported by the most people. Three reported that skillful questioning and probing helps to include members, check for understanding and generate new ideas. Respondents commented in three references that effective leaders provide a clear direction for guiding activities and achieving role clarity. Delivering clear plans appeared in one out of 22 text references. Table 11 Question 3 High Frequency Responses (n=4) Response Codes Number of Sources (n=10) Number of references in text (n=22) Leaders ask good questions 3 6 Leaders deliver clear plans 3 1 Leaders encourage participation and involvement 4 5 Leaders set clear expectations for behavior, work practices and norms 3 3
  • 147. 128 Research Question 4. What norms or practices did the manager employ that kept the team functioning better? The responses to this critical incident question varied across all participants. Question 4 shows responses reported by at least one respondent and the number of times the response was referenced in the interview text. Question 4 generated 24 responses related to norms and practices respondents perceived to be important. Table 12 shows that respondents reported leadership behaviors, tactics and critical competencies that were perceived to contribute to team effectiveness (Hakonen & Lipponen, 2008). One respondent believed that social interaction is important and referenced the response four times. Leaders show appreciation for all members and contributions was referenced in the interview text three times. Eight codes were referenced two times each in the interview text: (a) accountability; (b) acknowledging the personal sacrifice of members; (c) cultural sensitivity; (d) encouraging participation and involvement; (e) leveraging local leadership contacts; (f) effective information management; (g) leaders are proactive; and (h) leaders are competent . Fifteen out of 24 references in the interview text were referenced one time each by respondents. Table 12 Question 4 Individual Responses (n=24) Response Codes Number of References in Text (n=37) Accountability 2 Acknowledge personal sacrifice of members 2 Cultural Sensitivity 2
  • 148. 129 Response Codes Number of References in Text (n=37) Early communication 1 Establish priorities 1 Leaders are socially competent 1 Leaders encourage participation and involvement 2 Leaders help struggling members 1 Leaders leverage local contacts 1 Leaders set ground rules and goals 1 Leaders show appreciation for all members and contributions 3 Social interaction is important 4 Leverage local contacts 2 Develop operational frameworks and communication plans 1 Recognize Celebrations 1 Develop operational frameworks and communication plans 1 Effective information management 2 Humor 1 Leaders set clear expectations for behavior, work practices and norms 1 Leaders are organized 1 Leaders are proactive 2 Leaders communicate face to face when possible 1
  • 149. 130 Response Codes Number of References in Text (n=37) Leaders develop social emotional capital 1 Leaders establish confidence 2 Open and honest communication 1 Table 13 displays responses reported by two respondents and the number of times the response is referenced in the interview text. Emergent codes in Table 13 displays leadership practices related to coordination and monitoring roles important to team effectiveness (Day et al., 2004). The responses describe leadership communication characteristics, leadership behaviors and practices. Leaders are visible was referenced in the text three times. The six remaining responses were referenced two times each. Respondents reported that team effectiveness is influenced by: (a) frequent communication; (b) progress monitoring; (c) valuing team member contributions; (d) managing co-located and virtual team members, (e) time management; and (f) tracking and following up on actions. Table 13 Question 4 Responses with Joint Agreement (n=7) Code Number of Sources (n=10) Number of References in Text (n=15) Frequent communication 2 2 Leaders are visible 2 3 Leaders monitor progress 2 2 Leaders value all team members and contributions 2 2
  • 150. 131 Code Number of Sources (n=10) Number of References in Text (n=15) Manage co-located and virtual members 2 2 Leaders manage time effectively 2 2 Leaders track and follow-up on action items 2 2 Table 14 presents responses reported by at least three respondents. The number of references in the text related to responses is also shown in Table 14. Three respondents out of 10 reported that facilitating regularly scheduled meetings was important. Respondents referenced meeting facilitation in the text eight out of 11 times. The leader’s use of a variety of communication channels was reported by three out of 10 respondents. Respondents referenced the use of multi modal communication three out of 11 times. The outcomes of the data support the finding that the task and procedure functions of communication were perceived to be important factors to team effectiveness. Meeting facilitation skills were specific communication competencies identified in the literature as important to team effectiveness (Miranda & Bostrom, 1999). Table 14 Question 4 High Frequency Responses (n=2) Response Code Number of Sources (n=10) Number of References in Text (n=11) Leaders facilitate regularly scheduled meetings 3 8 Leaders use a variety of communication channels 3 3
  • 151. 132 Research Question 5. Can you share what you believe are the most essential communication skills that every manager needs to possess on a global virtual team? Please explain why these skills are important? Question 5 generated 43 essential communication skills perceived to be important to effectiveness. Table 15 shows 33 responses reported by at least one respondent. The number of times the response was referenced in the interview text is also shown. The data shows that respondents identified technical and relational communication skills as important to team effectiveness (Kayworth & Leidner, 2001). One respondent reported that encouraging participation and involvement is important and referenced the response seven times. Leaders understand requirements and recognize communication style and personality differences were referenced in the text three times each. Frequent communication, demonstrate cultural sensitivity, effective written communication skills, acknowledge communication style differences, leaders are proactive and leaders involve others in meetings were referenced two times each by respondents. The 14 out of 17 remaining responses were referenced one time each in the interview responses. Table 15 Question 5 Individual Responses (n=17) Response Codes Number of References in Text (n=33) Leaders gain agreement 1 Vocal Characteristics 1 Frequent communication 2
  • 152. 133 Response Codes Number of References in Text (n=33) Conversation management 1 Demonstrate cultural sensitivity 2 Effective email communication 1 Effective listening skills 1 Effective written communication skills 2 Encourage participation and involvement 1 Leaders acknowledge communication style differences 2 Leaders are fair 1 Leaders are proactive 2 Leaders clearly express requirements (expressive language skills) 1 Leaders encourage participation and involvement 7 Leaders explain the impact of contributions (Engagement Communication) 1 Leaders interpret body language and non verbal communication 1 Leaders involve others in meetings 2 Leaders maintain composure 1 Leaders reduce ambiguity 1 Leaders understand requirements 3 Leaders utilize tools 1 Leverage influence 1 Recognize communication style and personality differences 3
  • 153. 134 Table 16 shows responses reported by at least two of eight respondents. Respondents reported that interpersonal communication skills were important. Respondents also identified characteristics of communication important to team building, team processes and team performance (Day et al., 2004). According to Kayworth and Leidner (2001), the essential communication skills identified support the leader’s roles as a director (i.e., role clarity), coordinator (i.e., organizing) and facilitator (i.e., encourage participation and involvement). Leaders value team members was referenced in the interview text six out 22 times and referenced three of 22 times in the interview. The remaining six out of eight responses were referenced in the interviews two times each. Table 16 Question 5 Responses with Joint Agreement (n=8) Response Codes Number of references in text (n=22) Communication is understood (Nodes) 2 Establish professional competence 2 Rapport between members 2 Communication style 2 Leaders deliver clear communications 2 Leaders use a variety of communication channels 6 Leaders value team members (Nodes) 3 Vocal Characteristics 2 Table 17 shows two essential communication skills reported by at least three respondents. Seven out of 10 respondents reported that adaptability and openness were
  • 154. 135 perceived to be important to team effectiveness. Four respondents reported that leaders needed to be able to adapt themselves and their communication style across individuals and environments, while three respondents reported that they display openness was important. The ability to adapt communication was referenced in the interview text eight out of 11 times. Display openness was referenced three out of 11 times. Responses to Question 5 related to Day et al.’s (2004) explanation that “ adaptability is what makes teams valuable in organizations since they can allocate resources, self correct, and redistribute workload as they go in response to changing organizational and external environmental demands” (p. 864). Chloe discusses cultural factors that impact the need for leaders to adjust communication styles with team members: It's very--proposal manager--or not proposal managers but people in general are very self driven. And so, it's easy for us to say, well, why did they talk to me like that, why didn't they adapt themselves to me. So, if you're working with a team in India, for example, they tend to be much more business oriented. When they're at work, they rarely talk about their personal lives, they don't like as much chit-chat, they don't--it's very like what is the agenda, get to the point, end the call. And so, when I worked with my teams in India, I tried to keep everything very agenda oriented. But then, when I would go to my team in London, they were the exact opposite. If you had an hour long call, they would want to spend 30 minutes of it talking about non-business stuff before they were ready to talk about the proposal. And so, I just had to recognize that those were the differences in their communication styles, the differences in their preferences and I had to respond accordingly to be effective in those situations. Zara’s response focused on the need for leaders to recognize the best way to deliver information and communicate effectively to achieve desired outcomes: And by that, I mean I have experienced people who can pick up information very well if they have a sketch drawn out on a whiteboard and have it explained with icons and pictures. Other people would best understand that information if they were to read a paragraph of text. Other people prefer reason. And other people can understand it if it's explained and they are able to ask questions as the questions come to mind. Yes. I think we get a good idea from facing with people what words they use to how they construct their sentences, and certainly, by email.
  • 155. 136 Sometimes, people write very short emails, their spelling and grammar is incorrect. So, you can certainly come to conclusions about how they might best have that information delivered to them. Nicole’s response acknowledges the need to adjust the delivery mode of communication to connect with team members: You’ve got a lot of different personalities when you’re working with a big proposal team. So, some people prefer to communicate via phone. Some people prefer just to communicate via email. And you kind of have to feel that out. And you can usually tell because they’re either emailing or calling me on a regular basis as well. Josh responded that communication intents may be misunderstood if leaders do not adjust their style: You could, you know, misunderstand it as being . . . a positive or a negative . . . if it's a positive comment on the manager's part and you're not familiar with their style, you might confuse it to be something negative, you know? So, I guess what I'm saying is that I think that it's important for managers to use different kinds of communication channels in order to make the project successful. Openness was identified as an important skill by three respondents. One respondent explained that open communication meant giving and receiving constructive feedback. Chloe discussed openness as being direct and intentional in the communication style to understand new people and situations: But, if you're gonna work on a team together and you're gonna be spending that many hours with each other and working on something so important, it seems silly to me to try and be sneaky about figuring out what their culture is. And so, I'd be--I was honest with them. Like from the very beginning when I talked with people, I'd say like what's your communication style, what do you need from a proposal manager to make you the happiest, what--I'd ask them a bunch of questions like that and try and get at their personal styles. Garrett suggested that openness is necessary for valuing all member contributions: And being open I think is--I mean, I go back to the key or the core values that I mentioned earlier on. One of the core values of the company that I work in and one of the reasons why I like working here is openness, which is we're open to new ideas and open to other cultures and different ways of doing things. And if
  • 156. 137 there's--if that is there, it's worth spending maybe 10 minutes on a call chasing down something that turned out to be just a rabbit trail to nowhere just for the sake of letting people know that useful suggestions will not be dismissed out of hand but will be considered and worked through. And the result then is that the team is more positive and contributes more rather than just keeping quiet and doing the bare minimum. Table 17 Question 5 High Frequency Responses (n=2) Response Codes Number of Sources (n=10) Number of references in text (n=11) RQ5 Ability to adapt communication 4 8 RQ5 Display Openness 3 3 Research Question 6. Since win-rate is an important performance indicator of effectiveness in the proposal industry, can you tell me what winning means to you? Question 6 generated statements about the meaning and importance of winning from a team member’s perspective. Tables 18, 19, and 20 display 35 responses reported that relate to winning. A variety of factors including “workload”,” responsibility” and “who receives recognition for efforts” were indicated. Table 18 shows responses reported by at least one respondent and the number of times the response was referenced in the interview text. Leaders display a positive attitude was referenced in two out of 13 references. The 11 remaining responses were referenced one time each.
  • 157. 138 Table 18 Question 6 Individual Responses (n=12) Response Codes Number of references in text (n=13) Leaders display a positive attitude 2 Public rewards and recognition 1 Winning is important depending on the level of responsibility 1 Winning is important when connected to a higher purpose 1 Winning as a team fosters harmony 1 Winning is gaining support and recognition of top leadership 1 Winning is not important depending on gets credit 1 Winning is not important depending on the amount of time between proposals 1 Winning is not important depending on the level of autonomy 1 Winning is not important depending on the scope of work 1 Winning is satisfaction with proposal quality 1 Winning through losing 1 Table 19 displays 13 responses reported by at least two respondents. Responses in Table 19 relate to definitions of winning from individual and organizational culture perspectives. Leaders develop a team’s winning instinct attitude was referenced five times by one respondent. The intrinsic importance of winning, financial rewards, pre- qualification influences, meeting customer needs and solving problems were referenced four times each. Organizational perspectives on winning, business acquisition, adherence
  • 158. 139 to scheduling and quality demands and meeting customer requirements were referenced three times in the text. Customer performance evaluations, relationships and the perception that winning is thrilling were referenced two times each. Statements regarding personal definitions of winning also related to “satisfaction”, “team learning” and the leader’s impact. Losing may also provide the experience and exposure necessary to win future opportunities. The leader’s attitude about winning and communication behaviors was mentioned as influence factors on the team spirit and individual performance: Regina It’s like, man, if you--if you’re a leader on the team that’s something you should never say in my opinion. Because there’s nothing like telling people that what you’re working on doesn’t really matter anyway. So, I think it’s not necessarily what the leader could do but what they don’t do almost. So, it’s like a negative consequence kind of where you take something. I think that--I don’t think that leaders should--and I think--so, this would be the other don’t, is team leaders should manage like a good manager does. So, they should never call somebody out--. Val There are teams that have an instinct for winning and there’s teams that have an instinct for losing. And you get--I’ve seen proposal teams that have been so badly abused by the proposal leadership, and . . . will I get the credit or will somebody else get the credit? Fortunately I wasn’t on those proposals, but I saw them going on, that they just wanted the proposal over. They didn’t care anymore. Table 19 Question 6 Responses with Joint Agreement (n=13) Response Codes Number of references in text (n=41) Winning from an organizational perspective 3 Intrinsic importance 4 Leaders develop a team's winning instinct attitude 5
  • 159. 140 Response Codes Number of references in text (n=41) Winning is acquiring new business 3 Winning is adhering to schedule with a quality proposal 3 Winning is financially rewarded 4 Winning is influenced by customer evaluations 2 Winning is influenced by pre qualified opportunities 4 Winning is influenced by relationships 2 Winning is meeting customer requirements 3 Winning is solving customer issues 4 Winning is thrilling 2 Winning is understanding and addressing underlying needs 4 Table 20 displays: (a) responses that were reported by at least three respondents; and, (b) the number of references to the response in the text. These data are important because the number of references within the text provide insight on the relative importance of an emergent concern (Glaser, 1992). Four out of 10 respondents believed that winning varies with the complexity, situation and conditions for performance. The belief that winning varies was referenced in seven of 14 references. Three respondents reported that winning is constructive to the team in four of 14 references. Three more respondents reported that winning is team satisfaction with the experience in three of 14 references.
