Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Complexity of Virtual Team Communications: The Lived Experiences of Project Leaders Managing Virtual Environments and Communication Barriers
by LaLande, Aristotle C., D.B.A., Capella University, 2018, 223; 10935768
Abstract (Summary)

This research study examined the general business problem that ineffective communications caused project management outcomes that lead to increased business costs. The specific business problem was complexity experienced by virtual teams, due to the lack of physicality, contributed to environmental barriers and ineffective communications. The purpose of this exploratory qualitative study was to capture the lived experiences of project leaders who managed the complexity associated with virtual communication environmental barriers. The research question was: What are the lived experiences and informed perceptions of project leaders who managed the complexity associated with virtual communication environmental barriers? The conceptual framework guiding this inquiry was comprised of complexity theory’s complex adaptive systems framework to include project leadership, team dynamics, virtual communication environments, communication method selection, and the management organization as the integrating components that influenced complexity. Data was gathered through telephone interviews conducted with 14 certified project management professionals sourced from LinkedIn, all of whom experienced project complexity and communication challenges within the virtual environment. The resulting data transcripts were analyzed using NVivo 11. The research question was answered through the findings that revealed a central theme and sub-themes of managing complexity due to virtual environments and communication barriers. The research findings indicated sub-themes of five virtual environments experienced by the research participants, created by the type of communication tools’ attributes that were experienced. The virtual environments were established from the types of communication links by using specific tools, and not defined as the physical environments based on locations of the senders and receivers. Secondly, the research findings indicated sub-themes of internal environmental barriers that were created inside of the project teams by people, language, culture, training, and leadership. Thirdly, the research findings indicated sub-themes of external environmental barriers that were created outside of the project teams by executive leadership, organizational structure, and customer relationship. Fourth, the research findings indicated sub-themes of task and project outcomes included project failure, project success, and project recovery. The results of this study contributed to the business practice through the findings that indicated how the participants managed communication environments through implementing processes, leadership escalations, communication tool selection, reduced feedback delays of communication, and built relationships among the team members that were central to managing the complexity in virtual teams. In addition, this study contributed to research by providing a holistic description of the virtual environments, identification of communication environmental barriers, and consolidated understandings from other studies.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Braga, David
Commitee: Dunfee, Charlene, McKibbin, William J.
School: Capella University
Department: Business and Technology
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-A 80/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Business administration, Management, Communication
Keywords: Communication, Complexity, Project management, Team, Technology, Virtual
Publication Number: 10935768
ISBN: 9780438509375
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