Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Robert Donmoyer, PhD; Fred J. Galloway, EdD; Robin McCoy, PhD


accountability, administrators, business school Master's program, business students, California, collaboration, conflict, Leadership studies, private universties, professors, shared goals, team charters, technology, virtual teamwork


A virtual team is an organizationally and/or geographically distributed group whose members use synchronous and asynchronous technologies to work collaboratively. A team charter is a document that describes how group members intend to behave and interact while working collaboratively. Team charters have been used to facilitate virtual teamwork. This study, which took place in a graduate-level business program at a private university in California, was designed to fill the gap in the literature about team charter usage by virtual teams consisting of business students. The students were required to create a team charter in the first semester of the program and were encouraged to create them in subsequent semesters. The following research questions guided this study: 1. What, if anything, do business students, grouped into virtual teams for the first time, report to be challenging about virtual teamwork? 2. How do business students, grouped into virtual teams for the first time, describe the process involved in creating their team charter, when required to? 3. How do business students who have collaborated in virtual teams for at least a semester assess the impact, if any, that team charters have on virtual teamwork? To address the research questions, 81 students in the business program were surveyed; twelve students, two professors, and two administrators were interviewed. Multiple regression analysis was used to analyze survey data; content analysis procedures were used to analyze interview data. Among other things, the findings suggest that team charters helped students identify shared goals and increase team-member accountability. Team charters also helped students manage conflict and operate more effectively. However, team charters typically require substantial time and effort to create, and many students did not opt to develop charters once they were only encouraged and not required to do so. The study was delimited to a single master's program, so the findings have limited generalizability, if generalizability is defined in a traditional way. However, the study provides ideas that can be used heuristically in other contexts, especially contexts in which professors and administrators are considering ways to improve virtual teamwork.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies