Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)

School

Management

Advisor

Cheryl McMahan

Abstract

The ability of project managers to effectively lead virtual teams is an important factor in the teams' success. Since the 1990s, organizations' use of virtual teams to plan and execute projects has increased, yet virtual teams continue to have high failure rates. The purpose of this correlational study was to examine whether a relationship exists between leadership styles, years of project management experience, and success of virtual teams. I used the path-goal theory of leadership as the theoretical framework for this study. A nonpurposive random sample of 160 project managers in the San Francisco Bay Area who had obtained the Project Management Professional® designation issued by the Project Management Institute completed an online survey. Multiple regression was conducted to determine whether a statistically significant relationship existed among variables. The results of the regression analysis were statistically significant, F(2, 142) = 39.21, p = .000, R2 = .35, indicating that a combination of leadership style and project management experience can predict success of virtual teams. Leaders of organizations can use the findings of this study in training virtual team leaders. The findings may contribute to social change in organizations that use or plan to use virtual teams in their operations. Team leaders can apply the findings in developing virtual team management strategies. Effective management may reduce the failure rate of virtual teams, which could lead to higher job satisfaction and employee retention among team members, increased employment opportunities, increased urbanization and gentrification of local communities, and reduced flight of capital. Effective management of virtual teams could thus support socioeconomic empowerment and a higher standard of living in local communities and improve knowledge and tolerance of cultural and geographic diversity.

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