Knowledge of multicultural virtual project teams

CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION
 
Chapter 1 examines the background of virtual working, knowledge of multicultural virtual project teams, and the purpose of this study will be presented.

Background

Virtual working has been receiving significant attention since the late 1990s as telecommuting and teleworking had just started with the emergence of new information technologies. The nature of work has completely transformed due to globalisation, technological advancement, diversity and demographics. In the last 20 years, trends point to the fact that many employees have moved towards virtual work (Newman & Ford, 2020). Global Workplace Analytics conducted a survey that testifies that remote working is clearly on the rise, with 91% growth globally during the last decade. With the enhancement of information technology and increased internet usage, the virtual project team has become a robust structure in the current business environments globally.
On March 11 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared “COVID 19” as a pandemic, causing loss of life globally and becoming a significant economic crisis affecting everyone, leading everyone to rethink many aspects of their lives. The pandemic forced all countries across the globe to put travel bans, lockdowns, and restrictions on gatherings, questioning even the most traditional working models. Even the most rigid traditional organisations were forced to move to virtual working. COVID 19 became the natural disruption no one asked for but accelerated the adoption of remote working.
Currently, people participate in various projects which are done remotely in different geographical locations. This has led to radical changes in organisations design and multicultural workforce, which affects team performance. However, with the adoption of an effective leadership style, the team or project leaders can achieve project success and good interactive relationships in the virtual workplace. Project leaders assist in coordinating, communicating, directing and creating teams vision adopting various leadership styles. Any project leader’s leadership style affects the team’s morale, performance, and satisfaction, eventually influencing the multicultural virtual project teams’ effectiveness.
In the first part, we will have a brief overview of multicultural virtual project teams, followed by a literature review on leadership styles, strategy for leading an effective virtual project team, and the last part will contain the research methodology followed by the conclusion.
 

Multicultural Virtual Project Teams

According to Ebrahim, Ahmed & Taha (2009), the virtual team was established in the mid-1990. Katzenbach & Smith (1993, p47) defines a team as a “small number of people with complementary skills committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually responsible”. Building on this definition, Opdenakker & Cuypers (2019, p39) defined a virtual team “as a team characterised by geographical dispersion of the members, who rely only to a limited extent on face-to-face communication”. Looking at the current scenario, many people have been forced to work in the virtual team because of the pandemic, even when they are residing or working in the same neighbourhood. Co-located teams can also present different virtuality levels since geographic dispersion is not the only level that defines a virtual team (Kirkman & Mathieu, 2005). We can agree that virtual organisations are an extension of traditional physical and structural b ed groups, enabled by technological advancements (Panteli & Chiasson, 2008).
The virtual team became inevitable due to the increase in exporting business by the United States-based companies to Asia and Europe, forcing the management to integrate into a global human resource practice (Ebrahim, Ahmed & Taha, 2009). Due to increased globalisation and competition, organisations are pursuing to reduce the cycle time, remove bureaucratic leadership style and improve the services by empowering the employees to take responsibilities from home. The steady increase in globalisation and information communication technology has led to the massive adoption of virtual teams by multinational organisations to facilitate project team among employees in various geographical locations. As globalisation has increased, multicultural teams have become an integral part of organisations (Zander & Butler, 2010).
According to Morley, Cormican & Folan (2015), a virtual team covers a wide range of project activities and methods of information communication technology-supported activities. Virtual project teams extend across cultures, organisations and geographical boundaries as employees are based in different geographical locations. The technology-enabled virtual teams consist of members who can cover multiple institutions, time-zones, regional areas and cultures (Morley, Cormican & Folan, 2015). Virtual project teams distinguish temporary lifetime and membership, space dispersal, and use of primarily computer-mediated networking infrastructure.
There are several advantages of virtual project teams in comparison with traditional teams. The networking technology design encourages members to participate from their homes or offices, keeping work flexible. This flexibility encourages team members’ greater involvement as they are not required to spend many hours working together like they do in a physical-traditional team. The virtual project teams provide organisations with incentives such as improved working time and 24-hour availability of staff. Organisations moving to virtual teams can reduce their real estate expenses, enhance global presence, reduce carbon footprint, boost productivity & profits (Piccoli, Powell & Ives, 2004). Also, acquiring the best international talent regardless of the employee location becomes possible due to virtual team (Zakaria, Amelinckx & Wileman, 2004). The potential benefits of high virtuality on an individual level include increased versatility and time management along with better responsibilities, job motivation and team members empowerment (Morley, Cormican & Folan, 2015, p.190). It also improves the work-life balance among the team members as they can control the number of working and time-off hours as per convenience.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Research Objectives

