Original Research

A conceptual model to improve performance in virtual teams

Shopee Dube, Carl Marnewick
South African Journal of Information Management | Vol 18, No 1 | a674 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v18i1.674 | © 2016 Shopee Dube, Carl Marnewick | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 March 2015 | Published: 28 September 2016

About the author(s)

Shopee Dube, Department of Applied Information System, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Carl Marnewick, Department of Applied Information System, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


Background: The vast improvement in communication technologies and sophisticated project management tools, methods and techniques has allowed geographically and culturally diverse groups to operate and function in a virtual environment. To succeed in this virtual environment where time and space are becoming increasingly irrelevant, organisations must define new ways of implementing initiatives. This virtual environment phenomenon has brought about the formation of virtual project teams that allow organisations to harness the skills and knowhow of the best resources, irrespective of their location.

Objectives: The aim of this article was to investigate performance criteria and develop a conceptual model which can be applied to enhance the success of virtual project teams. There are no clear guidelines of the performance criteria in managing virtual project teams.

Method: A qualitative research methodology was used in this article. The purpose of content analysis was to explore the literature to understand the concept of performance in virtual project teams and to summarise the findings of the literature reviewed.

Results: The research identified a set of performance criteria for the virtual project teams as follows: leadership, trust, communication, team cooperation, reliability, motivation, comfort and social interaction. These were used to conceptualise the model.

Conclusion: The conceptual model can be used in a holistic way to determine the overall performance of the virtual project team, but each factor can be analysed individually to determine the impact on the overall performance. The knowledge of performance criteria for virtual project teams could aid project managers in enhancing the success of these teams and taking a different approach to better manage and coordinate them.


Virtual Teams; Team Performance; Project Management; Content Analysis


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