Date of Conferral
John U. Kitoko
The rapid advances in technology and the globalization of the economy have led corporate leaders to invest heavily in virtual teams to increase their global coverage. The problem in this phenomenological study was that many organizational leaders do not understand the extent to which they need to manage virtual teams differently from traditional, face-to-face teams. This is significant, because due to geographical differences and possibly cultural differences, virtual teams require various modes of communication. The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the lived experiences of effective virtual-team leaders and the operational strategies employed to lead them. The answer to the research questions included strategies that virtual-team leaders applied to make their teams successful. The conceptual framework was comprised of the theories of transformational leadership and leader-member exchange. Data collection took place through open-ended interviews with 20 virtual-team leaders. Moustakas' modified version of the van Kaam analysis method was used to code and organize the data. The interview data were classified into common themes to provide a better understanding of the participants' perceptions and experiences. The results indicated that the primary virtual team challenges were communication and face-to-face connections. The strategies for managing these challenges included more open and scheduled communication, making sure the team members know their roles and responsibilities, and clear and concise goals and objectives from the virtual-team leaders. The implication for positive social change is that the effectiveness of virtual-team leaders may improve thus benefiting management, employees, and customers.