Trust, Collaboration, and Effectiveness in Virtual Teams
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The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the trend of organizations using virtual project teams to bring dispersed talent together, which has created unique challenges such as low group satisfaction and productivity (Kirkman et al., 2002). Using social information processing theory (Walther, 1992), this study investigates the impact that trust has on a virtual team’s ability to collaborate by examining the concepts of swift trust (Meyerson et al., 1996) and transactive memory systems [TMSs] (Wegner, 1987). Data was collected from virtual groups participating in a group communication simulation at a mid-sized university. The results found that while swift trust was associated with perceived TMS strength, this effect was moderated by the cognition-based trust in the late stages of the group. Swift trust was also found to be unrelated to effectiveness in the early stages of a group. These results suggest that trust is a vital element in the development of virtual team member relationships and the group’s ability to collaborate.