Date of Conferral







David Gould


Virtual teams improve organizational performance and competitiveness because they reduce business travel and allow team members to work from anywhere, anytime, using the Internet to complete projects. Although researchers have identified benefits of using virtual teams, knowledge about how cultural backgrounds influence virtual team performance is limited. Illuminating this relationship may help leadership improve team performance. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of team members with different cultural backgrounds to understand their effect on team performance. The research questions were based on the conceptual framework of organizational cultural theories developed by Schein and Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner. Interview questions were electronically distributed to a purposeful sample of 20 participants who worked on virtual teams and could describe their lived experiences. Data were collected, coded using open and axial techniques, and analyzed for themes and patterns. Key themes emerged such as cultural backgrounds, language barriers, communication, conflict, and use of information technology. Findings included techniques for improving communications, understanding different cultural backgrounds, and the satisfaction of team members. Implications for positive social change include an improved understanding among virtual team leaders regarding how different cultural backgrounds influence team performance. Results of this study may benefit organizations by helping them better manage the performance of multicultural virtual teams, thereby leading to improved product development and reduced costs associated with activities such as business travel and remote work.