  • 160. 141 Table 20 Question 6 High Frequency Responses (n=13) Response Codes Number of Sources (n=10) Number of references in text (14) Winning is constructive to team 3 4 Winning is team satisfaction with the experience 3 3 Winning varies 4 7 Four respondents reported that winning varies according to the context, team dynamics and significance of the opportunities. Chloe I mean, so it’s just there's so many variables that go into winning a proposal that I just hate win rate being an indicator of your performance. And I say that because I came from--it's a global--as a global proposal manager, I came from a culture where every single week, I submitted spreadsheets to the senior VP of DD about what proposals we worked on, how many had been awarded, how many had been won, lost, cancelled, etc. And we would have an hour long meeting just looking at the numbers. And I kept wanting to caveat things. I kept wanting to be like, we lost it, but we lost on price, or we lost it, but it was because of this. And so, I think it makes--win rates make proposal managers very defensive and it's not the best measure, I don't think, of winning. Garrett I mean, in terms of metrics, I don’t--I can’t really help much I don't think on that, anyway. I mean, my personal win rate has climbed to 80 percent, which was a good year, but has dropped more recently because of various other factors, probably closer to 20 percent or something. I know industry standards vary. I was looking at some research from APMP on an APMP discussion group and on Linked In recently that this question came up. Some of the top guys, the top scorers are looking about 80 percent as an effective win rate as they qualify hard. They also do a lot of the right things in terms of managing opportunities and engaging in opportunities that they've already been engaged in well before the [unintelligible] standard came out. So, there's that aspect.
  • 161. 142 Winning is also constructive to building the reputation, identity and spirit of the team. Three respondents reported that winning keeps up the momentum of the team through the next opportunity. Regina discussed the negative consequences of losing over time: So, but I do think that if you go a long time without winning anything that can--it can really hurt a team. I think it just--the morale starts to kind of drag. And then, as the proposal manager I try to find other ways to boost people’s morale, but it doesn’t always work. Table 20 also shows that three respondents perceived that winning means team satisfaction with the experience. Nicole stated that: “. . . the really successful RFP is the one where my whole team is committed, and they’re contributing and they’re excited.” Chloe considered winning the willingness of the team to desire to work together again and again. Regina stated that: But, winning to me . . . like winning the contract is great, but even if you come out on the other side of a proposal and you don’t win, if the proposal process itself was really good, sometimes that could be considered a win. Like if I’ve worked with a really difficult team and I’m like, man, these people were so hard to work with, but everybody came out on the other end and nobody killed each other and nobody wrote nasty emails back and forth to each other, that almost counts as a win to me. Research Question 7. Low performing members decrease team effectiveness, engagement and morale. What do you believe are the best ways for managers to encourage participation among all members? The responses to this open-ended question generated 21 best practices for encouraging participation and dealing with low performing members. Table 21 shows 11 best practices identified by at least one respondent. One respondent reported that accountability was important in four out of 16 in-text references. Explaining
  • 162. 143 requirements, refraining from embarrassment and retraining were referenced in the text twice each by respondents. The practices identified related to the leader’s communication role to mentor team members and facilitate work processes and remove barriers. The leader’s role in team selection and creating synergy were identified as ways to mitigate the negative impacts of low performance and increases participation. Selecting the right people with the right skills for the task was considered to be an effective strategy for encouraging quality contributions from all members. Table 21 Question 7 Individual Responses (n=11) Response Codes Number of Sources (n=10) Number of References in Text (n=16) Accountability 1 4 Adapt to situational factors 1 1 Create Synergy 1 1 Explain requirements and the purpose 1 2 Provide Support 1 1 Refrain from embarrassment 1 2 Retrain 1 2 Selective Teams 1 1 Transmit expectations 1 1 Understand cultural differences 1 1 Murphy discussed the importance of demonstrating empathy and understanding when dealing diverse cultures:
  • 163. 144 That the person might say, “My grandma just died,” or “Somebody close in the family just died.” And they are not in the job. And this is specifically important in Asian countries and cultures because family stands over everything. Whereas, in Germany and westernized countries, family is very important, but I would say in the ranking in the Asian part work still ranks a bit lower behind family. Table 22 displays five best practices reported by at least two respondents. Respondents identified best practices related to the leader’s role as a mentor and facilitator (Kayworth & Leidner, 2001). Positive communication behaviors, interpersonal communication skills and counseling skills were considered to be important. Encouraging participation and involvement, increasing engagement and building trust were referenced in the text three times each. Acknowledging high performance and demonstrating empathy were referenced in the text two times each. Table 22 Question 7 Responses with Joint Agreement (n=5) Response Codes Number of References in Text (n=13) Acknowledge high performance 2 Demonstrate empathy by recognizing and understanding difficulties and struggles 2 Encourage participation and involvement 3 Increase Engagement 3 Build Trust 3
  • 164. 145 Garrett provides a compelling example to illustrate the point when he states: One of the constraints that we typically work with in bids--and low performing doesn’t necessarily mean that the person themselves is low performing. It could be that the demands of their role are such that they are low performing for your particular bid. What I mean by that is one of the challenges we have as an organization is getting the right specialist input for legal area, for example. Because we have a fairly small legal team, they’re always maxed out. So, when I was talking to the legal team, I would start by saying that I recognize you guys are really, really busy, and so I'm coming to you early to give you early visibility of this bid and what’s gonna happen when, and I try and plan things out early. And I'll say the bid needs to be ready by such-and-such a date so that we can supply it into the client. And that therefore means that we need to have your clearance and your legal input by such-and-such a date. Can you meet that? And generally, the fact that I have recognized that they're busy or if I phone them up and say, look, if I asked you for a question, say, look, I haven't had a chance to answer it yet. I say, okay, guys, I understand, this bid is not the only bid in the company. I appreciate that. I can wait a couple of more hours or I can—let’s leave it till tomorrow morning. Would that help? And the fact that I have sort of a recognition of where all the people are coming from and their demands that they're facing helps them to increase their engagement so that they'll actually go the extra mile for me or for the team that I'm working with. Table 23 Question 7 High Frequency Responses Response Codes Number of Sources (n=10) Number of References in Text (49) Counsel to understand the problem 7 13 Give feedback 3 3 Motivation is intrinsic 3 4 Replace 5 13 Support struggling members 3 4 Use local leadership teams 6 12
  • 165. 146 Table 23 displays the frequency of responses to Research Question 7. Six best practices were identified with agreement between three or more respondents. Counseling to understand the problem was identified by seven of 10 respondents as an effective way for leaders to deal with low performing members. Six respondents identified escalation of problems to local leadership teams as an effective way to deal with low performance and to address problems. Organizational culture and the support of executive leadership teams were considered to be influence factors for the use of escalation tactics. Two respondents identified using the copy function of email as an effective way to inform leaders about low performing members and to increase responsiveness by non contributing members. Respondents indicated that the role of executive leadership is important to problem solving and for gaining the full support of all team members: Chloe So, specifically on proposals, in a 30 day turnaround time for a proposal, I don't have time to baby someone and beg them and plead with them to get better. I just--not to sound harsh, but first thing I do is I go to my capture manager, I go to whoever's in charge and I say this person isn't gonna work, give me someone who's better or you're gonna lose the bid, and those are your choices. And at that point, you go to whoever can make a decision. Nicole But, if I were to get somebody like that that really just wouldn’t deal with me and wasn’t participating on the team, then that would be another escalation. I would just go to my boss and tell him something needs to be done because this RFP’s not going to get done on time because so-and-so’s not playing. Josh --You know, he--what he did was--you know, because actually I was sort of like the focal point. So, if I wasn't getting material from someone, I would just go to the VP of sales and say, "Hey, you know, so and so, their contribution was due today. I didn't get it." And so, really instead of him going to their manager, just while I was sitting there in his office with him, he would just pick up the phone and call them directly.
  • 166. 147 And, you know--and 100 percent of the time, you know, that resolved the problem, you know? And within, you know, 24 hours, I had the piece that I needed. And I think it was because this is an opportunity that he took particular interest in and, you know, in an opportunity that he really wants to win. So, I--you know, that's--I think that in those cases, you're going to get high-level managers, if they feel ownership and if they have some attachment. To the project and the opportunity, then I think it's going to drive them more to be involved. And even to that--you know, to be involved in that level where, you know, if something doesn't get turned in on time, that they're actually going to reach out to the person. And I really think that that was more effective. Than--you know, a lot of times I would just reach out--for other proposals, I would reach out. And, you know, I usually get, you know, a bunch of excuses and, "Oh, yeah, I'll get that to you," and, "Sorry," blah, blah, blah. But, in this case, you know, when he reached out, it was a--it was just a lot quicker. Yeah. I mean, we--let me think. We have--you know, our sales team is virtual. I mean, they're all remote employees as far as our sales--our regional sales managers. So, you know, that--I think that, you know, you're dealing with a couple of different variables there. You don't have that face to face. Table 23 also shows that respondents reported giving feedback and offering support to struggling members were considered to be best practices for encouraging participation and providing assistance to team members by three respondents each. Three respondents agreed that the leader’s role is not to motivate low performing members, but rather to keep high performing members motivated: Wow, I know. And this is where I'm like, oh, God, how do I say this without seeming like just a horrible human being. And I don't know--it's--but, this is something that's a philosophy that's been engrained in me from my current boss, from every good leader that I've ever met and that I've ever admired, and that's that a leader's job is to keep high performing people motivated. It's not to motivate low performing people, because if they're low performing, and it's not because of skill or it's not because I haven't trained them correctly, but if they're just unmotivated or lazy or incompetent, it doesn't matter if I pull out every leadership trick in the book, I'm not gonna change who that person is at the core. Garrett But, basically, if people know what they need to do, they have the skills to do it, they have the training to do it and they know that they've got support of other
  • 167. 148 people and the encouragement of others to get on and do it, then generally speaking, they will knuckle down and do the job. Five respondents out of 10 indicated that replacing low performing members was an effective practice for increasing team effectiveness: Murphy That person might not of trained to actually do the job. So, then, you need to escalate internally and say, “We need a different person on the job. He’s not ready for it yet.” And we would [unintelligible] him. Chloe …and you kick the person off the team and you figure out something else because those type of people are more of a liability than a help. I would rather be one person down and have everybody on my team be great than have that extra person because that type of attitude is viral for a team. Val And the other is replace and normally the preference is retrain, whether it’s somebody who’s been burned on something or they’ve got a problem at home or they’ve got some other thing going on or do you just need to get rid of them? If you have the time for that. And if you don’t then the answer falls to replace them unless there is no one else. Sometimes you don’t have any choice. If you’re in a crash schedule and a good guy that’s momentary, you know, he’s going to be distracted for a while even though you’d like to have him, the answer is I’ve got to get rid of this guy. He may be the best in the company normally and a terrific guy, but if you’ve got a big proposal due in a month and he’s got a critical position, the only answer is get a replacement. Regina And if it works out in the first part, then great. If you’ve solved the problem, like if I’ve solved the problem or if Josh would solve the problem, then great. If not, I think that good managers, good leaders have to know when to cut it and say, “Okay, you know what, thanks for helping, but we’re going to bring in so-and- so.” And I just recently had that experience with somebody else who was leading a team and they said, “Man, this is not going well, what am I going to do, how am I going to fix this?” And I think we kind of brainstormed and finally said, “You know what, just cut the person off and replace them with somebody that might be able to do better.”