There have been various analyses of leaderships in the virtual team, and its evolution as globalisation and technology lead humankind into the 21st century. This paper aims to study leadership styles in today’s scenario where virtual teams are relevant more than ever before, with people working together on projects come from different backgrounds, time-zones, and different mindsets. The paper will also explore the leadership styles that are most effective in such scenarios, taking into consideration the paradigm shift in the working environment due to COVID 19. For example, applying traditional leadership styles in a multicultural virtual project team, which has a newly adopted strategy, can be daunting because of many geographical, psychological and time barriers. It has also been proven that poor leadership in virtual teams can lead to poor relationships, low morale, and, eventually, a project’s potential failure. This paper also aims to address these issues and why selecting an effective leadership style is crucial for a virtual project team’s success.
With more and more organisations depending on the virtual project team to achieve success, leadership must identify a leadership style that allows the virtual project team to be successful and effective. The issue of leadership in virtual project teams is essential, particularly to those planning to have a global presence. The research will review and build on already identified leadership concerns in the virtual project team and help leaders create clear communication, trust and selecting appropriate technological tools for virtual team success.
 

CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE REVIEW
The leader’s project leadership style influences a virtual team’s effectiveness as they possess various skills and qualities that impact team performance. “Leadership is an ability meaning a leader has a capacity to do something through his talent and skill. In other words, leadership is the ability to motivate and inspire subordinates” (Tang, 2019, p.1). Tang (2019) further states that leadership style is the leader’s method to provide direction, implement a plan, and motivate to ensure the virtual team’s effectiveness. Various leadership styles, such as coaching, transformational, and transactional, have a high impact on virtual team effectiveness.
 
2.1 Historical Development of Leadership Theories
The increasing adoption of evolved systems and technology in the world today has significantly impacted leadership and management. According to Zander and Butler (2010), various leadership theories have been developed over the years to illustrate management behaviours and the role of leaders in shaping organisational cultures. Hunt and Fedynich (2019) conclude that the current global trends have created a high demand for evolved leadership systems, which are best understood through the various leadership theories. Further, Badshah (2012) states that the systematic nature of contemporary issues has necessitated this demand experienced since the 19th century. Thus, the historical development of leadership theories has significantly been influenced by inputs from scholars determined to explore and exploit emerging management concerns.
 
2.1.1 The Great Man Theory
This theory primarily focuses on a leader as the hero. It was first suggested by Thomas Carlyle in 1840. However, a contrasting illustration of the idea was described by Herbert Spencer (Badshah, 2012). Spencer suggested that social conditions shape heroic leadership, a perspective that resonated with prior scholarly depictions of a true leader, including Aristotle, Plato and Machiavelli (Badshah, 2012). Hunt and Fedynich state that the Great Man theory was more prominent in the 1900s, with various other assumptions about leadership being coined to fit its perspectives (Hunt and Fedynich, 2019). Heroic leadership in this decade was particularly more rampant beyond organisational management with applications of the theory in other disciplines such as politics and social struggles (Badshah, 2012).
2.1.2 The Trait Theory
The transformational view of leadership has had various conflicting stands through the trait theory. Whereas many individuals believed that a leader was significantly shaped by their internal factors (traits), Badshah (2012) explains that others though that external factors, such as behaviour, contributed more to leadership styles. She further explains that the external expression of leadership was an essential consideration in applying the trait theory for maximum effectiveness (Badshah, 2012).
Essentially, the trait theory was derived from the intrinsic relationship between a leader and their internal attributes, which created the context of leadership (Zander and Butler, 2010; Badshah, 2012). Thus, this theory significantly held that a leader is shaped by virtue of the combination of traits they possess. The assumption that leaders hold specific characteristics has significantly been applied over the years to identify potential leaders from a set of defined features.
 
