Virtual teams---individual perceptions of effective project management that contribute to a collective effort in project success

by Toler, Lisa T., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2014, 155 pages; 3608143


This qualitative research study examined how effective project managers use team communication and relationship building and project management elements in dispersed virtual project teams to influence overall project success when team members have little face-to-face interaction. The study specifically focused on those individuals who have participated on a distributed project management team as both team members and project team leaders and who had to rely on a virtual, technologically driven environment for coordination and communication of project tasks and objectives throughout the life of the project. The framework guiding this inquiry was based upon an interpretive research concept whereby the ontology is grounded on the construct that there are multiple realities that are created by individuals based on social needs. Thus, knowledge is gained through understanding the meaning of the individual experience. This investigation focused on exploring the dispersed project team member who can function effectively as an interconnected and cooperative team member in order to achieve project success even though not co-located with other team members. An online survey tool, interviews, and document reviews were the methods applied to collect data for this examination. The questionnaire for both online research and interviewing was broken out into key sections: (a) Understanding of Project Objectives, (b) Project Risk and Change Management, (c) Project Planning, and (d) Influence of the Larger Organization. Inferences about the research findings answered the following questions: (a) How do virtual team members perceive effective project management approaches that contribute to the collective success of the project, such as through project planning and project risk and change management practices? (b) How does project team management ensure commonality in perspectives and maximize project management effectiveness in virtual project teams where various perceptions of effectiveness and success exist? (c) How do individual project team members feel about freely sharing their perspectives about the project’s condition when there is limited face-to-face interaction? Recommendations for future research are discussed as well as guiding theories for dispersed virtual project teams and their organizations are raised.

AdviserJanet Salmons
Source TypeDissertation
Publication Number3608143

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