  • 168. 149 So, knowing when to do that I think is important. I think with a virtual team sometimes it’s not as noticeable. Because like in this instance we were able to just say, “They got pulled off onto another assignment.” I think that’s important. And I mean other people on the team know when someone’s not pulling their weight, whether you’re virtual or not. They can see it and I think they can sense it. And that to me is enough. Like I don’t think that people need to be publicly flogged to. Nicole And then, if I get somebody--it’s very rare for me to get somebody that just won’t even talk to me, you know what I mean? So, people like that do not last in our organization very long because we have such a team spirit. So, they’re not going to last very lo Research Question 8. How do managers ensure that considerable collaboration is occurring between and among members of virtual teams so they support each other regardless of location, country, culture and language? The responses to this open-ended question are displayed in Tables 24, 25 and 26. Table 24 shows the response reported by at least one respondent. The number of references related to the response in the interview text is also shown. Draw members out and quality of life are reported to be important and referenced in the text three times each. Seven responses were referenced in the text two times each, while 15 responses were referenced only one time each. Table 24 shows that 35 references were generated from the responses. Table 24 Question 8 Individual Responses (n=24) Response Code Number of References in Text (n=35) Public praise and rewards 2 Face to face communication is important 1
  • 169. 150 Response Code Number of References in Text (n=35) Informal communication 2 Agendas 2 Draw members out 3 Empower members 2 Encourage member support 1 Establish Confidence 1 Explain requirements and purpose 2 Financial compensation 1 Identify and deal with problems 2 Leaders set clear expectations for behavior, work practices and norms 1 Leaders are proactive 1 Leaders deliver clear plans 1 Leaders demonstrate empathy by understanding difficulties and struggles 1 Leaders demonstrate evidence of prior preparation and planning 1 Leaders encourage participation and involvement 2 Leaders involve the right people to solve problems 1 Perceptive 1 Performance evaluation 1
  • 170. 151 Response Code Number of References in Text (n=35) Pulse the organization 1 Quality of life 3 Reduce negative communication behaviors 1 Role clarity 1 Table 25 shows responses reported by two respondents. Respondents identified practices employed by leaders that were perceived to be important for collaboration. Demonstrating care and concern was referenced in five of 35 references. Encouraging voicing opinions and speaking up, showing appreciation for members and contributions were referenced in four of 35 references each. Encouraging participation and involvement and organizational culture were referenced three times each. Communication is personalized, providing clear requirements and regularly scheduled meetings were referenced two times each in the interview text. Table 25 Question 8 Responses with Joint Agreement Response Code Number of References in Text (n=34) Communication is personalized 2 Demonstrate care and concern for members 5 Develop operational frameworks and communication plans 2 Encourage participation and involvement 3 Encourage voicing opinions and speaking up 4 Leaders show appreciation for members and contributions 4
  • 171. 152 Response Code Number of References in Text (n=34) Organizational culture 3 Provide clear requirements 2 Regularly scheduled meetings 2 Setting team goals 2 Share information, resources and support 3 Telephone interactions 2 Table 26 displays responses reported by at least three respondents. Two of the six responses in Table 26 related to communication, while the remaining four responses related to leadership practices. Table 26 displays the frequency of response related to leadership best practices for encouraging collaboration. Four of 10 respondents reported that leaders establishing rapport between members of the team across culture, time zone and language is important. Four respondents suggested that establishing rapport helps members feel comfortable talking with leaders to discuss personal information, problems and challenges. Table 26 Question 8 High Frequency Responses (n=3) Response Codes Number of Sources (n=10) Number of References in Text (n=22) Leaders facilitate regularly scheduled meetings 3 5 Rapport between members 4 7 Utilization of resources 3 10
  • 172. 153 Regular facilitation of meetings and utilization of resources were believed to be important by three respondents each. Although rapport between members was reported by more respondents, utilization of resources was referenced in the text in 10 of 22 references. Rapport building was believed to contribute to higher quality interactions that influence outcomes: Val Does it seem like they’re all strangers? Or does it seem like they have some kind of rapport? Normally if they have some kind of rapport it means they’re at least interacting. And depending on whether it’s cordial or whether it’s hostile you at least know that they are engaged. How are they interacting in the times when you talk to them all together? Regina Yeah, I think knowing the individual team member. So, like on this project we had 12 people and three of those people were really like engineering kind of guys. And so, the idea was that we would have our regular group meetings but then either me or Josh would make sure that those guys were connected with each other. Oh, well when do you guys have your next technical meeting? Just kind of constantly checking in with people to make sure that they’re connected with the people that they need to be connected with … Zara However, sometimes, I have experienced that happen by breaking up communications. So, if my manager was to call me and was discussing aspects of the tender, right, and then he might stop that conversation, say thanks very much for your input on the tender. By the way, how's everything going and maybe ask me, are you getting home on time, is this big tender affecting your relationship or even going to the trouble to understand that people have lives around work or what we're trying to achieve. Three respondents reported that utilization of communication resources were important. Using collaborative resources and communication technology were identified as important ways for leaders to adapt communication styles and modes appropriate to the needs of members. Effective leaders used a variety of tools to make communication
  • 173. 154 easier, faster and more dynamic. Respondents indicated the use of live video conferencing, instant messaging, and e-mail and phone communication. Josh Well, you know, I think that, you know, they need to make sure that the communication channels are there to do that. So, I know at our company they certainly are. There are, you know--and we actually have a team that's--we have an office in Bangalore . . . and the other thing that actually--that our company did recently to kind of make that communication channel easier is that, you know-- and this is very--a technology thing is they put in--they revamped the entire phone system so that no matter what office you're in, if you're in Florida or if you're in Bangalore, you can just pick up the phone and dial five numbers . . . So, that made communication easier, as well as, you know, other tools like Microsoft Office Communicator. You know, they just recently pushed that out as a standard sort of online chat tool for everyone to use . . . tied into Microsoft Outlook. Another three respondents reported that the leader’s role in facilitating regular meetings was important to team encouraging team collaboration. Respondents indicated that regular check point meetings and reporting was essential to team collaboration. Meetings provide the opportunity to delegate, share information and support each other. Misunderstandings and clarification on tasks, timelines and roles may be received during meetings. The leader’s role in the meetings is to ensure that all members are participating and prioritizing discussion points. Leaders also use meetings to give praise and recognition to members for their contributions. The leader’s communication role is facilitative in meetings. Research Question 9. How do managers provide motivators that will meet the needs of virtual team members for recognition, belonging, satisfaction, and safety? The responses to this critical incident question varied across all participants. Question 9 generated 12 codes. Table 27 shows responses reported by at least one
  • 174. 155 respondent related to leadership skills and behaviors that were perceived to contribute to team effectiveness. One respondent reported that leaders need to be accessible to members as important in three of 18 references. Constructive feedback, demonstrating consideration, demonstrating cultural sensitivity and the leader’s role were referenced in the text two times each of 18 references. Respondents identified leadership communication skills and behaviors related to interpersonal effectiveness. One respondent discussed skills and behaviors related to the leader are the leader’s role: Yeah, I think that's about right. The Belbin Chairperson Model would be very prominent to me where there's a mixture of task orientation and people orientation. . . When I was interviewed for my present position, one of the questions--I had a telephone interview with a manager from England, so that was multinational, I guess. One of the questions he asked me, right, what was you say is the most important factor in winning bids. And said, well, for me, synergy. So, yeah, I would agree with sort of the leader as referee, very much so. You have to be able to step in at times just to deal with things. But, the whole point of what the referee is that he's trying to encourage the game to go, to flow. So, in soccer, we have a rule called advantage, and what that means is if one team is nearly scoring, is about to score a goal and the other team commits an offence and are fired against them, the referee can play the advantage and say, look, I know that I should stop the game and award a free kick or whatever for that, but I'm just gonna let the game continue. And then, quite often, the attacking team will then score a goal, anyway. And as far as the game is concerned, the game was continued, the right result is being received. So, just playing advantage, I suppose, sometimes can help. Table 27 Question 9 Individual Responses (n=12) Response Code Number of References in Text (n=18) Use of language 1 Constructive feedback 2 Create synergy 1 Demonstrate consideration 2
  • 175. 156 Response Code Number of References in Text (n=18) Demonstrate cultural sensitivity 2 Demonstrate respect 1 Leaders are accessible to members 3 Local authorities 1 Peer nomination and recognition 1 Solicit customer feedback 1 The leader's role 2 Quality of life 1 Table 28 displays responses reported by two respondents. Respondents identified positive communication behaviors as important for encouraging communication and engagement. Financial rewards and compensation were linked to performance reviews and the need for leaders to have the skills to be objective and fair in reporting practices. Financial rewards and compensation was referenced in seven out of 25 interview text references. Leaders understand individual needs and drivers were referenced in six out of 25 text references. Building rapport and organizational culture were referenced in three out of 25 in text references. Creating a safe environment and sharing information were referenced two times each in the interview text.
  • 176. 157 Table 28 Question 9 Responses with Joint Agreement (n=7) Response Codes Frequency of References in Text (n=25) Build mutual support 3 Create a safe environment 2 Experiences 2 Financial rewards and compensation 7 Leaders understand individual needs and drivers 6 Organizational culture 3 Share information 2 Understanding individual needs and drivers were considered an important leadership behavior for gaining inspired contributions from members. Leaders were perceived to impact how tasks were accomplished through decision making, past experiences and information sharing. In a contrasting point of view, two respondents identified organizational culture influences as important for meeting the needs for recognition, safety, and belonging. Nicole stated that: But, the introductory newsletter was just a--to meet our team. So, we had pictures of each proposal manager in there and a short bio with a brief career recap, and then our personal stuff, like what our hobbies are and family and all that kind of stuff. Everybody’s part of a team and if you don’t like that then go find another job. And people don’t last in our organization long. I mean, if they’re not willing to be that team member, then you’re going to get fired. They don’t tolerate it, they won’t put up with employees like that. So, it’s a very healthy organizational culture to have a job in, because you do have that sense of pride and that sense of team spirit. And any one individual on my team that gets accolades, that’s awesome, that just means our whole team got accolades because one person on our team did a really good job and followed our
  • 177. 158 team’s processes and methodologies and communication and everything else that our team prides yourself on. Table 29 Question 9 High Frequency Responses (n=3) Response Codes Frequency of Sources (n=10) Frequency of References in Text (n=40) Create positive team image 3 5 Motivation is intrinsic 3 3 Public Rewards and Recognition 8 32 Table 29 displays the frequency of codes (n=3) that were shared between two or more respondents. The leader’s ability to create a positive team image was perceived to be important. Respondents identified mentoring and coaching skills important for boosting the team. They also indicated that a positive team image builds credibility of the teams and team members throughout the organization. Vince acknowledged that “. . . if you let everybody feel like they’re in a really good team, then there is a good feeling about that . . . But, the main thing is to make them feel good about the job. That works for most people. Anything on top of that is icing”. Regina If it’s--if you’re on the listening end of it and it’s a fellow teammate, I think it either builds the team because you think, man, I really like being on this person’s team or for me sometimes it’s made me think, oh, you know what, I’m going to try harder so that I can get called out or--you know what I mean? Nicole So, it--like when we get those customer satisfaction surveys they’re anonymous, but we get the report every month. So, all proposal managers are listed on there, any survey that came in for them. And we see all the ratings and we see all the comments for each proposal manager.
  • 178. 159 And when I see those bad surveys come in for one of those two specific proposal managers, like I take personal offense, like you’re bringing down our team’s reputation. And, you know what I mean? Like so, when I see people on my team get praised I love it because it’s empowering for them. Public rewards and recognition was identified as the most important leadership communication behavior for providing recognition by eight of ten of respondents. Respondents indicated that providing recognition in meetings, in e-mail communication and in formal appraisals provides members with an acknowledgement of their contributions. Receiving recognition for team performance boosts and motivates the team according to Ursula. Val acknowledges that recognition comes from people and from acts of appreciation in the form of letters of commendation and merit pay raises. Chloe indicated that public recognition can be used to give credit and to announce high performance, creativity or problem solving. Aubry describes novel ways leaders and teams receive recognition: Yeah, we have a little online tool that we can send out like a little e-card here at work. So, we use them sometimes when somebody is like at the max on their regular job or they're taking overtime to help you out with a proposal, and a little card like that. I think recognition is--people like just to know that you appreciate and that you recognize that they're doing some extra or meeting the targets that you've asked them to do. So, if everybody is, I guess, taking the extra step, making things a little bit better or helping out others, you can do something like that or send a little quick email saying thank you or whatever. Yeah, we used to have--I can't even remember--a yippee--used to get yippee bars. They're little chocolate bars sent to us in the mail if you did anything. Yeah. So, you know what? It's only little, but it definitely goes a long way for motivation. Chloe Leaders tend to take credit for things, but I think it's more important to give credit. So, even if I collaborated with someone on something, I'll just give them 100 percent credit for it. I'll say, actually, that was Tim's idea and it was a really great idea and I'm really glad that you recognize that or something like that. So, that's like for public motivation.
  • 179. 160 Val And letting people know--recognize that they’ve done well. Give praise when somebody says, boy, this is really--I had a technical volume that turned out very, very well a couple of years ago. And people came back and said that they didn’t think it’d be nearly that good based--we had replaced--they had had a bunch of proposal consultants in who’d failed miserably. And it--after red team they all got sent home and we were brought in to replace them. . . And people said they were surprised how good the volume was that I had. And I said, “Well, I didn’t write it.” I said--. “You’ve got all these guys that did it.” And that’s the way I feel about it because I didn’t write it. And that helps a lot, making sure people understand that they’ll get the credit, Regina So, recognition I think comes with not only escalating issues that need to be resolved because it’s kind of a crummy issue, you know, if it’s a poor performance. But, also being able to know when to say, “Hey, you know what, so-and-so served really well on the team” or “They’re doing such a great job and Tuesday night, man, they stayed late even though they didn’t want to. And, wow, we really got this great.” So, knowing how to recognize people and if you’re working virtually, being able to do that either through email or in my opinion that’s the right time to call somebody out. I think it’s--I think it gives people a boost and it makes them feel like, man, you know, either if you’re on the receiving end of that good feedback you think, hey, excellent, I’m going to try harder, I’m going to do it again because people like to get that I think. Nicole Pointing out their accomplishments, thanking them for the work they’ve done so far, recognizing them typically by email, because we’re virtual . . . And just acknowledging people in front of the team because it’s important. I mean, I can thank them directly all day long, but I think getting that--people love to be recognized. I just--when I did that huge RFP yesterday the sales person actually sent a message to my boss and his boss two leaders up, and didn’t even copy me but my boss forwarded it to me. But, just singing my praises with this huge long email about what a great job I did and how I was such a great team player and even under a stressful situation and how I motivated everybody and blah, blah, blah. And it was just nice. I mean, you can get a raise at the end of every year but getting that acknowledgment is--it’s really important.
  • 180. 161 Josh And I think that there is, you know, something--I think that there is some reward in that alone, the fact that your name got mentioned in the letter that was sent out to the entire company by the--you know, by the CEO. Well, I think that . . . think it's more important for the person that contributed the work than it is probably for the rest of the company. I think it--you know, it just let them know that, hey, you know, somebody talked to the CEO and to let them know that I participated in this. And so, I think . . . that's important, to know that they got that kind of a recognition. Research Question 10. Since an employee’s level of commitment (his/her willingness to adopt the leader’s viewpoint and enthusiastically carry out instructions) is linked directly to that employee’s motivation to work, how do think managers inspire a virtual employee’s level of commitment? The responses to this critical incident question varied across all participants Question 10 generated 47 leader best practices for inspiring commitment in virtual team members. Table 30 shows practices that relate to specific tactics and ways leaders influence team members. Respondents identified participative, trust building, vision setting, and meaning management tactics and practices (Shockley-Zalabak, 2006). Table 30 Question 10 Individual Responses (n=34) Response Codes Number of References in Text Ask coaching questions 1 Require inspired contributions 1 Boost the team 3 Boost the team and individual 3
  • 181. 162 Response Codes Number of References in Text Compensation 1 Consider multiple perspectives 1 Formal 3 Leaders facilitate meetings with an agenda 1 Leaders facilitate regularly scheduled meetings 2 Listen to team members 2 Model behavior 2 Model professionalism 1 Replace 1 Respect members and contributions 2 Team Building 2 Ability to Influence 2 Adaptation 1 Anticipate problems 1 Building mutual support 1 Communication is personalized 2 Demonstrate care and concern for members 1 Encourage voicing opinions and speaking up 1 Give clear instructions 1 Informal communication 1 Leaders set ground rules and goals 1
  • 182. 163 Response Codes Number of References in Text Leaders show appreciation for members and contributions 1 Leaders understand personality differences 1 Leaders are self aware 1 Leverage influence of local authority 1 Proactive 2 Rapport between members 2 Retrain 1 Strength based approach 3 Trust 1 Table 31 displays the frequency of codes (n=9) that were shared between two or more respondents. It also displays participation, positive regard and constructive communication tactics to lead and support members. Effective leaders were reported to be self aware. Self awareness was identified as a positive communication behavior for giving and receiving feedback and demonstrating acceptance of others. Zara reported that leaders who were understanding and accepting were leaders who developed plans and goals with the prospect of fallibility considered. Effective leaders were considered to be proactive and objective in their approach to solving problems. Informal communication and establishing rapport between members were reported to reduce stress and improve the team environment under pressure.
