According to researchers, virtual teams are those that use virtual communication tools and have members with diverse roles, possibly in different physical locations. In addition, virtual teams are often convened on an ad-hoc basis, existing to solve a temporary task or challenge. As many organizations have begun operating through virtual teams, the current paper (Flavián et al., 2022) explores how personality traits, specifically extroversion and neuroticism, might influence the trust an employee places in their virtual team leader.
EMPLOYEE PERSONALITY AND VIRTUAL TRUST
Researchers (Flavián et al. 2022) collected survey data from 211 virtual team members. The results indicated that more extroverted virtual team members placed higher levels of trust in their leaders. Additionally, higher levels of trust were associated with commitment to the team. As extroverted individuals often have an enhanced ability to establish interpersonal relationships and interactions, this may explain why extroverted individuals tend to feel more comfortable and committed with their teams.
In addition, the researchers considered the degree of virtuality, or the extent that virtual communication methods were used on a team. They found that high degrees of virtuality may pose a challenge for people with high levels of neuroticism. People with high levels of neuroticism tend to experience greater negative emotions, which could have a harmful impact on trust. In this study, the findings suggested that when there was a higher degree of virtuality, there was a stronger association between neuroticism and lack of trust in the leader. Lastly, the results suggested that leader gender did not affect the impact of personality traits on trust.
PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS FOR ORGANIZATIONS
According to the authors, the findings of this study can help organizations better understand the personality dynamics that may affect performance on virtual work teams. In this light, the authors recommend giving any high complexity tasks to extroverted employees, who may be better equipped to handle virtual environments. They also say that organizations can attempt to limit the degree of virtuality for employees will lower emotional stability. Making these small changes may help maximize employee trust, commitment, and productivity.
Flavián, C., Guinalíu, M., & Jordán, P. (2022). Virtual teams are here to stay: How personality traits, virtuality and leader gender impact trust in the leader and team commitment. European Research on Management and Business Economics, 28(2), 100193.
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