The experience of working in virtual teams among Baby Boomers: A phenomenological study

by Verges-Osuna, Sheila A., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2016, 151 pages; 10108335


A common trend in today’s workforce is that Baby Boomers are delaying their retirement (Hines, 2011; Nakai, Chang, Snell, & Fluckinger, 2011; Nusser, 2011; US Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration, Taskforce on the Aging of the American Workforce, 2008). Another tendency that has been gaining popularity is for organizations to create virtual teams (Bergiel, Bergiel, & Balsmeier, 2008; Martins, Gilson, & Maynard, 2004). Both of these trends have significant implications for today’s organizations. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study is to provide insights into the lived experiences of Baby Boomers who are part of virtual teams. Eight participants between the ages of 55 and 66 years of age and who had experience working with virtual teams were interviewed. Data were analyzed using Giorgi’s (2009) descriptive phenomenological psychological method. Six major themes emerged from the analysis: Satisfaction with virtual teams; generational differences; working with technology; adaptation to a virtual environment; personal relationships; and adaptation to cultural diversity. This study demonstrates that Baby Boomers enjoy the experience of working in a virtual environment. Participants in the study may be seen as exceptions because of the way they have embraced technology; however, they had unique views that are an indication of their maturity and vast experience. They also shared many memories of how the workplace has evolved from when everything was in person to now, when their jobs are virtual. Their attitudes and collective memories are what distinguish them as a generation. Organizations can retain these knowledgeable workers by offering them flexible work alternatives. Telework is an alternative that reduces the stress of commuting to an office and virtual teams represent a great opportunity for collaboration and knowledge sharing. Future research can investigate the experiences of younger generations, concentrate on specific experiences related to the phenomenon, or use other research methods in order to investigate the phenomenon from a different perspective.

Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsBusiness administration; Management; Psychology
Publication Number10108335

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