Date of Conferral







Richard Schuttler


As the need for cost-efficient, talented teams continues to grow, leaders often consider the use of globally dispersed teams, also defined as virtual teams. Despite the apparent benefits, the unique needs of virtual team members are often overlooked in general leadership, change management, and retention discussions. Leaders need to understand contributing factors to the attrition of virtual workers. The foundation for this research included theories of employee retention and change management. The research question for this qualitative phenomenological study focused on the lived experiences of current or former virtual financial services workers regarding job retention. Participants were chosen using purposeful sampling resulting in the selection of 15 individuals who had worked on a virtual financial services team within the past 3 years. The researcher used open-ended interview questions to report the lived experiences of virtual team members related to attrition, retention, and change. The researcher used the phenomenological descriptive approach for the analysis. A combination of hand coding and coding software revealed recurring themes. Themes from the results of the study included challenges of the virtual environment, leadership improvements, productivity impacts resulting from disengagement of the leader, and improvement of communication strategies. Suggestions for further research include frequency of communication, leadership training, team member selection, and further theory development for virtual leaders. The impact to positive social change occurs when virtual workers are satisfied in their role, thus impacting their ability to provide for their family, engage more frequently in activities within their community, and contribute to the success of the company.