Trust as a Factor of Virtual Leadership : How Significant is it in Swedish Organisations?

University essay from Högskolan i Jönköping/Internationella Handelshögskolan; Högskolan i Jönköping/Internationella Handelshögskolan; Högskolan i Jönköping/Internationella Handelshögskolan


Teams can be a fundamental part of an organisational structure. A virtual team is characterised by having its team members spread across different locations, but they remain interdependent in their tasks. Nowadays, virtual teams have become more common as it is an effective way to share resources and remain competitive on the market. However, as virtual teams being a relatively new concept, it is still in need of a well-defined role of leadership.

Recently, researchers have begun to realise that certain key factors exists within virtual leadership that facilitate and drive the success of teamwork within the virtual environment. For example, in order to function, a virtual team is dependent on technology, which classifies as a factor of virtual leadership. Other factors are communication, goal setting, leadership behaviour, and trust.

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the significance of trust within virtual teams in Swedish organisations. Furthermore, it is also the aim of this thesis to investigate trust as a factor of virtual leadership and its relation to other factors of effective virtual leadership.

To evaluate the significance of trust as a factor of leadership, we collected data by doing semi-structured interviews with four representatives from four organisations. This work process is influenced by a hermeneutic epistemology and we report our findings from these interviews in a narrative manner. Furthermore, we have adopted an inductive approach similar to grounded theory in order to analyse the data and to reach our conclusions.

Our point of origin was that trust is the most significant of the leadership factors. However, our thesis concludes that communication is in fact the more significant of the different factors of virtual leadership. Without proper communication, none of the other factors carries any substance. Good communication yields trust and so does the other factors if they are well executed through proper communication. In that sense, all factors are interdependent within Swedish Organisations.

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