Virtual Team Member Perspectives: Importance of Performance Coaching, Mentoring, and Training for Personal Development

Virtual Team Member Perspectives: Importance of Performance Coaching, Mentoring, and Training for Personal Development

Author: 
Donna L. Edsall
Program of study: 
Ph.D./IO Psych
Abstract: 
The use of virtual teams in organizations is increasing, yet researchers know little about several of the human or interpersonal factors of virtual teams. Although research on virtual teams continues to increase, the available research does not include research findings based on a significant sample of workplace virtual team members, as opposed to virtual team research based on student populations. Research is limited on what team members consider important in the performance coaching and personal development processes as members of virtual teams. The purpose of the mixed methods study was to explore the perspectives of virtual team members about how performance coaching, mentoring, and training contribute to their personal development as a virtual team member. Participants for the current study are members of social network virtual team groups who have been members of virtual work teams. The sequential explanatory study data is from a sample of 149 virtual team members (12 for the pilot survey and 137 for the full study). The Kruskal-Wallis results, at a significance level of .05, produced a significance level of .014 for coaching and .008 for mentoring, to reject the null hypothesis and indicate a perceived positive contribution of performance development efforts (coaching and mentoring) on the personal development of individual virtual team members. Research on the interpersonal aspects of virtual teams from team members and consideration of team member perspectives on their personal development will provide organizations valuable information to improve virtual teams and the team member experience.
Dedication: 
I dedicate my dissertation in memoriam to Luis Barajas, my mentor and friend, who taught so many others and me how to lead by example and give back by coaching and mentoring others to be future leaders. I also dedicate my dissertation in memoriam to my father, Burr Edsall, who taught my siblings and me to be ourselves and choose our own path. Finally, I dedicate this dissertation to my supportive family and friends, in particular to my husband Jack Williams, and my mother, Warda Edsall. My husband and mother continuously encouraged and supported me, and never complained about the family time we lost so that I could complete the dissertation journey.
Acknowledgements: 
I wish to acknowledge the following people who have been instrumental in helping me accomplish this project. I wish to thank Dr. Kelley A. Conrad, my Chair and mentor, for his practical discussions, guidance, and critical support when I was unsure I could complete this journey. I also wish to thank my committee members, Dr. Leslie A. Miller and Dr. Amy C. Hakim. Dr. Miller helped me refine my draft, particularly the methodology, and pushed me to a higher standard in every aspect of the research proposal and project. Dr. Hakim coached and inspired me beginning with my Masters project, providing me hope that I was in the right program and could add value to Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology. Finally, I want to thank my colleagues over the years that helped me question the status quo and evaluate areas for workplace improvement. The virtual team members I led helped me build an understanding of the viability and importance of virtual teams. The questions and concerns about the people side of the workplace led me to pursue this academic adventure in I-O Psychology as a scientist-practitioner.