  • 183. 164 Table 31 Question 10 Responses with Joint Agreement (n=9) Code Number of References in Text n=36) Engage people 4 Give recognition 6 Hold people accountable 3 Alignment of actions and words 2 Empower members 9 Give praise and recognition 4 Use Humor 3 Encourage participation and involvement 3 Solicit Feedback 2 Table 32 displays the frequency of codes (n=6) shared between three or more respondents. Two of the six high frequency codes related to communication, while the remaining four codes related to leadership practices. Table 32 Question 10 High Frequency Responses (n=4) Response Codes Number of Sources (n=10) Number of References in Text (n=24) Motivation is intrinsic 3 4 Provide resources and support 3 6 Leaders understand individual needs and drivers 3 7 Leaders value all team members and contributions 3 7
  • 184. 165 The responses to Research Question 10 are shown in Table30. The responses report the leader’s use of engagement communication to inspire commitment (Shockley- Zalabak, 2006). Three respondents agreed that motivation is intrinsic and the leader’s role is to provide resources and support to members. Two respondents made the following comments: Garrett Generally, I've been pretty blessed in that when people come on board teams and bid teams, it's because they're professional, they're proficient and they've had a lot of encouragement to get involved from other managers or from their local in country people. So, I've generally relied on there being sort of a common base, if you like, of professionalism and attitude in a bid--from the bid team members. And that generally works. And if you model that yourself, that creates an environment or a culture, if you like, that encourages that to keep going. Nicole But, as far as motivation I mean, our team is extremely busy. We had a--just hired our eighth person who’s in training now because we just have had so much work lately that you’re not going to last very long if you fall behind. Because you’re--you’ve got enough work to keep you busy and keep you motivated for sure. So, the eight people on our team, they wouldn’t still be employed if they weren’t motivated to work from home, you know what I mean? The quality level of two of them is at question and I don’t know how long they’ll last. But, pretty much everybody on our team is--they wouldn’t be allowed to work from home if they couldn’t stay motivated to stay focused. Respondents (n=3) also indicated that effective leaders value all members and contributions as important to inspiring commitment. Valuing contributions created meaning in the work. One respondent mentioned that the leader’s role was to explain the significance of the work and the importance of each member’s contribution to the project. Another frequently mentioned leader practice was the ability of leaders to understand individual needs and drivers for behavior on the team: But, yeah--there's one guy at work, for example, who responds more to insults than he does to positive affirmations. Don't ask me why, but that's just where he's
  • 185. 166 coming from. And part of leadership is recognizing that being--treating everybody equally doesn't mean treating them the same. What it does mean is treating them in a way that they can feel comfortable with and they can recognize that they're not being singled out for negative treatment. I guess it's hard to explain, but the fact that people are treated equal, all people are born equal, but doesn't necessarily mean that they need to be treated the same. Some people have more needs for finance, for example, or security, whereas other people have more needs for things like self actualization. And so, it's discerning and learning where people's needs are and meeting them at those needs that helps them to come out and put the level of commitment in. I guess people's level of commitment will depend on how their felt or observed needs are being met. Okay? Ursula I would say learning what motivates them. Having the opportunity to get to know your team members outside of the particular bid opportunity is really--it can give you better results in the long run. Learning what their language is and learning what will--speaking to them about the benefits of the proposal should we win it to them in their language can be really powerful. I mean, in their--in whatever speaks to them, whatever motivates them, learning what their incentive is and then talking to them about the benefits of it directly to them, like I say, whether it's hiring new team members or winning work in a new sector that they've been trying to penetrate, or like I say, having impact on your bottom line, those--just learning personally what drives other people and then speaking to them accordingly I find really helps get a team built up and excited. So, I guess understanding the big picture for them. Zara I think that embarrassment can work. If you have an understanding of the person's currency and personality, if embarrassment is a driver for that person and they have failed a certain task or activity or failed to produce or be productive, failed to be effective and you know that embarrassment is gonna make this person motivated, then certainly, I think it can be a task to be used. But, I think with any aspect of human nature, knowing the person is a key factor. If you embarrass somebody who really has a great sensitivity to embarrassment, it could really go the other way. You could get handed in a resignation and that person might go and get a job somewhere else and you might lose all the intellectual property and all the important, I guess, development and teachings that you've put into that person and grown them in their role. . . and in knowing people very well, then I think that you can apply lots and lots and lots of different, I guess, different motivators and different strategies on how you're gonna motivate and make them feel good, because some people are willing to take on many, many, many different things
  • 186. 167 and it's almost like they'll overcompensate for the people who don't take on a lot of tasks. So, by being able to understand that member and your team, they might end up leaving because they feel overwhelmed because. Emergent Themes Chapter Four reported the data around seven major themes that emerged from in- depth interviews. Participants were asked to recall their experiences on effective global virtual teams and experiences with leaders who they perceived to be effective. Participants were asked 10 critical incident and open-ended questions. Responses to interview questions generated codes. Through open coding processes using NVIVO 9 software, participant codes were compared for each question. Coding patterns. Four coding patterns emerged from participant responses. The first pattern related to responses reported by at least one respondent. The second pattern consisted of responses reported by at least two respondents for each question. The third pattern that emerged consisted of responses reported by at least three respondents on each question. The sets of codes with agreement between at least three or more respondents were grouped for each question. Using verification techniques, including line-by-line coding, coding by questions and comparative analysis of codes, the researcher identified a fourth coding pattern. In the fourth coding pattern, responses reported by at least three respondents across all 10 questions were considered to be high frequency codes. Table 33 displays the three top codes with responses reported by at least three respondents for all 10 questions. Leaders encourage participation and involvement was reported by at least three respondents in Research Questions 2 and 3. Leaders facilitate regular meetings was reported by at least three respondents in Research Questions 4 and
  • 187. 168 8. Motivation is intrinsic was reported by at least three respondents in Research Questions 7, 9 and 10. There were no re-occurring top codes for Research Questions 1, 5 and 6. Table 33 Frequency of Codes in Interview Questions Response Description 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Leaders encourage participation and involvement X X Leaders facilitate regularly scheduled meetings X X Motivation is intrinsic X X X Note. X= Responses reported by at least three respondents in questions 1-10. High frequency codes were grouped and categorized into nine themes. The categorizations of high frequency codes were determined by classifications and dimensions identified in prior research on global virtual teams, leadership, and communication (Cascio & Shurygailo; 2003; Clifton, 2009; Connerly & Pedersen, 2005; Cordery & Soo, 2008; Cragg & Spurgeon, 2007; Day, Gronn & Salas, 2004; DeVito, 2005; Han, 2006; Hertel, Geister & Konradt, 2005; Kayworth & Leidner, 2001; Kuo, 2004; Lurey, 2008; Neilsen, 2009; Ruggieri, 2009; Shockley-Zalabak, 2006). Phase II Quantitative Survey Data Survey participant demographics. The sample consisted of 63 participants who completed the entire survey. The majority of the sample (50.7%) was over the age of 45, with 9.2% reporting they were
  • 188. 169 born between 1981 and 1988; 40% between 1966 and 1980; 49.2% between 1946 and 1964;, and only one person or 1.5% reporting having been born in 1946 or prior. The sample was 60% female, 38.5% male, and 1.5% unknown because one participant selected “prefer not to answer.” Ninety-two point five% of the participants selected North America as the region of the world where they worked. Each of the following locations was selected only once: Asia Pacific, Africa, and Europe. Two participants selected Australia as the region where they work which equates to 3% of the sample. Most of the participants in this study were experienced in the proposal industry with 60% reporting 10 or more years of experience. Specifically, 18.5% reported between 1 and 5 years of experience; 21.5% reported between 5 and 10 years; 47.7% reported between 10 and 20 years; 10.8% reported between 20 and 30 years; and 1 participant (1.5%) reported having more than 30 years of proposal experience. Quantitative survey findings. The survey items (Appendix C) were constructed in multiple ways. Some of the items allowed participants to select more than one answer per question as in “list all that apply.” Thus to enhance the understanding of the results, the remainder of this section groups results by item structure. Item 2 gave respondents nine choices and asked them to select which characteristics best describe his or her “degree of virtual team participation.” Participants were allowed to select as many choices that applied. Figure 2 shows information related to the degree of virtuality participants reported. Results are reported in selection percentages. The respondents selected each of the following (n = 63): Completely virtual (36.9%); Some virtual members, some co-located members (67.7%); Co-located team members (18.5%); Teaming occurs across time zones (72.3%); Teaming
  • 189. 170 occurs across language (20%); and Teaming occurs across geography (66.2%); Primarily communicate through technology (61.5%); There is no face-to-face interaction (18.5%); There is face-to-face interaction with members (30.8%). Figure 2 Degree of Virtuality (n=65) Item 8 presented respondents with five closed-ended choices and asked participants to select which activities they engaged in as a proposal participant. Respondents were allowed to select as many choices as were applicable. Demographic data displayed in Figure 3 are reported in selection percentages. The respondents selected each of the following (n=63): proposal management (87.7%); program management (9.2%); strategic planning (44.6%); proposal consulting (32.3%); and proposal production (58.5%). 36.90% 67.70% 72.30% 20% 62% 62% 19% 31% Some co-located members Co-located team members Teaming occurs across time zones Teaming occurs across language Teaming occurs across geography Primarily communicate through technology There is no face to face interaction There is face to face interaction with members Percentage of Occurrence
  • 190. 171 Figure 3 Item 8 Responses (n=63) Item 9 gave respondents five closed-ended choices and asked them to select in which industries he or she worked. Respondents were allowed to select as many choices as they wanted. Because this is demographic information, these results are reported in selection percentages. The respondents selected each of the following (n=63): Aerospace/Defense/Federal Contractors (33.8%); Business/Industry/Commercial (66.2%); Academia (1.5%); Government (23.1%); and Non-Profit (1.5%). Closed-ended questions. Item 7 presented respondents with nine closed-ended choices and asked them to select which “technologies, tools, policies and/or resources used by managers” are most valuable in supporting global virtual team members. Respondents were allowed to select as many choices as they wanted. Table 34 shows the results reported in selection percentages because of the structure of the survey item. Email (98.5%); Web conferencing tools (67.7%); Collaborative proposal tools (67.7%); Instant messenger (47.7%); and Voice mail (44.6%) were reported the most valuable technologies for supporting global virtual teams.
  • 191. 172 Table 34 Item 7 Responses (n=65) Description Percentage of Selection E-mail 98.5% Fax 7.7% Instant messenger 47.7% Voice Mail 44.6% Web Conferencing Tools 21.5% Intranet 56.6% Social Media 4.6% Collaborative Proposal Tools 67.7% Note. Collaborative proposal tools include information and communication technologies, group support systems and software used internally by the team. Privia, Share Point, Virtual Proposal Room and Lotus were tools reported by respondents in open ended questions. Version control, time lines and content management features were reported as important features of collaborative tools. Item 14 presented respondents with eight closed-ended choices and asked them to select “which of the following values are most important” in his or her organization. Respondents were allowed to select as many choices that applied. Because of the structure of the survey item, the results are reported in selection percentages. Figure 4 shows that responsibility, respect and creativity were the highest values rated by respondents.
  • 192. 173 Figure 4 Item 14 Responses Rated scale questions. The next sets of items were structured as traditional Likert-type questions. Item 1 asked participants to “rate the communication performance of managers and executive leadership in your organization” with the following answer choices: Poor, Adequate, Good, Very Good, and Excellent. Each answer choice was coded with a number ranging from 1 to 5 where 1 = Poor and 5 = Excellent. Both for managers (M=3.02; SD=1.14) and executives (M=3.02, SD=1.28) most people reported Good or better (n = 63). Item 12 asked participants to “rate the extent to which” each of the following communications skills are important, using the following answer choices: “Not important, Somewhat important, Important, Very important, and Extremely important”. Each answer choice was coded with a number ranging from 1 to 5 where 1=Not important and 5=Extremely important. Means and standard deviations are displayed in Table 35 below.
  • 193. 174 Table 35 Item 12 Rated Scale Responses (n= 63) Essential Skills Mean Standard Deviation Written Skills 4.33 0.78 Oral Skills 4.27 0.72 Non-verbal Skills 3.13 1.07 Social Skills 3.67 0.90 Listening Skills 4.52 0.62 Helping Skills 3.68 0.91 Decision Making Skills 4.32 0.72 Problem Solving Skills 4.25 0.78 Planning Skills 4.25 0.72 Conflict Management Skills 3.92 0.92 Note. Item 12 measures the Extent to which communication skills are important (1 = Not important and 5 = Extremely important). The data show that the higher the mean the greater the importance. Item 13 asked participants to rate the importance of 10 factors that impact each participant’s willingness to “engage in quality participation” during the course of their proposal duties (n=63). The answer choices were the same as for Item 12: Not important, Somewhat important, Important, Very important, and Extremely important. The coded scheme was also the same for Item 12 in that each answer choice was coded with a number ranging from 1 to 5 where 1 = Not important and 5 = Extremely important. Means and standard deviations are displayed in Table 36.
  • 194. 175 Table 36 Item 13 Rated Scale Responses (n=63) Description Mean Standard Deviation Motivation is intrinsic 3.52 0.78 Feeling valued as a member 4.14 0.88 Financial compensation 3.22 0.91 Public rewards and recognition 2.81 1.08 Quality of life rewards 3.33 1.06 Team pride and positive attitudes 3.73 0.90 Learning new skills 3.44 0.99 Empowered to make decisions 4.11 0.88 Coaching and mentoring 3.51 0.97 Instilling a belief that the team is capable 3.78 0.98 Note. Item 13 rated the importance of 10 factors that impact each participant’s willingness to “engage in quality participation” during the course of their proposal duties. (1 = Not important, 5 = Extremely important). The data show that the higher the mean the greater the importance. Item 11 asked participants to rank there top five leader communication attributes that impact team effectiveness. Respondents answered by selecting a 1 to 5 attributed to each of the five choices they selected. The 1 was coded as a larger contributor and 5 were coded as a small contributor. Means were used to determine the final rank ordered list. However, because some choices only received a few votes, only those answers that were selected by at least 33% of the sample are reported here. Table 37 displays means and standard deviations of the five highest ranked communication attributes.
