摘要：The thesis will address the importance and key role of e-leadership in trustbuilding within virtual project teams.The globalization and development of information and communication technologies have increased virtual collaborations and created new opportunities.Therefore,many projects are implementing in a computer-generated setting which developed the need for alternative leadership in a virtual environment.
Project management is a group of mindfully structured and detail planned actions to complete a specific one-time task.Projects are perceived and accomplished by a group of individuals,who are involved in a different process of project life-cycle.Accordingly,project management not only requires a well-organized and qualified project manager,but also a good leader who can lead the team successfully.
It is obvious that a strong virtual team starts with a strong leadership.The primary objective of leadership includes engaging people and leading them toward achieving and satisfying a certain goal.Trust is an essential element of successful leadership as it contributes to team engagement and supports to effective and consistent performance.The role of trust is especially critical in virtual settings because it is complicated to establish and sustain a relationship in a virtual environment where the members are geographically dispersed,influence is hard to articulate and there is a lack of face-to-face meetings and social interactions.
However,many e-leaders lack knowledge and strategies to build and sustain trust within virtual project teams,which affects overall performance and output.This thesis focuses on the main challenges,the success factors and the e-leadership strategies of building trust among virtual project team members.In other words,this research provides team leaders with information about how to effectively and strategically develop trust among team members that are geographically dispersed.
The first section of this study gives a background and explains the relevance of the topic.It defines the basic components of the thesis research.The second part presents research methodology.The third chapter refers to literature review;it focuses on the defining the main terms of this study and exploring the characteristics and role of e-leadership in building trust within virtual project teams.The fourth chapter is preinterview and pre-survey analysis section;it discusses the main possible trust-building challenges in virtual project teams,the needed skills and actions of e-leaders and the relevant implications and propositions.The results of this discussion were used as a basis for interview and survey question construction.The fifth chapter presents all general findings from surveys and interviews.Multi-structured interviews and surveys were used to explore e-leaders,team members and university-based scholars'perspectives about the challenges specific to the virtual context,leadership skills,actions and trust-building.Questionnaires were interconnected and used as part of triangles network method in order to include all perspectives and increase the cogency and feasibility of research findings.Hence,a mixed methods design was adopted.The six or last chapter of the thesis contains the overall discussions,conclusions,implications,and recommendation of the study.
The findings of this thesis research show that there are differences between the perspectives of team leaders and members.Because of specifies of virtual settings and nature of virtual projects the issue of task coordination is critical for trust building from team members'perspective.On the other hand,the technology-based communication and low social presence considered as critical by project managers.This can be explained by the complexity of establishing and developing trust in virtual settings and the weight of the contextual and individual factors that have a significant impact on how trust can be perceived and approached.The nature and peculiarities of virtual project teams encounter various challenges that make difficult to achieve trust.However,the use of techniques and models of e-leadership may reduce the constraints of these challenges and contribute to trust-building activities.