Date of Award
PhD in Business
Department of Management
Although the effects of ethical climate and trust on individual behavior have been investigated within organizations, understanding how this relationship unfolds within virtual teams has been largely overlooked. In response to this gap, I use social exchange theory to integrate research on ethical climate and trust to develop a model of individual virtual team member effort. Specifically, when virtual teams experience an event that disrupts existing work procedures and workflow, this can negatively affect levels of trust between teammates and jeopardize member contributions to the team. I argue that virtual team member perceptions of a caring (i.e., other-focused) ethical climate encourage social exchange and help sustain team-oriented effort subsequent to a disruption. Based on qualitative data from interviews with virtual team members and quantitative data from a study on undergraduate virtual teams, this model provides important insights into issues pertaining to team disruption in a context that is increasingly present in today's business settings. Further, the model offers theoretical insight into the roles of ethical climate and trust in the absence of face-to-face communication and provides practical alternative solutions for virtual team managers to optimize individual team member contributions.
Mullane, Kenneth, "What to Do Amid Disruption? Ethical Climate and Trust as Determinants of Virtual Team Member Effort" (2017). 2017. 1.