The Affects of Behaviour Control Mechanisms On Trust in Virtual Teams
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Virtual Team members are characterised by a lack of face to face interaction resulting from the globally distributed nature of multinational networked organisational structures. This research examines the affect that behavioural control mechanisms used to monitor and control team member¿s task and performance within organisations has on trust in Virtual Teams. The objective of this research is to provide real world, empirical evidence to support key academic findings which indicated that behavioural control mechanisms do have a negative affect on trust in Virtual Teams. The research focuses on a single case study, based on Virtual Teams with members distributed in Ireland, South Africa and India. The research scope examines four key areas of Virtual Team research. In order to validate this research, a qualitative approach based on content analysis of project escalation emails was used. A sample was created using participant escalation emails logged over a four month period which were then coded and categorised according to behavioural attributes defined in the academic literature. Principal data findings of the email content analysis concluded that trust in Virtual Teams is affected by behavioural control mechanisms and in particular communication context relating to national culture. The main contribution of this research is it provides empirical support to existing theory and defines a new emerging phenomenon which is unique to Virtual Team theory, known as Negative Escalation, whereby email is used for malicious intent by Virtual team members resulting in the complete erosion of trust and subsequent emergence of distrust in Virtual Teams.