As globalization drove increased need for distribution teams, it was necessary for global higher education leaders to develop collaboration to increase productivity, business success, and employee effectiveness; thus, further exploration was needed on effective aspects of collaboration in distributed settings from the employee and leader points of view. The purpose of this qualitative multiple-case study was to explore inter-team collaboration experiences from the perspective of higher education leaders and team members who work remotely from each other. Tuckman’s theory of Small Group Development (SGD) served as the theoretical framework. The target population was the 669,380 virtual workers within the United States educational services sector and a purposeful sampling method was used to select a small sample of 11 employees at a privately-held educational services organization in the United States as appropriate for qualitative case study. Data analysis employed constant comparative analysis that resulted in two concomitant themes for both research question 1 and 2: (a) conscientious communication as a distributed team strategy and (b) accountability and responsibility attributed to distributed team success. One minor theme was found for research question 1: (a) trust determined by co-workers’ productivity; two minor themes were identified for research question 2: (b) technology enhanced and limited quality communication and (c) need for face-to-face interaction in distributed work environments. Implications focused on improved collaboration within distributed work teams and highlighted (a) need for clarity, openness, and respect, (b) inter-team transparency and task interdependence, (c) commitment and importance of deliverables, (d) specified methods of technology, and (e) beneficial face-to-face interaction. The recommendations for practice included (a) establish communication standards and protocols, (b) identify group metrics, (c) identify specific and prescribed technology, and (d) establish leadership training. The recommendations for future research included (a) a quantitative descriptive design study to analyze trust at each stage of distributed group development, (b) a quantitative quasi-experimental study to explore frequency of communication in one-to-one communication, and (c) mixed method study of the impact of visual technology.
|Commitee:||Fenner, Charles, Kimmel, Sharon|
|Department:||School of Business and Technology Management|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 77/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Business administration, Management, Organizational behavior|
|Keywords:||Collaboration, Communication, Leadership, Team, Trust, Virtual|
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