2.1.3 Behavioural Theory
Like the trait theory, this theory has significantly shaped the perception of leadership with a keen focus on what a potential leader has or should have. According to Le Blanc, Gonzalez-Roma, and Wang (2020), the behavioural theory suggests that external behaviours of an individual significantly help in distinguishing between leaders and followers. According to this theory, the behavioural expression of leadership is a critical aspect that contributes to understanding both task and relationship-oriented leaders (Le Blanc, Gonzalez-Roma and Wang, 2020). Badshah (2012) adds that the behavioural expression has been analysed through the relevance of leaders engagement with their followers to measure effectiveness by applying this theory in management.
However, Cropanzano, Dasborough and Weiss (2017) state that various contradictions also emerged in this theory, including the question of nature versus nurture. Critics of the behavioural theory posed a challenging question asking if leaders are born, or individuals can learn to be leaders. The scholars explain that behavioural theory did not effectively address this dilemma, hence developing a new theory, the contingency theory (Cropanzano, Dasborough and Weiss, 2017).
 
2.1.4 The Contingency Theory
The trait and behavioural theory significantly created contextual variables that needed to be addressed in understanding leadership and the role of leaders. Hunt and Fedynich (2019) explain that this contingency theory was primarily coined from this development, thus addressing environmental factors, experiences, involved individuals, the nature of the organisation, and required tasks. With these provisions, this theory suggested that there is no universally appropriate single leadership style.
To contribute to this understanding, Cropanzano, Dasborough, and Weiss (2017) explain that one of the key supporters of this theory, Fred Fiedler, identified three leadership components: leader-member relations, position power and task structure. Thus, the understanding of leadership context based on task-oriented and relationship-oriented was considerably influenced by contingency theory (Cropanzano, Dasborough and Weiss, 2017). Similarly, the perception of leadership styles being influenced by developmental levels was a key provision through this theory, as suggested in the situational research of Hershey and Blanchard (1969) (Badshah, 2012). However, as the supporters of this theory aged out, it became less popular, and interest in it significantly dropped (Cropanzano, Dasborough and Weiss, 2017).
 
2.1.5 Leader-Follower Theory
The role of followers in leadership has been widely viewed as a contextual variable. Thus, this theory functioned as a natural extension of the contingency theory. Badshah (2012) explains that this theory significantly deviated from the mechanism of the Great Man theory, which specified that the leader led from the front as a heroic driving force. Various scholarly provisions contributed to the understanding of this theory. One of the most significant contribution was from Robert Greenleaf, who introduced servant leadership (Badshah, 2012).
Zhang et al. (2019) explain that Greenleaf focused on the leadership choice to serve ones followers, thus empowering them to exert maximum effort to realise their full potential. Similarly, Badshah (2012) adds that Graen and Uhl-Bien (1995) contributed to this theory by introducing and describing the leader-member exchange theory. In this provision, trust and respect between leaders and their subjects form the basis for high quality relations (Cropanzano, Dasborough and Weiss, 2017). Such ties have been proven to produce better leadership outcomes, according to empirical studies. In contrast, Badshah (2012) explains that lower quality relations correspond to contractual and transactional obligations.
 
 
2.2 Leadership Styles
Historically, people have always aimed to become good leaders. According to Bass (2008), “leadership” can be traced back to the beginning of civilisation. But in today’s world, leaders of organisations are aimed to achieve commercial goals and its success is directly linked to leadership (Doyle & Smith, 2011). Hence, leadership occupies a sensitive position in the business organisation because effective leadership practices are necessary (Tang, 2019). Zaccaro & Klimoski (2002) state that successful organisational team performance depends on the effective team and leadership processes.
 