  • 195. 176 Table 37 Item 11 Rank Ordered List of Communication Attributes Description Mean (M) Standard Deviation (SD) n Competent 1.80 1.24 49 Enthusiastic 2.73 1.29 30 Proactive 2.88 1.33 41 Empowering 2.98 1.12 40 Confident 3.08 1.25 24 Helpful 3.53 1.07 28 Humorous 4.33 1.02 21 Note. Ranking of attributes (1=Most Important, 5=Least Important) Item 15 did not ask participants to rank selections, but instead asked participants to simply select their top three choices from among 12 options. In this item, participants were asked to select the phrases that best describe what winning personally means to the participant. As with Item 11, to ensure a clearer understanding, only those choices that were selected by at least 33% of respondents are reported here. A frequency of selection was used to determine the rank order reported from most selected to least selected because Item 15 was similar to voting. The percentage and frequency of selection data are displayed in Table 38.
  • 196. 177 Table 38 Item 15 Responses Response Percentage N Understanding and addressing needs to solve customer issues 72.3% 46 Acquiring new business 66.2% 43 Increasing value proposition for future opportunities even through a loss 46.2% 29 Adhering to schedule with a quality proposal 40% 24 Note. Item 15 ranks statements about what “winning” personally means to each participants. The top three statements were selected. The data show that the greater the percentage the higher the level of importance. Item 10 provided two choices and asked participants to select the leadership behavior they felt was the “most important to influencing team effectiveness in global virtual teams.” A frequency of selection was used to determine which choice people felt was most important. Although participants were asked to choose between the two options, some selected both choices. Thus, when a participant selected both choices, each vote counted for a half point instead a full point. Fifty five participants selected the answer choice: The leader’s mindset, outlook and perspectives shape my actions, counting for a 52 total score (n=63). Subsequently, 14 participants selected the answer choice: The way the leader reacts to adversity or deals with stress influences my actions, counting for an 11 total scores (n=63). The leader’s mindset, outlook and perspectives were reported as more important influence factors on behavior than the way the leader reacts to adversity or deals with stress.
  • 197. 178 Summary Chapter Four included the findings from Phases I and II of this study. The purpose of the study, research questions and the methodology were presented followed by the qualitative data collected from 10 interview questions. Nine emergent trends were identified and the findings of qualitative interview questions in Phase I were summarized. Demographic information and findings from the Phase II quantitative online survey data were presented. Chapter Five presents an analysis and implications of the study. In addition, strengths, weaknesses and areas for future research will be discussed.
  • 198. 179 CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS Introduction Chapter Five presents a discussion of the findings, overall conclusions and the implications for practical application and future research, beginning with an overview of information presented in Chapters One through Four, followed by a discussion of the findings. Summary Prior research on the topic of virtual teams has focused on laboratory teams and students assembled to investigate virtual team issues (Day et al., 2004; Hertel et al., 2005; Kayworth & Leidner, 2001). Although prior research (Cascio& Shurygailo, 2003) has found a relationship between the leadership and communication on team effectiveness; the premise of this study is that the ability of global virtual teams to function effectively is influenced by leader communication practices. Language, diversity, time, culture and geographic factors are expected to challenge teams. This study recognized that the perceptions of effective leadership may be influenced by organizational culture and situational factors (Mumford et al., 2000). Success factors. Effectiveness is one measure of performance in global virtual teams that depends on several internal and external success factors to increase performance. Bergiel et al. (2006) contend that “trust, communication, leadership, goal setting, and technology are all vital in the formation of a successful virtual team” (p. 428). Five specific factors related to global virtual teams are depicted in Table 39. Frequent communication has been found to be an essential element of building trust; rapport building and engagement
  • 199. 180 have been positively linked to team performance (Heifetz, 1994). Leadership and communication have also been identified as two critical contributing factors to building and sustaining successful teams in models and frameworks (Martins et al., 2004). Interactions between the leader and the follower have been identified as important characteristics used to define leadership (Connerly & Pederson, 2005; Daft, 2008). Table 39 Global Virtual Team Success Factors Success factor Exiting Research Team communication and leadership (Cordery & Soo, 2008; Clifton, 2006; Maznevski & Chudoba, 2006; Yukl, 2006; Tavcar, Zavbi, Verlinden & Duhovnik, 2005; Pauleen, 2004; Grosse, 2002; Kayworth & Leidner, 2000) Trust Teamwork (Siino, 2007; Matzler & Renzel, 2006; Hodson, 2004; Kerber & Bono, 2004; Jarvenpaa et al., 1998) Chudoba et al., 2005; Ilgen et al., 2005; Katzenbach & Smith, 2003; Loden, 1996) Interpersonal Relationships (Boule,2008; Gratton & Erickson, 2007; Slater, Usosh & Schroeder, 2000) Best Practices (Sivunen, 2008; Barczak et al., 2006; Arsenault, 2004; Kerber and Bono, 2004; Scholtz, 2003) Note. Existingresearchfocusedon:leadership,team,bonding, relationship building, group support systems, performance and processes.
  • 200. 181 Challenges virtual teams face. Measuring performance requires understanding and recognizing the barriers that hinder effectiveness. Leadership and communication were identified as mitigating factors to overcome challenges that impact performance (Dube & Robey, 2008). Existing research suggests that developing strong interpersonal relationships between team members, and communicating and coordinating processes are challenges global virtual team leaders face compared to traditional teams (Gibson & Gibbs, 2006). Global virtual teams are also challenged by diversity, geography, multitasking, and time zone differences (Chudoba et al., 2005). Effective leadership is needed to overcome the challenges leaders face in order to gain alignment and commitment of members, as well as support and engagement with team efforts (Cordery & Soo, 2008). Problem statement. Virtual team effectiveness depends on the willingness of team members to be productive, engaged and motivated. Although many leadership characteristics emerge over time, characteristics of effective leadership communication are important to promote and sustain the effectiveness of a global virtual team. Several issues and trends in business have emerged over time leading to the increased use of teams. The focus of this study is on the extent to which leadership communication factors are important to effectiveness from a team member’s perspective. There were gaps in the literature related to leader communication and best practices in global virtual teams that necessitated the need for this study. This study investigated how members of global virtual teams perceived leader communications and how leadership inspired a willingness from participative members to be productive, engaged and motivated. This chapter discusses
  • 201. 182 the study’s results as they relate to the research questions, existing literature and practical implications. Methodology. A grounded theory study of global virtual team members in the proposal development industry was conducted in order to investigate the research questions. The qualitative and quantitative mixed method design sought to identify the extent to which leadership communication factors are important to team effectiveness and to discover best practices from the member’s perspective in real global virtual teams. A review of the literature, with a focus on characteristics of effective leadership, success factors and challenges that global virtual team leaders face, were presented. Three research questions were investigated by this study: 1. From a team member’s perspective, what are the skills attributes, and characteristics that contribute to effective leadership communication in virtual team environments? 2. To what extent do leader communication factors most influence members to be effective? 3. What best ways can leaders employ to influence effectiveness in the following a) inspire the willingness to be productive; b) boost morale; c) engage members; 4. d) encourage participation and; and 5. e) utilizes collaboration tools and technology.
  • 202. 183 The data were collected in two phases. Phase I data were collected through in- depth qualitative interviews that were conducted to investigate Research Questions 1 and 2 (n=10). Phase I of this study sought to identify characteristics of effective leader communication factors for global virtual teams. The data were analyzed using qualitative methods for open coding. Phase II sought to identify the extent to which leader communication factors that emerged from Phase I were important to team effectiveness. Phase II data were collected by an online survey of rated scaled items over a three-week period (n=63). Participants were asked to record responses on a 5-point scale of importance (1 = least important, 5 = most important). The interval data were analyzed using quantitative methods. Responses across all participants were compared. Participants were probed with follow-on questions as themes and patterns emerged. This grounded theory study used constant comparative analysis as a method for qualitative data analysis in conjunction with statistical analysis as a method of elaborating on emergent patterns (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). Content analysis of individual interviews and cross case analysis was conducted to compare similarities of emergent themes in responses. The researcher discovered nine themes using NVivo software to code data line-by-line to generate initial categories, patterns, themes and relationships. Subsequently, axial coding was used to: (a) organize; and (b) suggest relationships between categories and subcategories in the data. After patterns or themes emerged from the qualitative data, SPSS software was used as a group comparative analysis tool. The literature was used to show differences and similarities between the emergent themes, survey data and the existing literature in the data analysis (Glaser, 1992).
  • 203. 184 Discussion of the Findings Summary of emergent themes. The findings for Phase 1 of this study suggest that there are nine leadership factors that are most important to effectiveness from a team member’s perspective. The nine themes are: (a) characteristics of effective global virtual teams;(b) leadership qualities; (c) characteristics of effective leadership communication; (d) communication roles; (e) critical competencies for global virtual team leaders; (f) essential leadership skills; (g) communication behaviors; (h) communication tactics; and (i) technology. The following summary discusses the most important factors influencing effectiveness in global virtual teams and best practices as reported from the members’ perspective. Summary of characteristics of effective global virtual teams. Respondents reported that having a positive work environment was important to team effectiveness. They also indicated that “synergy” was important. According to responses, when a team has synergy members are: (a) engaged; (b) fully committed; (c) rapport exists between members; and (d) members are mutually accountable for outcomes. Respondents indicated that leadership style contributes to the creation of “harmony” and development of “synergy”. Male respondents (n=4) tended to comment on the feelings of being competitive as a team against other industries. Within the team, the selection of the right people and skills was considered to be important to establishing trust and credibility among members. Respondents reported feeling “like winners,” “empowered,” “productive,” “like you are reaching goals,” and “reduced stress.” Respect is a core value among the team and leadership. Effective team members felt supported by the processes and communication established by the leader.
  • 204. 185 Summary of leadership qualities. Respondents identified leadership qualities consistent with those qualities shared by transformational leaders (Daft, 2008). The qualities identified as most important to team members were the leader’s ability to demonstrate passion, visible leadership and maturity. Respondents commented on how effective leaders they have experienced have the ability to articulate and live a belief system about the team and demonstrate belief in the team’s efforts. It was important to members that even when an opportunity seemed to be “a long shot,” the leader and leadership provide the team with a sense that the effort and sacrifices were worthwhile. Passion was considered to be a key quality demonstrated through the “enthusiasm” a leader has that enlists the interests, support and commitment of others. The majority of respondents (n=6) mentioned that effective leaders do not undermine past efforts, hoard credit or fail to acknowledge the collective sacrifices of the team. Respondents mentioned that when leaders were effective there was no question about who was in control. Leaders were expected to direct action and have the most influence in the early stages of team activity. Maintaining composure in highly stressful situations or when dealing with difficult people was recognized as another positive leadership quality. Effective leaders possessed a sense of maturity shaped by life, professional experiences and business literacy. Maturity was a favorable leadership quality for contributing to effectiveness. Mature leaders were reported to approach problems and people with care and concern, while recognizing opportunities to develop others. Self- awareness was a leadership quality mentioned by respondents necessary for leading
  • 205. 186 culturally diverse teams and creating a “positive team environment.” Respondents indicated that effective leaders possess the following leadership qualities (in no particular order): 1. openness 2. confidence 3. understanding 4. compassion 5. assertive 6. deliberate 7. competent 8. candor 9. mindful and 10. empowering Summary of characteristics of effective leadership communication. Respondents consistently mentioned the quality and frequency of communication from leaders. They described effective communication as information delivered to the team clearly, concisely and consistently. Respondents commented that leaders use a variety of communication channels and agreed that leaders need to adjust the style of communication to engage all people. There was also the mention of balancing the use of formal and informal communication to allow interpersonal interactions and team bonding to occur. Respondents believed that the communication is effective when it is shared frequently and regularly. Effective communication was considered to be honest, timely and accurately. Effective communication from leaders should check for understanding
  • 206. 187 and reduce ambiguity. Respondents commented on the need for leaders to “command attention” during computer mediated interactions, encourage participation and emote feelings using their voice and tone. Last, effective communication is purposeful, aligns the team and is personalized. Summary of communication roles. Common leader communication roles identified by respondents follow. The most commonly identified role was that of facilitator. Respondents consistently mentioned the leader’s need to facilitate regular meetings with an agenda. Clarification and summarizing roles were important for ensuring understanding and monitoring progress. Respondents also commented on the role of mentor and coach. Helping struggling members was perceived to be an important practice. The team leader was considered a key factor in developing the teams’ “instinct to win.” The leader’s role as a champion was considered to be important to team morale and spirit. Team members commented on the importance of receiving recognition, credit and acknowledgement by team leaders and executive leaders about contributions. Summary of critical competencies for global virtual team leaders. Respondents identified that the following competencies were necessary to lead effective global virtual teams (in no particular order): 1. Meeting facilitation 2. Cultural competence 3. Group facilitation 4. Project management and planning 5. Technical competencies
