Chapter Seven. Building Trust in Virtual Teams

The ways in which virtual team members identify with one another, share power, communicate, and build trust are important in achieving team results and in the subjective experience of being a member of the team.[1] Effective virtual team members not only fulfill the team’s task objectives but also, in the process, contribute to a trusting relationship among themselves. Trust is a critical structural and cultural characteristic that influences the team’s success, performance, and collaboration.[2] Without trust, building a true team and maximizing output are almost impossible.

Because virtual teams, especially parallel, project, action, and network teams, often form and disband quickly, trust has to be built almost immediately. The qualities of the first interactions among team members set the tone. Indeed, first actions might impact long-term relationships not only on these types of teams but on longer-term functional teams.

Three Factors in Building “Instant” Trust in a Virtual Environment

The actions of the team leader and team members that affect trust fall into three categories.[3] Although trust is, to some extent, based on individual tolerances and experiences, people tend to trust others who perform competently, act with integrity, and display concern for the well-being of others. All three categories must exist consistently in order for a virtual team to sustain a high level of trust.

Performance Competence

Virtual teams exist to ...

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