2.2.1 Transformational Leadership
Transformational project leadership inspires a team with a shared future vision of achieving their goals and objectives. The inspiring component is the imagination of leaders rather than the personality. A transformative leadership style’s great strength is its determination and passion (Hodgkinson, 2009). Motivated teams, therefore, require relatively little oversight and are very constructive and creative.
Yukl (2019) described transformational leaders as influential leaders who transform the team members by appealing to their emotions and principles. This helps the team build confidence in themselves despite their cultural difference and geographical location. This led to increased team members satisfaction and trust among members, which is key to effective and efficient projects. Transformational leaders show various features such as boosting subordinate consciousness, helping team members have self-interest, and finding self-realisation and improvement (Khan et al., 2014).
According to Keegan and Den Hartog (2004), transformation leaders are associated with identifying the strong relationship between leaders and team members based on more than just project-related activities. The project leader enhances the virtual team’s effectiveness through its diversity of inspiring and motivating team members. Leaders are perceived as controlling and managing a diverse set of people’s cultures despite having little direct control over them and the workforce’s nature (Keegan & Den Hartog, 2004).
Transformational leaders strengthen the credibility, confidence and excitement of the interactive team members that can directly influence team efficiency (Kunos and Kariman, 2019). Transformational leadership still communicates with strong expectations and is assured that the stimulated team’s success can achieve its objectives (Keegan & Den Hartog, 2004). Effective communication is the key to a successful virtual project team since members do not engage in face-to-face communication and depend on information technology communication system.
Charisma is one of the best features of transformational leaders as most are led with vision, conviction and personal belief. They are also considered risk-taking and visionary, leading the team members in times of change (Hogue, 2015). Team members feel a sense of admiration, trust, and loyalty towards the leader because of their qualities (Tang, 2019). It also enables the leader to inspire and motivate team members, which is the core aspect of bringing members together. It also helps build trust among members despite working in different geographical locations. According to Hogue (2015), trust in a virtual team is just as crucial, but it can be more challenging to accomplish since virtual teams are necessarily constrained in their contact with themselves.
According to Bass (1985), transformational leadership has four dimensions attributed to effective project work. The first is idealised attributes, where leaders make decisions that incorporate others ideas (Keegan & Den Hartog, 2004). Leaders go beyond their interest to serve the team’s interest due to the example they set for others (Khan et al., 2014). Also, an idealised leader provides a clear vision and a sense of belonging, motivating the project members to buy into the team’s long-term goals and objectives and drive them to achieve the team mission and vision.
The second dimension is inspiration motivation, where leaders focus on improving team effectiveness by raising team morale enhanced through motivational and inspirational techniques. Leaders provide the necessary support to team members to envision an attractive future, which helps their followers focus on overall team goals and objectives rather than individual goals (Khan et al., 2014). Leaders also communicate high expectations from the team, which helps the team be committed to a shared team belief.
Thirdly, individualism consideration, where leaders work to create a supportive and diverse work environment where individual differences are respected and celebrated. It improves multicultural virtual teamwork that the workforce support and respect each other’s cultural differences and honour them. Leaders act as a coach to help build a diverse environment and support individual team members to realise their strength (Khan et al., 2014). Leaders also act as mentors who listen to the team’s concerns and needs while empowering them to achieve team goals and objectives.
The last aspect is intellectual stimulation which creates an open and diverse working environment that encourages the team to be more innovative and develop new ideas for the team and themselves (Keegan & Den Hartog, 2004). It is one of the perfect leaderships in virtual teamwork as members are given a platform to express their creativity and innovation by approaching situations differently (Khan et al., 2014). Team members choose to challenge their beliefs and value by choosing a different path from others while achieving the overall team goals and objectives.
Leaders who use these transformational leadership dimensions are more likely than depending on the existing situation to involve their staff in strategic thought. For a variety of reasons, this type of leadership is helpful to a stimulated team. First, virtual team leaders need to be qualified to promote a shared goal (Clouner, 2018). Alignment of targets is a difficult task for virtual teams, and transformative leaders should use idealised influence to create cohesion with the team towards its priorities.
Second, transformative leadership aspects are ideally tailored to overcoming the obstacle of virtual team inspiration. These leaders inspire passion, mentor, and build loyalty among their team members that will motivate them. According to Clouner (2018), even though transformational leaders succeed in developing the confidence, vision, and trust they need for effective virtual teams, they will battle to create the framework required for a virtual team’s performance. It requires leaders to be more creative in developing and communicating the team vision rather than relying only on team inspiration to overcome challenges.
 