  • 207. 188 6. Technology literacy 7. Briefing skills 8. E-mail and written communication 9. Conversation management 10. Analysis and interpretation Summary of essential leadership skills. Several skills were identified most frequently by respondents as important to team effectiveness. Counseling skills were identified as important for dealing with low performing members. Respondents indicated that low performing members would need to be “replaced” on effective teams. Escalation, the practice of involving higher levels of leadership, was mentioned as an effective way for leaders to deal with low performers. Knowing when and how often to escalate were mentioned by respondents. Counseling skills involve the awareness of leaders to know when an issue requires a different level of attention. Conceptualization skills were identified as important to guiding and directing work. Respondents mentioned the importance of leaders sharing the “big picture” and “the end game” when delivering information. Questioning and probing skills were considered to be important for leaders to: (a) ensure understanding; (b) monitor work; (c) “test assumptions;” and (d) “check the pulse of the team.” Problem solving skills were mentioned as well. Listening skills were identified as important in statements that mentioned “understanding,” “remembering,” “engaging,” and “responding appropriately.” Interpersonal interaction skills were important for gaining participation
  • 208. 189 for members to “contribute ideas,” “displaying openness,” “giving and sharing feedback,” and “expressing concern.” Summary of communication behaviors. Respondents identified best practices the team members perceived to keep the team functioning better. Three dimensions of constructive communication behaviors were mentioned in the interviews: (a) task behaviors; (b) procedural responsibilities; and (c) interpersonal behaviors. Task behaviors. Respondents believed that the leader can impact how tasks are accomplished. The primary tasks members referenced were regular meetings and planning activities. Respondents indicated that adhering to schedule, and setting ground rules and goals were important behaviors for leaders. Prioritizing work tasks was commonly mentioned as important for adhering to schedule and monitoring work. Leaders needed to clearly define and articulate problems to generate solutions on teams by “setting clear expectations” and developing draft plans and requirements. In addition, effective leaders adopt and utilize a variety of technology to increase performance and quality. Respondents mentioned that effective leaders do more than encourage participation, they urge people to push hard to deliver inspired contributions. Procedural behaviors. Respondents indicated that leaders impact what processes and procedures the team uses to achieve its objectives. Leading meetings with an agenda, giving directions, and encouraging participation were identified as important responsibilities. Respondents
  • 209. 190 commented that “valuing diverse opinions” and “team members” were important to gaining involvement. Interpersonal behaviors. The ability to adapt communication style to the situation and the speaker was an important interpersonal behavior identified. Relating well to diverse cultures was considered to be an important behavior on a global virtual team. Respondents mentioned that leaders need to be sensitive to time zones, cultural differences and differences in work practices. Respondents mentioned openness as an essential skill demonstrated by “listening” and asking for “feedback” and being “willing” to try new approaches or methods to common work processes. Respondents mentioned that leaders demonstrate acceptance by reacting to difficult situations without judgment. Summary of communication tactics. The leader’s use of tactics was considered to influence team members. Respondents indicated that organizational culture is an important factor for shaping the way leaders support their team and address issues. Respondents identified vision setting tactics to keep the team aware of the significance of opportunities and the broader objectives related to the team and organization. Trust building tactics included “frequent communication,” “daily stand up calls,” “informal chit-chat,” and establishing “open door policies.” The accessibility and responsiveness of a leader to the team were mentioned as effective ways to build trust. Leaders who were willing to “step in and help” were considered to effectively share knowledge and expertise with the team. Exhibiting positive regard was identified as a way to demonstrate respect for people. However, respondents also indicated that leaders need to balance care and concern with
  • 210. 191 candor and decisive action when handling issues. Providing recognition and praise regularly was mentioned as a common tactic for supporting and building the team. Summary of technology. Utilization of technology to collaborate and communicate was frequently mentioned as an important practice. Respondents mentioned that using a variety of tools and channels was important for communicating across cultures, age groups and time zones. Respondents mentioned that it is sometimes necessary to use multiple methods of communication simultaneously. One respondent described a situation where instant messaging was occurring during a teleconference to provide needed information to support a team member. Fluency with technology, including conferencing and collaborative tools may impact the team’s experiences positively. However, difficulty using technology was considered to limit team productivity and cause frustration when challenges arose. Conclusions This study employed a mixed method research design based on a grounded theory approach. Qualitative and quantitative methods were used for data collection, organization and analysis. An Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) inferential statistic was chosen to determine whether data points were statistically significant (p=.05). The findings suggest that there are significant differences in importance between the means for the three groups: age, gender, and years of experience. Leader communication attributes, in terms of their impact on team effectiveness, were supported with very strong effects for maturity (d=-1.65) and humor (d=-1.85). Older participants reported that maturity was a more important attribute than reported by younger
  • 211. 192 participants. Female respondents reported that humor was less important than males. These findings are not surprising because generational differences and gender bias have been found to contribute to team effectiveness if not properly managed (Shockley- Zalabak, 2006). Theoretical propositions. Four theoretical propositions are presented based on the findings and are grounded in the literature. These propositions provide insight into the main concerns that emerged and insights related to the research questions. The propositions support existing research on teams and leadership. Proposition 1. Effective team leaders demonstrate the capability to handle complex roles and they exhibit a high degree of visibility and concern toward team members. The findings of this study suggest that adjusting communication style was an important skill to mitigate the impacts of diversity, culture and language on team effectiveness. Deutsch et al. (2006) recognized the need for people to take differing perspectives when formulating messages. Communication style can be applied to enhance the use of positive communication behaviors that improve the content, decrease ambiguity, and clear communication channels (DeVito, 2005). Proposition 2. Effective leaders possess attributes and competencies shaped by experience, organizational culture values and situational factors. Effective leaders are found to be skilled at facilitating regular meetings, and encouraging participation and involvement. Findings of this study confirm previous
  • 212. 193 research on how influence is enacted during the context of meetings (Clifton, 2009). The main ways that leaders were reported to be effective were to make sure that clear goals and guidelines are being established by the manager. The leader’s primary responsibilities were perceived to be gaining alignment, agreement and full participation of members in the context of meetings. The leader needs to use checkpoint meetings as a major communication tool. The voice and the vocal characteristics of the leader are used to gain the attention of the group. Jarvenpaa et al. (1998) contend that establishing rapport is an essential element of team effectiveness and the development of trust. The leader needs to ensure that team members are responsive and responsible for their work products by engaging them in these meetings and ensuring that there is full accountability for the work. An interesting trend was that females reported the use of openings and pre-meeting interactions through “small talk” and “chit-chat” to help members build rapport and transition into the business of the meeting. Male respondents reported on the need for using humor in communications with the team with no specific reference to interaction points within the meeting. Although there have been some studies on leadership communication in meetings, these findings support the need for more research in the area of content analysis to understand the impact of humor in meetings and the use of discursive practices by gender. More needs to be known about the interactional components of meetings that influence perceptions of leader effectiveness. Future research should examine the differences between leader meeting interactions of co-located and virtual members on the same team. The role of planning, decision making and bonding processes were found to be positive impacts on
  • 213. 194 team effectiveness. Pre-qualification processes and the development of operational frameworks were identified as important processes to team effectiveness. Proposition 3. Organizational culture values and executive leadership factors influence leadership practices, norms and decision making. Participants in the study pointed out that treating people fairly does not mean treating people equally. Latapie and Tran’s (2007) study found that perceptions of fairness can be influenced by the significance of tasks assigned, praise and recognition provided to members and support provided to teams. The concept of fairness is important to this studies’ finding in that leaders need to understand how to manage both co-located and virtual members. Virtual teams have the potential for subgroup formation (Lencioni, 2003). Proposition 4. High interdependence and high degrees of virtuality influence utilization of communication technology, stakeholder engagement and productivity. According to Northouse (2007), leaders have a special responsibility for functioning in a way that helps the group achieve effectiveness. Within this perspective, leadership behavior is seen as team-based problem solving. Day et al. (2004) argued that the team leadership capacity is as important as the impact of the formal leader of the team. The researchers recognize that leadership processes can be performed by formal and informal leaders. In this study, leadership processes were reported to be performed by executive leaders, co-located team leaders and managers. The interdependence of the team members influenced the degree to which leadership processes were shared across
  • 214. 195 the team and organization. The use of escalation strategies were reported to be a common effective practice for dealing with low performing members and problems on the team. This study reveals that effective executive leadership positively influences team performance. Implications for Further Research Leadership. Behavioral perspectives. The findings of the study lend support to multiple theoretical perspectives of leadership effectiveness. Behavioral perspectives suggest that effective leaders are those able to achieve tasks and member satisfaction (Kayworth & Leidner, 2001). The findings of this study were consistent with Kayworth and Leidner’s results on leadership effectiveness in global virtual teams that suggested that effective leaders were able to display a range of behavioral complexity in dealing with team members and issues. Evidence from this study on teams in the proposal industry indicates that team members believed it was important for leaders to be tough or tender, to assert authority or escalate issues, to command attention or to encourage participation, depending on multiple factors. Team members believe that effective leaders portray a variety of roles that are often contradictory, according to situational demands. According to behavioral complexity theory, effective leaders display contrasting styles of leadership contingent on the social, situational and task demands. Behavioral perspectives focus on what leaders do. Effective leader communication norms, practices and tactics were identified in this study. Findings suggest that effective leadership is enacted in the context of meetings and
  • 215. 196 interactions through organizing and planning, and by encouraging participation and involvement. Capabilities model. While a leader’s capabilities and skills were found to influence the ability to win, a leader’s attitude and behavior were found to be important factors in developing the team’s instinct to win. Mumford et al. (2000) argue that “leadership can be framed not in terms of specific behaviors, but instead in terms of the capabilities model proposes that the capabilities, knowledge, and skills that make leadership possible” (p. 12). A very strong effect for the maturity attribute in older participants versus younger participants lends support to the relationship between leader capabilities and leader performance. Northouse’s (2007) skills model contains individual attributes, leadership outcomes, career experiences and environmental influences. Findings of this study suggest that effective leaders possess experience, judgment, discernment, knowledge and wisdom. Younger participants believed that a leader’s maturity was less important than reported by older participants. Findings that humor was less important to women provide implications for the need for exercising judgment on the use of discursive practices in diverse groups. Kolb, Williams and Frohlinger (2010) indicate that “when women do assert themselves, they face likeability versus competence challenge . . . when women are seen as competent leaders, they are not liked; when they are liked, they are not respected” (p. 8). According to Kolb et al., women are often rated higher on organizational, interpersonal and strategic skills than males. However, the ways that women display the skills interferes with how
  • 216. 197 women are credited with evidence of leadership competence. Table 40 shows how key findings of the study support the capabilities model. More needs to be known about the importance of age, organizational maturity and the demonstration of maturity through decision making. Wisdom is developed through experiences and organizational learning. Implications for gender differences in preferred leadership practices and use of discursive devices is warranted. One of 10 interview participants referenced a woman when asked to identify an effective leader and share the respondent’s experience. Perceptions of effectiveness may be related to the low level of importance humor received by female participants based on their personal experiences with leaders and leadership who were believed to be effective. A conclusion can be drawn that women may be reluctance to value humor as important due to the potential negative impacts the attribute could have on establishing legitimacy and credibility. Table 40 Three Components of the Capabilities and Skills Model Related to Findings Individual Attribute Competencies Leadership Outcomes Competent Listening skills Team Effectiveness Enthusiastic Written skills Empowering Decision making skills Confident Oral skills Helpful Problem solving Humorous Planning skills Conflict management skills Social skills
  • 217. 198 Individual Attribute Competencies Leadership Outcomes Helping skills Non verbal skills Note. Individual attributes and skills are listed in the order of importance. Productivity. Technology. In virtual teams, leader communication is important to effectiveness. The findings suggest that productivity depends on the collective efforts of the team and subgroups within the organization. Productivity is influenced by the frequency, consistency and accuracy of information. Technology is utilized to increased team performance. Collaborative proposal tools, information communication technologies and interactive media were identified as important. Email, intranet and conferencing tools were reported to be utilized more than complex two-way communication technology. A conclusion may be drawn that reliability, simplicity and appropriateness are important criteria in tool selection. Confidence in the leader’s preparation and planning may erode when technology issues arise and are not quickly resolved. Hertel et al. (2005) acknowledged that the implementation of technologies may be influenced by the developmental life cycle of virtual teams and management tasks. Newer forms of technology present unnecessary risks to achieving goals and objectives. Clear, concise and task-focused email communications were important to team members. Written and oral communications were identified as important communication skills for leaders. The findings underline group support system and best practice research that leaders need to consider the tasks before selecting technology tools (Lurey, 1998).
