Global Virtual Team Performance: The Effect of Coordination Effectiveness, Trust, and Team Cohesion


Research problem: Subgroup formation in global virtual teams could negatively impact team performance due to difficulties in coordination, trust, and team cohesion. Research questions: What role do trust and team cohesion play in the relationship between coordination effectiveness and team performance of global virtual teams with two distinct subgroups? Literature review: Prior research suggests that coordination effectiveness on team performance is most strongly impacted by coordination of knowledge. This effectiveness is mediated by trust and team cohesion. However, we have a poor understanding of trust and team cohesion dynamics on intergroup relationships in global virtual teams. Methodology: A survey was conducted with 14 teams with a total of 112 participants in the US and India. The teams were tasked with evaluating customer-relationship-management best practices for a global environment. Results and discussion: We evaluated how the process of effective coordination for teams composed of two colocated subgroups is mediated by individual perceptions of out-group trust and overall team cohesion. Our findings show that individual trust and team cohesion share a reciprocal impact on each other, suggesting that effective coordination in virtual teams can create a positive feedback loop with trust and cohesion, improving overall project performance. Implications for theory and practice include the virtuous cycle that trust and cohesion create in global virtual team coordination and the necessity of establishing appropriate project coordination systems and processes to promote both aspects and, thus, achieve excellent project performance for colocated subgroups.

Publication Title

IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication