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Title: Performance and the virtual team
Authors: Herbert, Martin
Issue Date: 2000
Publisher: © Martin Herbert
Abstract: The need to improve our understanding of the influence of team member proximity on team performance has been driven by the rise in dominance of the project team as an organisational design choice. This can be seen as reflecting the wider socio-economic changes that are taking place across me world relating to the manner in which business to business transactions and relationships are developed and conducted. The changes taking place can be seen occurring against four themes of pace, competition, the formation of strategic alliances, and restructuring of organisations.Clients, who consider themselves to be global in scope, are placing increasing demands on the construction industry in the UK and elsewhere to offer construction related services irrespective of geographical location. New communications technologies are being seen by many global corporations as the means by which they can choose from a global pool of suppliers and vendors rather than a historically local resource pool. The aim of this study is to identify the critical success factors that contribute most to the performance of design & construction teams within the UK construction industry and to develop greater understanding of the influence of team member proximity on team performance. The study follows a deductive approach to answer the former, and an inductive approach in answering the latter. This study develops, through an extensive review of existing literature, a ranking study involving leading UK construction organisations, and with the contribution of leading subject matter experts, an initial theoretical framework model of team working. The initial theoretical framework is based on five properties: team functions; team support factors; the temporal development of the team; environmental and project influences; and team performance indicators. The framework is used as the basis of the a-priori constructs for development of a mid-range theory of a-spatial team performance. The a-spatial team performance theory is based on case research involving teams with varying degrees of spatial dispersion. This study rejects as technologically deterministic the view that cross-organisational, cross-cultural, a-spatial teams will reach and sustain high performance by augmenting close physical proximity with information and communication technologies. The a-spatial team performance theory states that the greater the degree of geographical dispersion of team members, then greater is the likelihood that the team will take longer to move past the relationship building stages of its development lifecycle. The theory also states that increasing the geographical dispersal of team members will reduce the degree to which team members can interact, collaborate and communicate effectively. The theory places significant emphasis on the need for teams to share a common purpose, share similar experiences and to be physically co-located at times in order to forge a sense of belonging and identity. The a-spatial team performance theory conversely suggests that as project complexity increases, the likelihood of the team being a-spatial in configuration increases. This brings with it a greater demand on the use of information and communication technologies to augment organisational, cultural, geographic and temporal boundaries.
Description: A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/11185
Appears in Collections:PhD Theses (Civil and Building Engineering)

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