  • 218. 199 Virtual team management. Hertel et al. (2005) argue that the team developmental model is most appropriate for highly virtual teams distinguished by five distinct phases of activity: preparation, launch, performance management, team development, and disbanding. The findings support previous research “. . . time control together with higher responsibilities, work motivation and empowerment of team members” were three advantages of high virtuality (p.71). Findings in the study suggest that members believed that geographically dispersed teams benefit from social interaction, utilization of technology, leadership and communication. A useful way to understand a team-based organization is to examine aspects of organizational life goals, roles, relationships and processes (Shockley-Zalabak, 2006). Organizational issues and concerns around productivity and participation may become potential challenges for supervising co-located and virtual members. Establishing work practices that recognize and reward behavior and outcomes of all members and learning how to leverage the help and assistance of local authorities close to team members for corrective action, is important for leaders. Motivation and communication. The skills, behaviors and attitudes of leaders influence member perceptions and impact experiences. Clear, concise communication that provides direction and checks for understanding were perceived to be important characteristics of leader communication. Findings of this study suggest that participants do not expect their leader’s to motivate them to become motivated. However, there is a link between maintaining motivation and positive attitudes in leader communication practices and behaviors. The findings in this
  • 219. 200 study support the idea that maintaining motivation levels of high performing members is influenced by leader communication that is frequent, constructive and genuine. The findings of this study also suggest that members are motivated by intrinsic, factors and the interpersonal process capabilities of the leader. Competencies in process capabilities and management skills positively influence commitment, motivation and satisfaction (Barczak & Wilemon, 2003). It is no surprise that team members need to have leaders who are knowledgeable, skilled, committed to the project and willing to cooperate (Barczak & Wilemon, 2003). The extent to which leaders directly influence behavior depends on the leader’s behavior, actions, words and the values of the organizational culture. The way behavior and efforts are rewarded and recognized inspires individuals and team excellence. The leader’s role is to provide positive experiences and demonstrate behaviors that positively influence motivation and shape attitudes about contributions. The findings of this study support the need for leaders to understand individual needs and drivers and to adjust communication to fit situations behaviors and individuals. The findings suggest a strong link between two theories of motivation. Individual level. Feeling valued, empowerment and instilling a belief that the team is capable of winning were identified as the three most important factors impacting a participant’s willingness to engage in quality participation during the course of their proposal duties. Frederick Herzberg’s theory (in Shockley-Zalabak, 2006) recognizes that leader communication and actions focused on reducing environmental factors that negatively influence member satisfaction is insufficient for motivating. Although environmental
  • 220. 201 factors may improve, motivation levels may not change as a result of the leader communication efforts and actions. However, motivational communication is effective when related to “achievement, recognition, challenging work, increased responsibility and growth and development” (Shockley-Zalabak, p 152). From the Herzberg perspective, people are motivated by personal needs, values and drivers. People who possess an internal locus of control are more creative and productive (Shockley-Zalabak). The finding of this study that “motivation is intrinsic” supports the link between a focus on motivational factors rather than hygienic or environmental factors to influence performance and quality. Attribution theory can be applied to virtual team management and motivation. The main premise of attribution theory is that individual perceptions about internal or external control factors influence how behaviors should be interpreted. There are four factors that people can attribute to their success or failure: ability, task difficulty, effort and luck. Leaders need to understand and attend to the factors that members attribute to the positive or negative impacts on performance. Leaders also need to utilize best practices for supporting struggling members and maintaining cohesion on the team by replacing, counseling and supporting members when appropriate. The findings in this research suggest that team leaders can use locus of control and information about how members interpret their behavior to determine the best way to handle problems. Team level. Findings of the study suggest an alternative view to Herzberg’s theory (in Shockley-Zalabak, 2006), that the responsibility of the leader is not to motivate low performers but to keep motivated people motivated. The findings in this study support
  • 221. 202 Sivunen’s (2008) study that found that virtual team members expected their leaders to motivate them. Team pride and positive attitudes were identified as important to effectiveness. According to Shockley-Zalabak (2006), B. F. Skinner’s 1950’s theory proposes that positive feedback and tangible rewards reinforce desirable behavior. Evidence of the importance of public recognition, peer recognition, praise from leaders was consistently identified as important. Communication linked to specific observable events within a short time was important for boosting the motivation in individuals and the team. Team members believed that recognizing the efforts and contributions of all members is one way leaders and organizations demonstrate value. The practice of rewarding and recognizing individual and team efforts have implications for creating and shaping norms based on organizational culture values. Team members believed that contributions worthy of recognition included actions by members to generate new ideas, think creatively, and sacrifice time to support the team and by going the extra mile to deliver high quality work. The need for being recognized by executive leaders and the organization have implications for the importance of reputation, departmental branding and identity as a team member. Establishing confidence is important for the morale of the team. Organizational level. Over 70% of participants defined winning as “understanding and addressing needs to solve customer issues” (n=46). These findings suggest that stakeholder engagement and responsibility are motivating factors for inspiring a willingness to engage in quality participation during the course of their proposal duties. Implications for process and performance measurement are suggested. Team selection and recruitment efforts are also
  • 222. 203 implicated. Team members perceive competence in technical and relationship skills to be important to effectiveness. “Credibility makes a difference, and leadership must take it personally. Loyalty, commitment, energy and productivity depend on it” (Kouzes & Posnser, 2007, p.39). Participants believed that winning depends on effective leader communication, planning and interactions early in the proposal process. Findings also suggest that stakeholders include team proposal team members, related departments, executive leadership and the customer. Acquiring new business depends on the communications and activities related to bid qualification processes, capture manager communications, executive leader involvement and customer satisfaction. Helping customers and solving customer issues are as important as generating profits. Results of this study support a link between the importance of organizational culture values for decision making, ethics and sustainable work practices, norms, behaviors and rituals consistent with Edgar Schein’s 1980’s model of organizational culture and leadership (in Connerly & Pederson, 2005). Organizational culture reflects the shared realities, core values and shared behaviors of multiple stakeholders (McCoy, 2007). Leaders and their behavior, as well as culture values and visions provide important identity cues through which team members form judgments, shape perceptions and guide future actions and sense making (Shockley- Zalabak, 2006). Internal activities influence the customer’s experience with the organization. According to Hardaker and Fill (2005): From a relationship perspective, the involvement and performance of employees within corporate service brands, in particular, is critical if a customer’s brand experience is to be enhanced. The increasing attention given to the importance of collaboration and relational exchanges in inter-organizational relationships requires that all stakeholder-facing employees represent the brand in a consistent
  • 223. 204 and cooperative manner, if only to ensure that stakeholder expectations are upheld. (p.366) Stakeholder responsibility and corporate social responsibility were found to be related to communication practices in previous studies. Fifty two of 63 respondents reported that “the leader’s mindset, outlook and perspectives shape my actions”. The findings of this study support prior research on the importance of creating psychological safety characterized by a risk free communication environment that encourages participation and open communication. Basu and Palazzo’s (2008) study found that the transparency, cognitive, behavioral and linguistic habits of organizations impact corporate social responsibility practices. Findings of this study suggest that information sharing, disclosure practices and organizational culture values are important to team members for guiding behavior and decision making. Implications for training and awareness about cross cultural communication, ethics and valuing the customer are presented. There is a need for more research in the areas of motivation, and virtual team management practices. More needs to be known about the types of behaviors and actions that receive rewards and recognition, the impact on team performance, timing and the delivery of information. The satisfaction level with leader performance and leader experiences of members may impact the acceptance of the rewards and recognition as worthy. Developing feedback processes related to the proposal development life cycle, organizational citizenship behavior and creativity were recognized as noteworthy reasons to praise members. More needs to be known about the potential negative consequences of “recognition redundancy” A reasonable conclusion can be drawn that praise and
  • 224. 205 recognition for efforts are important. Recognizing efforts and making members feel valued was reported to be an effective leadership communication practice. The belief that individual and team contributions are worthwhile and significant is important, according to the findings. It can be argued that high performing team members need leaders to articulate the meaning and importance of their contributions to organizational goals. Engagement. Engagement is an essential factor for creating a context where people feel empowered to make inspired contributions, take risks and fully commit to efforts (Gratton & Erickson, 2007). Engagement, rapport building and trust have been found to improve team performance (Siino, 2007). Effective leaders were found to communicate strategic visions through the development of operational plans and frameworks. A conclusion can be drawn from the increased use of email, intranet and conferencing technologies within the teams studied. The findings suggest that internal communication functions are important in influencing engagement. Team and stakeholder interdependence may influence the selection of technology and the involvement of executive leadership. Leadership involvement was identified as important for escalating issues, providing direction about priorities and for increasing the chances of winning. Team members perceived that executive leader involvement communicated important information about the significance of the opportunity and importance of inspired contributions. It mattered to participants that executive leaders were supportive of managers and teams by implementing effective processes, listening to ideas and making real changes and improvements. This finding supports the notion that shared realities are created through experiences that develop norms and values. From this perspective, it is
  • 225. 206 no surprise that the findings in this study are similar to LaFasto and Larson’s (1989) in that senior managers have an essential role in helping people understand short-term and long-term strategic decision making. Findings of this study are consistent with cumulative results related to transformational leadership that suggest that effective leaders were perceived to provide resources, support and information (Northouse, 2007). Findings of this study also support Weisenfeld’s (2003) results on engagement in innovation management in that “engagement is an ongoing process during which perceptions as well as interests may change . . . knowing the nature of interests and perceptions of the involved parties at a certain critical point leads to possible ways of engagement which in turn may help creating a satisfying outcome of the innovation process” (p. 211). Goldstein and Wick (2007) state that “stakeholders are not only the recipients of organizational actions but also ‘actors’ with the power to respect others and responsibility for the implications of their actions or lack of actions” (p. 377). The high value on meeting customer needs elevate satisfaction as a measure of performance in virtual teams. Team effectiveness can be concluded to depend on the interdependence between the team, internal subgroups and the customer. Interdependence and accountability are important factors to team effectiveness. The findings support the argument that multiple stakeholders are interdependent and engagement serves the purpose of creating dialogue and collaborative relationships (Hughes & Demetrious, 2006). Future research needs to shift from the outcomes to understanding the processes and strategies employed to encourage engagement, interdependence and the influence of
  • 226. 207 multiple stakeholders on team effectiveness. Practical implications include soliciting and evaluating customer feedback and satisfaction to increase performance. Limitations of the Study The small sample size (n=73) was a limitation in generalizing results to larger virtual team populations. Findings in this study may be generalized only to a small segment of the proposal development industry. The construction of survey questions may have created bias in responses because items required participants to rank selections as subjective measures of perception and effectiveness. Including objective measures of performance and effectiveness may enhance the rigor of the study and increase the validity and reliability of findings. Global participation in the survey was limited. Participants in the study were predominantly from North America. The survey was written in English and interviews were limited to English speakers. Providing multilingual translation of online surveys may have increased global participation. The number of participants in each demographic group was too small to make between group comparisons on dependent variables. The use of SKYPE collaborative technology was a limitation in the qualitative interviews. Participants preferred the use of teleconferencing tools and email notification. As a result, gesture, facial expressions and nonverbal paralinguistic information was limited in this study. Vocal characteristics, prosody, silence and turn taking skills were essential for interpreting responses. Nonverbal information may provide additional data for understanding the experiences and perspectives of participants. Although participants were asked to frame perspectives around the context of past positive experiences with effective leaders, the leadership roles of participants may limit
  • 227. 208 the reliability and validity of findings. Future research should be conducted with participants in non-leadership roles. Another limiting factor was the lack of diversity in generational, language and cultural dimensions in the study. More needs to be known about generational differences and leader communication. Implications for the need to understand gender bias issues should be explored related to leadership and communication best practices. There was no direct observation of teams or leaders in teams in the study. Content analysis of meetings may offer deeper insights for how leadership is enacted in meetings and interactions. Likewise, there was no review of archival data, documents, or internal or external communication due to the proprietary nature of the work. Future studies should incorporate internal and external communications for analysis and interpretation. Artifacts may provide valuable information about how sense making occurs and is transformed from tacit to formal knowledge within the team. The perspective of one team member was provided in each interview. Information may have been biased based on the experiences, attitudes and beliefs of the participants. Similarly, researcher and participant bias were limiting factors since there was affiliation with the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) organization. Despite the limitations, there were several strengths of the study that increase the extent to which findings can be trusted. Strengths of the Study This section will discuss four factors that strengthen the validity and reliability of the findings of the study: (a) mixed method design; (b) instrumentation; (c) purposeful sampling; and (d) data analysis. The aim of this study was to identify the extent to which
  • 228. 209 leader communication factors were perceived to be important factors to team effectiveness, and to explain effective communication practices within global virtual teams. Theoretical concepts from the grounded theory method were applied as an analytical framework. Understanding develops through perspective taking and discerning the thoughts, behaviors and feelings of others (Patton, 2002). The literature was integrated at various points in the grounded theory process for Phase I data coding, verification and reduction techniques, and in Phase II surveys in order to understand the perceptions and experiences of global virtual team members. Mixed method design. The mixed method design included a variety of data collection types which contributed to methodological rigor and strengthened the extent to which findings in the study can be trusted (Patton, 2002). Information rich cases were purposefully selected in order to understand leadership communication from the team member’s perspective (n=10). Quantitative methods were used to elucidate the emergent data. Quantitative data were collected to discover and elaborate on the patterns and relationships that emerged in the interview and survey data (Glaser, 1992). The survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The small sample size (n=63) limited the use of inferential statistics that analyzed the data for statistical significance. As a result, the rules and rigor for verification applied to statistical analysis are not necessary for qualitative grounded theory secondary analysis (Giske & Artinian, 1992). Instrumentation. In addition to the mixed method design and multiple methods of data collection, flexible instrumentation allowed in-depth interviewing techniques and cross case analysis
  • 229. 210 based on emergent data (Patton, 2002). Emergent design flexibility allowed for the integration of open-ended questions, critical incident questions, and appreciative inquiry methods and also to delve deeper into issues that surfaced. Grounded theory methods are inductive and do not follow a plan or preconceived design (Glaser, 2008). The data were collected from a variety of individuals from different organizational cultures. Studying individuals from different organizations with diverse cultures, values and norms offered multiple perspectives to be examined, rather than the experiences of a single organizational culture. Patton (2002) recognizes that “being open and pragmatic requires a high tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty, as well as trust in the ultimate value of what inductive analysis will yield” (p. 44.). The interview guide and survey instruments were grounded in the literature and provided the flexibility to modify questions for fit. Further, the use of the Survey Monkey online tool provided an easy way for participants to access the surveys from multiple internet platforms, including social media, discussion boards, direct e-mail and website links. Since data were gathered form a variety of participants, the tracking and monitoring features tracked the response rate and the completion of the survey. As a result, efforts to solicit participation in Phase II were modified, based on the daily tracking information. On average, seven people participated in the survey weekly. Communication to chapter presidents and program chairpersons was enhanced to engage APMP members in the study. Another modification that impacted participation was the collection of data through paper-based surveys at a Georgia Chattahoochee Chapter Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) meeting (n=20). Flexibility in the instrumentation allowed for the collection of data to online and paper-based
  • 230. 211 formats. Grounded theory methods require flexibility as data emerges that elucidates the main concerns of participants. Flexibility increased to the extent to which findings can be trusted because modifications could be made to elucidate emergent themes and patterns. Purposeful sampling. Purposeful sampling techniques used in the study contributed to a representative sample (n=73) of global virtual team members who work across culture, geography, space and time boundaries (Lipnack & Stamps, 2000). Participants in the study related to many of the categories for high performing and global virtual teams in the literature (Maznevski & Chudoba, 2000). Participants were highly skilled, cross-functional teams with an assigned leader in a dynamic environment, cultural diversity of membership and electronic dependence for communication and collaboration (Pauleen, 2004). Based on the nature of the research questions about team effectiveness, leadership communication and best practices, inferences can be drawn about the small number of participants (n=73) from the larger membership. Inferences can also be drawn about a population of team members with similar characteristics and work practices. However the validity and reliability of findings are limited by the small population size. Data analysis. The multiple analysis strategies used strengthened the findings. Glaser and Straus (1967) emphasize that coding is done to discover categories and their properties, and to convert the interrelationships into a theory. Evidence was obtained on distributions of people in the proposal industry, based on categories derived from demographic information, coding patterns and survey data. The aim of this study was not to prove any particular hypothesis, but to modify the research as new data emerged (Glaser, 2008). In
  • 231. 212 this regard, the findings form SPSS analysis further elucidated patterns and themes from qualitative interviews. However, the findings cannot be generalized to a larger population. Recommendations The findings of the study support pervious research that found that leadership and communication factors are perceived to be important factors to productivity, motivation and engagement outcomes in global virtual teams (Chudoba et al., 2005). In order to increase effectiveness in global virtual teams, and performance and delivery of effective leader communication, the following recommendations for the development of competencies are presented across five dimensions, based on the findings of the study. The five dimensions are training and development, resources, engagement communication, team building and performance metrics. Leaders need education through training, mentoring and coaching on the management of human capital in addition to processes necessary for team effectiveness. Leaders also need tools to support effective use of technology, planning and communications. Organizations need to ensure that the values of the organization are articulated and enacted by all level of leadership. Engagement communication and internal communication activities are essential for organizational alignment. Human resources professionals weigh the cost of hiring new people. Turnover rates within organizations lead to loss of knowledge, experience, productivity and resources over time (Vance & Paik, 2006). It is recommended that the recruitment, selection and retention of talent consider the importance of communication skills, cultural competence and interpersonal effectiveness for leaders.
