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How to increase the performance of virtual teams - A moderated-mediation model of goal setting , task cohesion and trust

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abstract Due to globalization and technological innovation, virtual teams (VT) are currently attracting substantial research attention (e.g. Schiller & Mandviwalla, 2007). A number of studies have shown the importance of individual process factor (e.g. Rico et al., 2008) which can be differentiated into planning, action and interpersonal processes (Martins et al., 2004). In terms of planning, it is essential for virtual teams to set team goals (Hertel et al., 2004). In an experimental study, team goals were related to cohesion and performance in virtual teams (Huang et al., 2002). With regard to action processes, trust seems to be crucial for task behavior (Jarvenpaa et al., 1998). However, in another study, Jarvenpaa and Leidner (1999) showed that socially-oriented exchange supports the development of trust in virtual teams. An important interpersonal factor for collaboration is task cohesion (Cohen & Bailey, 1997). One study showed that task cohesion was related to interaction, performance goals as well as to task effectiveness (Van den Bossche et al., 2006). As these research results suggest 'empirical research on VTs has been relatively limited in scope and offers few consistent fndings, and that many aspects of VT functioning remain unexamined.' (Martins et al., 2004, 819). Above all, the question how these different process factors interplay is not yet answered. This study aims at clarifying the relationship between team goals, trust, task cohesion and performance. We propose a moderated-mediation model such that the relationship between team goals and task performance (Huang et al., 2002) is mediated by task cohesion (H1) and the relationship between team goals and task cohesion is moderated by trust (H2). Hypotheses of the study are tested with structural equation modeling, in a sample of 50 virtual teams from a German telecommunication company with 225 members. The relationships are examined longitudinally in order to mitigate some of the common method bias. Overall, the proposed hypotheses can be concrmed. Thus, the study provides insights for team leaders and managers that a general culture of trust should be established in virtual teams so that the teams' goal setting indeed aects higher performance.
   
type conference paper (English)
   
keywords
   
name of conference 15th Conference of the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology (Maastricht)
date of conference 25-5-2011
title of proceedings Decent work and Beyond - W&O psychologists' contribution to society
publisher EAWOP (Maastricht)
review blind review
   
citation Brahm, T., & Kunze, F. (2011). How to increase the performance of virtual teams - A moderated-mediation model of goal setting , task cohesion and trust. In Decent work and Beyond - W&O psychologists' contribution to society. Maastricht: EAWOP.