2.2.2 Transactional Leadership
Transactional leadership mainly operates within the organisation or team culture in compliance with existing laws, protocols and practices. The transactional leader’s goal is to build upon already existing routines and procedures, making them more efficient and increase productivity (Husain et al., 2017). The transaction leader must explain the correct way of role structure to ensure that the leader is in charge of the desired problem resolution (Kunos & Kariman, 2019). Leaders who use this style are known to improve new strategic approaches to structure their team and tackle a problem within their company, particularly for the virtual team members when working in the different geographical position map.
According to Hogue (2015), a transactional leader influences the virtual team’s effectiveness by developing a clear structure for the team, explaining what is expected of them, and rewarding them to understand what motivates team members. Achieving the fixed team goals and objective is through the adopted reward system as it encourages followers to improve performance. According to Khan et al. (2014), empowering and inspiring team members is appealing to their self-interest, such as personal development, reward system, and supporting their ideas and creativity under the transactional leadership style.
According to Hogue (2015), transactional leaders emphasise two-way communication rather than one-way communication. This improves team effectiveness as the member can contribute to team decision-making and enhances interpersonal communication among members, which plays a significant role in bringing the team together despite the geographical difference. Leaders can perceive team members to strengthen trustworthiness among themselves by creating an open environment with two-way communication.
According to Khan et al., (2014), transactional exhibits three central behaviour that helps develop an effective team. First is a conditional reward, where the leader associates a reward system with team performance. The leader motivates the team members by appealing to their self-interest by offering benefits (Yukl, 2019). Leaders who demonstrate this kind of behaviour can link the project team’s effectiveness by achieving their goals and objectives. Therefore, members are rewarded based on performance and effort directed toward achieving the team goals and objectives. Also, leaders focus more on recognising team members accomplishments to enhance consistency in performance.
The second aspect is active supervision, which allows the leader to play an active role in teamwork activities. Active leaders observe continuously to enable team members to take action in circumstances that are possibly troublesome until significant adverse effects on the team and its success are rendered (Hogue, 2015). It enables the leader to be part of the solution and changes that the strategic plan can quickly respond to any challenges. The leader applies the rules if protocols are not followed to ensure that the team culture is observed.
Lastly is passive management by exception, which involves the leader coming in when problems occur to provide solutions or if the strategic plan diverts. A transactional leader does not take an active role in the team activities, reducing team interaction and confidence of their leaders (Hogue, 2015). However, it enables the leader to develop and manage the strategies plan and offer guidance to achieve the team goals and objectives.
These aspects enable transaction leaders to excel in structured environments and incorporate structures, processes, and strategies through their leadership teams. The focus is to more on short-term objectives and eagerness to achieve them easily. This will benefit virtual teams, as it is essential to communicate and establish consistent goals for autonomous teams’ performance (Clouner, 2021). As conditional incentives are central to transactional leadership, leaders who use this approach must surpass obstacles to monitor success and reward team members who do not have a face-to-face relationship.
 
2.2.3 Situational Leadership
Situational leadership offers a different style that is perfect for different situations witnessed within the virtual project team. Goleman (2000) suggests that leaders who apply more than one style depending on the business situation are the ones to deliver the best results. According to Barron and Burke (2014), an effective leader should be flexible enough to use different leadership styles depending on their team members’ workplace environment situation and working experience. Successful leaders are quick to change their leadership styles to adapt to the situation change enhancing the virtual team effectiveness.
According to Nassif (2017), situational leadership utilises contingency theory to handle different project management challenges in the virtual team. The contingency theory combines the aspects of cross-culture, social, organisational factors, and leadership to understand the aspects of a successful multicultural project structure (Nassif, 2017). Situational leaders use the contingency theory in understanding different cultural practices to help navigate other cultural aspects in leading the virtual team toward accomplishing the team goals and objectives.
According to Barron & Burke (2014), situational leaders can use four primary leadership styles to help direct and support their project team members. The first style is directing, which is effective when the project team members have low skills and competencies to deal with the situation but are committed and enthusiastic. Most team members need direction and supervision in the wake of difficult situation or events in the virtual work environment to boost team productivity.
Secondly, the coaching style is effective for the team members who have the required skills and competencies to complete the project but lack motivation and commitment to accomplish the task goals and objectives (Barron & Burke, 2014). The team member needs more coaching to offer direction and supervision as they are relatively inexperienced in handling the different situation. The team members also need more training and support to build self-esteem and involvement in decision-making to experience different conditions in the team workplace environment.
The third aspect is the supporting leadership style, which is effective from team members who have everything it takes to achieve the set goal and objectives but lacks confidence and motivation. According to Barron & Burke (2014), most team members do not need more direction as they have experienced but require leadership support to develop their skills and competencies required to improve confidence and motivation. The leaders can enhance the team’s effectiveness by handling the different situations that may delay their success through supporting the team and improving their confidence in decision making.
The last style is delegating leadership style, which is effective when the team members have what it takes to accomplish the task and commit to achieving the set goals and objectives. However, the leader needs to delegate some tasks and responsibilities to some members to effectively deal with different team activities (Barron & Burke, 2014). The team member can drive to work on the project even when they are challenging event and only needing little assistance and support from the leaders.
 