  • 232. 213 Performance appraisals should be modified to consider cultural differences. These processes should include feedback, role clarity, expectations, support and involvement of stakeholders. It is essential that organizational leaders link team objectives with business strategies. Leaders play a key role in articulating leadership through values-based decision making. Leaders need to develop best practices to increase team effectiveness. The REACH model in Table 41 guides behavior and norms for global virtual teams. Table 41 REACH Model Components Reach Model Components R- Build rapport and establish confidence by respecting members, responding to needs, recognizing and rewarding worthy accomplishments. E- Empower members by providing information, support and resources, engage all stakeholders, encouraging participation and involvement, escalating issues responsibly and enlisting executive leader support A- Align organizational culture, team and individual goals with the needs and aims of the customer by adapting communication to the situation, displaying a positive attitude and clearly defining roles and objectives C- Communicate strategically, effectively and frequently by articulating plans and agendas in regular interactions, checking for understanding, developing competencies, displaying positive communication behaviors and maintaining composure. H- Harness team potential by honing essential skills for leading and developing others, utilizing technology, humor and helping where ever you can
  • 233. 214 Managers and leaders need to develop a set of interpersonal, communication, behaviors and skills to build the competencies necessary for leading effective global virtual teams. These skills have been coined by this researcher as “inter-virtual skills.” The inter-virtual communication competencies and REACH model components build on input-output and process models and capabilities models of existing research (Northouse, 2007) and can be seen in Figure 5. Leadership and communication are brought to the team by managers and executive leaders. REACH model components and inter-virtual skills are processes employed through practices, norms and behaviors. Outcomes of the study suggest that leadership communication positively influences productivity, motivation and engagement. Organizational culture and values have a mitigating effect on negative impacts of virtuality, leadership and communication in global virtual teams with regard to effectiveness. Despite the challenges virtual teams face, organizational culture and values moderate impacts to the team by establishing policies, tools, rituals and rules to support virtual work practices in global virtual teams (martins, Gilson & Maynard, 2004).
  • 234. 215 Figure 5 REACH Input–Output–Process Model Inter-Virtual Communication Competencies This study’s findings have practical applications for performance management and appraisal processes. Tools can be developed to help individuals quickly increase self- awareness, and to rate performance identify strengths and weaknesses for improvement. The following Inter-Virtual Skills Checklist can be used to guide 360 degree feedback tools that can be integrated into performance appraisals and self-assessment tools. Using a 5-point Likert scale, the extent to which behaviors are perceived to be are performed Inputs Leadership Skills, traits, attitudes, & capabilities: · Manager · Executive Communication Technology Processes Task Procedural Interpersonal Collaboration Meeting Facilitation Skills Outputs Productivity Motivation Engagement Organizational Culture and Values Values
  • 235. 216 effectively can be rated (1=lowest level, 5=highest level of performance). Inter-virtual communication competencies follow: Inter-Virtual Skills Checklist. Task Behavior 1. Problem solving and analysis 2. Urge people to push beyond basic requirements 3. Prioritizing 4. Developing logical operational plans Procedure Behavior 1. Time management 2. Remind group of agenda and goals 3. Role Clarity 4. Progress monitoring and tracking Interpersonal Behaviors 1. Create a safe and positive environment 2. Encourage team interaction 3. Solicit feedback 4. Relates effectively with diverse groups Collaboration Behaviors 1. Reassuring and supporting others 2. Reacts without judgment 3. Refrains from embarrassment 4. Perspective taking
  • 236. 217 5. Involving the right people to solve problems 6. Information sharing 7. Recognizing other Meeting Facilitation Skills 1. Questioning and Probing Skillfully 2. Interpreting messages to provide the right information 3. Paraphrasing and checking for understanding 4. Summarizing 5. Opening and closing topics 6. Sharing meeting facilitation roles 7. Clarifying information 8. Repairing unclear messages 9. Following an agenda 10. Maintaining composure 11. Redirecting unproductive / negative member behavior
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  • 252. 233 APPENDICES
  • 253. 234 Appendix A Invitation E-mail
  • 254. 235 Invitation E-mail Dear _________________ My name is LaBrita Cash-Baskett and I am conducting research on global virtual teams in the proposal development industry. The purpose of my research is The purpose of this research is to: (a) identify the extent to which leader communication factors are perceived to be important factors to team effectiveness, and (b) identify effective communication practices within global virtual teams. Using qualitative research methods, this exploratory study seeks to understand how members of real global virtual teams experience leader communications and how leadership inspires a willingness from participative members to be productive, engaged and motivated. A small number of teams will be asked to answer questions on a survey and during an interview. The amount of time required for the study should be one to two hours. The entire study should take no more than six months to complete. Through purposeful sampling, individuals and organizations were selected to participate in this study because of your experience on a global virtual team. I am seeking volunteers to participate in the study. Participants will need to have at least two years of experience working in global virtual teams in the proposal development industry. Participants should work in geographically dispersed teams and depend on electronic communication to interact with team members. Confidentiality will be maintained by protecting the identities of individuals and organizations in the study. Individual responses to the interview and survey questions will be kept confidential. All records associated with this study will be stored in a secure location for a period of three years buy the researcher. Although quotes and information from surveys and interviews will be reported, your identity will be protected. Individuals and organizations who participate in the study will receive a copy of the final dissertation report. Participants will not incur any costs and may withdraw from this study at any time. This study seeks to advance the understanding of best practices for leader communications in global virtual teams. Your participation in this exploratory study helps to increase an understanding of best practices. This research has been approved by the Argosy Institutional Review Board. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this study, please contact the researcher at (770) 317-5993. Respectfully, LaBrita Cash-Baskett Doctoral Candidate in Organizational Leadership
  • 255. 236 Appendix B Interview Questions and Protocol
  • 256. 237 Interview Questions and Protocol The purposes of this research are to: (a) identify the extent to which leader communication factors are perceived to be important factors to team effectiveness, and (b) identify effective communication practices within global virtual teams. Using qualitative research methods, this exploratory study seeks to understand how members of real global virtual teams experience leader communications and how leadership inspires a willingness from participative members to be productive, engaged and motivated. Recall a specific point in time when you were a member of a usually effective proposal development team: 1. Can you tell me what it was like to be a member of the effective proposal development team? Please describe the situation. 2. What if any parts of the proposal manager’s communication do you feel contributed to the effectiveness of the team? Please share specific examples of attributes, characteristics or skills. Recall a specific point in time when you were a member of a usually effective proposal development team: 3. Can you tell me what the leader said or did in meetings to enact leadership? Please share specific behaviors or actions you have observed. 4. What norms or practices did the manager employ that kept the team functioning better? Critical incident questions to use to investigate Research Question 1 Critical incident questions to use to investigate Research Question 3 Open-ended Questions to use to investigate Research Question 1
  • 257. 238 The researcher will ask the following open ended questions to elaborate and clarify information: 5. Can you share what you believe are the most essential communication skills that every manager needs to possess on a global virtual team? Please explain why these skills are important? 6. Since win – rate is an important performance indicator of effectiveness in the proposal industry, can you tell me what winning means to you? 7. Low performing members decrease team effectiveness, engagement and morale. What do you believe are the best ways for managers to encourage participation among all members? 8. How do managers ensure that considerable collaboration is occurring between and among members of virtual teams so they support each other regardless of location, country, culture and language? 9. How do managers provide motivators that will meet the needs of virtual team members for recognition, belonging, satisfaction, and safety? 10. Since an employee’s level of commitment (his/her willingness to adopt the leader’s viewpoint and enthusiastically carry out instructions) is linked directly to that employee’s motivation to work, how do think managers inspire a virtual employee’s level of commitment? Open-ended questions to use to investigate Research Question 3
  • 258. 239 The researcher will ask elaboration questions and clarification questions appropriate to the interview: 1. When 2. Who 3. Where 4. What 5. How 6. Why 7. Could you help me understand more about that? 8. Would you elaborate on that? Prompting questions for elaboration on responses
  • 259. 240 Appendix C Survey Instrument
  • 260. 241 Survey Questions 1. If you could change one thing to help global virtual teams function more effectively, what would it be? Please explain why this change would be important. 2. Please share what motivates you to be a productive team member? 3. Please share what you expect from your managers? Open-ended questions to use to investigate research questions one
  • 261. 242 Appendix D Follow-on Questions
  • 262. 243 Follow-on Questions Open ended questions to address Research Question 3 1. Tell me what you believe are the most critical points in the proposal life cycle for one on one communication from the manager? 2. From a team member’s perspective, what are the most valuable technology, tools, policies or resources managers use to support global virtual team members? 3. What are your top five recommendations for making managers better communicators on global virtual teams? 4. If you could create an ideal global virtual team, what behaviors and actions would you advise the team manager to exhibit regularly in team interactions?
  • 263. 244 Appendix E Informed Consent Form
  • 264. 245 GLOBAL VIRTUAL TEAM MEMBER PERCEPTIONS OF LEADER PRACTICES Purpose The purpose of this research is to: (a) identify the extent to which leader communication factors are perceived to be important factors to team effectiveness, and (b) identify effective communication practices within global virtual teams. Using qualitative research methods, this exploratory study seeks to understand how members of real global virtual teams experience leader communications and how leadership inspires a willingness from participative members to be productive, engaged and motivated. Method The method of inquiry will be a mixed method qualitative and quantitative grounded theory study. It will involve you answering questions during an interview and answering questions on a survey. Time required to complete the interview will be approximately 90 minutes. Only a select few individuals will be interviewed for this study, while a larger sample will be surveyed. The entire study should take no more than 6 months to complete. Selection You were identified through a purposeful sampling method as someone with experience with global virtual (i.e., remote) teams to participate in this study. Your input will be used to help increase our understanding of effective leader communications in global virtual teams. Participation Participation in this study is entirely voluntary. You are free to refuse to any questions presented. You have the right to withdraw from the study at any time without prejudice. There are minimal risks associated with this study. There are no expenses associated with participating in this study. A copy of this form will be provided for you to keep for your records. Confidentiality Confidentiality will be maintained by protecting the identities of individuals and organizations in the study. Individual responses to the interview and survey questions will be kept confidential. All records associated with this study will be stored in a secure location for a period of three years buy the researcher. Although quotes and information from surveys and interviews will be reported, your identity will be protected. Information from the study will available upon request.
  • 265. 246 Contact information If you have questions or concerns, please contact the researcher, LaBrita Cash-Baskett at (770)-317-5993, her Argosy University research chairperson, Dr. Gerald Strand at (800) 331-5995. Participant’s Name (Printed) ______________________________________________________ Participant’s Signature___________________________________Date____________________ Date__________________________ Researcher’s Signature___________________________________Date__________________ Permission to audiotape the interview _________Yes ________No Please send a copy of the final research report ______Yes ________No
  • 266. 247 Appendix F Global Virtual Team Leader Communication Study
  • 267. 248 Global Virtual Team Leader Communication Study Introduction: The purposes of this research are to: (a) identify the extent to which leader communication factors are perceived to be important factors to team effectiveness; and (b) identify effective communication practices within global virtual teams. This exploratory study seeks to understand how members of real global virtual teams experience leader communications and how leadership inspires a willingness from participative members to be productive, engaged and motivated. This survey asks proposal participants a range of questions about your work experience in a virtual team including: leadership, commitment, management and communication. Please focus on what conditions existed during your participation on a virtual team that helped you achieved peak performance. Q1. What characteristics best describe your degree of virtual team participation? Identify all that apply. 1. Completely virtual 2. Some virtual members some co-located members 3. Co-located team members 4. Teaming occurs across time zones 5. Teaming occurs across language 6. Teaming occurs across geography 7. Primarily communicate through technology
  • 268. 249 8. There is no face to face interaction 9. There is face to face interaction with members Q2. Virtual team members have different attitudes, experiences, expectations and competencies. Generational differences impact how team members engage on task and relationship issues. In what year were you born? 1981-1988 1966-1980 1946-1964 Born before 1946 Q3. Gender differences can contribute to effectiveness when people with different styles and values work together. Please share your gender? Male Female Prefer not to answer Q4. In what region of the world do you work? Asia Pacific Africa Europe North America South America Australia
  • 269. 250 Q5. How many years of proposal experience do you have? 1 and less than 5 5 and less than 10 10 and less than 20 20 and less than 30 Q6. From a team member’s perspective, what are the most valuable technologies, tools, policies and/or resources used by managers to support global virtual team members? Please identify all that apply. Email Fax Instant messenger Voice mail Web conferencing tools Video Conferencing Intranet Social Media Collaborative Proposal tools Other:
  • 270. 251 Q7. Which activities are you engaged in as a proposal participant? Proposal management Program management Strategic planning Proposal consulting Proposal production Q8. In which industries do you work? Aerospace/Defense/Federal Contractors Business/Industry/Commercial Academia Government Non-Profit Other: Q9. Which leadership behavior is most important to you in influencing team effectiveness in global virtual teams? The leader’s mindset, outlook and perspectives shape my actions. The way the leader reacts to adversity or deals with stress influences my actions. Q10. Please rank the top five leader communication attributes or characteristics you feel contribute to team effectiveness. 1 = highest level of contribution; 5 = lowest level of contribution
  • 271. 252 Enthusiastic Competent Passionate Self aware Humorous Proactive Competitive Helpful Influential Candid Confident Empathetic Subtle Empowering Mature
  • 272. 253 Q11. Rate the extent to which communication skills are important along the following dimensions Dimension Not (1) Important Somewhat (2) Important Important (3) Very (4) Important Extremely (5) Important Written Skills Oral Skills Non-Verbal skills Social Skills Listening Skills Helping skills Decision Making Problem Solving Planning Skills Conflict Management
  • 273. 254 Q12. How important are the following factors to influencing the willingness of all involved proposal participants to engage in quality participation? Dimension Not (1) Important Somewhat (2) Important Important (3) Very (4) Important Extremely (5) Important Motivation is intrinsic Feeling valued as a member Financial compensation Public rewards and recognition Quality of life rewards Team pride and positive team attitudes Increasing personal value proposition Learning new skills Empowered to make decisions Coaching and mentoring
  • 274. 255 Q13. Organizational values are important influence factors on a leader’s decision making, performance and behavior. Which of the following values are most important in your organization? Please select all that apply. Creativity Simplicity Independence Respect Openness Transparency Fairness Responsibility Compassion Risk taking Q14. Please share which of the following best describes what “winning” personally means to you? Please select your top three choices. Winning varies Satisfaction with team performance Understanding and addressing needs to solve customer issues Adhering to schedule with a quality proposal Maintaining the rapport between members Acquiring new business
  • 275. 256 Winning is measured by a “rate” Winning means gaining full cooperation and participation by all participants on time. Increasing value proposition for future opportunities even through a loss I feel like I want to do a good job because winning is thrilling to me. I feel like I have to win I feel obligated to not let the team down. Other: Q15. How would you rate the communication performance of managers and executive leadership in your organization? Poor Adequate Good Very Good Excellent Management Executive Leadership