Date of Award

Winter 2006

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering Management & Systems Engineering

Committee Director

Charles B. Keating

Committee Member

Rafael Landaeta

Committee Member

Ji Hyon Mun

Committee Member

Erol Ozman


The importance of effectiveness for virtual teamwork continues to gain momentum as technology and globalization of work accelerate. The implementation of virtual teams provides one approach to enhance competitiveness, overcoming the disadvantages of space and time differences through collaborative technologies. The influence of structure to virtual team performance has not been clearly established in the literature. The purpose of this research study was to investigate the effectiveness of a dyad structured approach for virtual teams using a quasi-experimental research design.

This research investigated four questions related to the influence of structure on virtual team effectiveness related to task performance, communication frequency, and team satisfaction. Research questions included: (1) How does a dyad structure influence virtual team performance?, (2) What is the impact of a dyad structure on virtual team effectiveness with respect to task outcome?, (3) What is the impact of a dyad structure on virtual team effectiveness with respect to team satisfaction?, and (4) What is the impact of dyadic communication on virtual team effectiveness in terms of reducing overflow communication?

The research approach was a quasi-experiment design to test the effect of a dyad structure, compared to self-structured, design on virtual team performance. A total of one-hundred eleven participants were placed in thirty-eight virtual teams, including dyad and self-structured assignments. The participants included graduate and undergraduate students from different universities in the US, Israel, Colombia, and the Netherlands. The teams completed a task using a web-based virtual environment, reached a team decision, and reported their satisfaction and perceptions of the experience through a self-reporting web-based survey. Hypotheses on task performance, team satisfaction, and the amount of communication were tested for differences between dyad structured and self-structured virtual teams. Statistical analyses were conducted to assess differences between the dyad and self-structured teams.

The results showed significance differences between the two virtual team structural configurations. Dyadic teams performed better in arriving at the task solution using less communication to finish the task. Dyadic teams were also more satisfied with their task solution than the self-structured teams. However, results indicated that dyadic teams were not satisfied with operating as a dyadic team in this study. The research also demonstrated that team satisfaction was the most significant predictor of virtual team effectiveness. The research document concludes with implications for further research and suggests guidance for improved effectiveness in design and implementation of virtual teams.