2.2.4 Democratic Style
Mostly, the virtual workforce team members like to have control and freedom while performing their duties and responsibilities by setting their time and workload. Democratic leadership is best suited when the team members are skilled and equally eager to contribute to the objectives (Tang, 2019). According to Barron & Burke (2014), democratic leaders provide space for team members by allowing them to contribute to decision-making that impacts their working in the virtual project team. By getting people to contribute, a leader builds trust, respect, commitment driving up flexibility and responsibility (Goleman, 2000).
Leaders who adopt a democratic leadership style spend most of their time and resources building trust, respect, and commitment to the project team. They exploit the developed trust and respect with members to achieve the team project goals and objectives. According to Barron & Burke (2014), the democratic leadership style is effective when the leader is not sure of the direction and needs to seek the member’s views affected by the final decision or generate new creativity executing the vision. The leader is transparent, shares information with the team members, and obtains their opinions before making a final decision ensuring equality in the virtual project team.
Democratic leadership motivates the project team as they are involved in the decision-making, and their views are included in the final decision leading to better problem solutions. It improves the project team effectiveness as members are motivated to be part of the work and their effort recognised (Barron & Burke, 2014). However, the style may be ineffective when dealing with an emergency requiring quick decision-making from the leader. The leaders waste more time consulting the project team in the best way, leading to endless meetings without any agreement, wasting time and resources, which eventually delays final decision-making.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Strategy for Leading Effective Virtual Teams

Virtual work environment changes leadership roles, leading to the emergence of new leadership standards (Tovey, Southard & Bates, 2005). Even after having the best people working for you, you, a leader, feel challenged due to the inability to observe. Traits used in leadership styles like personality and charisma might not work well in the virtual project team. Hence, special attention is given to leadership in virtual teams as you do not meet the people you work with regularly (Piccoli, Powell & Ives, 2004).
Virtual project teams are decentralised and can be challenging due to different time zones and self-management of the work, requiring effective leadership to achieve success. Clouner (2018) states that a virtual project team’s effectiveness depends on several factors affected by the type of adopted leadership. Based on various literature, building trust among the team members is the vital factor that improves team effectiveness. The leader has to take the first steps towards building trust in the virtual team by creating clear expectations to improve teamwork and efficiency. According to Lepsinger & DeRosa (2010), virtual team leaders reported that the lack of face-to-face interactions makes it challenging to build trust and engagement. Leaders who build trust among multicultural virtual project teams lead to effective team projects to facilitate relationship building (Clouner, 2018).
Secondly, the virtual project team needs to emphasise clear and timely communication. According to Clouner (2018), virtual team members need to establish an effective communication channel and tools efficient for every member to facilitate interaction and discussion among the team members. These rules and tools must be developed that are exclusive to a team; otherwise, they may not be effective to the virtual team and may not serve the team’s objectives. A leader also needs to create a presence with the use of information technology communication.
Thirdly, team members need to develop strong cohesion that facilitates interpersonal relationships. As an influencer, the leader needs to ensure that efficiency and motivation are cultivated in the virtual teams. Leaders must take additional measures to allow the team members to meet and build a healthy working relationship (Clouner, 2018). Lastly, the leaders must set clear expectations of the virtual team to help bring members who share the project’s same vision and objective. Byrd (2019) states that virtual leaders need to acknowledge the difference between traditional and virtual leadership. According to Clouner (2018), creating a virtual team is a technique to ensure that all team members recognise its function and position.

Summary

The literature review provides evidence of how different leadership styles affect the multicultural virtual project team’s effectiveness. The primary leadership style used to enhance the virtual team’s effectiveness is the transformational style. Leaders can quickly adapt to new changes and motivate members to achieve set goals and objectives. Transformational leaders present various behaviours such as idealised influence, inspirational motivation, charisma, intellectual stimulation and individualised consideration. Transactional is another effective leadership style offering efficiency in virtual team performance. Other major leadership style includes democratic and situational leadership. The virtual team’s effectiveness depends on effective communication, building trust and setting clear directions.

Research Questions

This research explores the leadership of multicultural virtual teams and examines which leadership style they find most compelling. Two research questions will lead the following study: 1) How does a project leadership style affect the multicultural virtual project team? 2) Which leadership style is most effective to achieve project success in a multicultural virtual project team? These questions can provide organisations with solutions to manage change from a traditional to a virtual team and, at the same time, suggest techniques to leaders already working in the virtual team. This will benefit leaders and team members alike to understand an effective multicultural virtual project team’s workings.

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