Author ORCID Identifier

Deepak Khazanchi

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

American Journal of Business






Purpose – In an environment of constant technological change, the use of virtual teams has become commonplace for many organizations. Virtual teams (VTs) bring together dispersed individuals with varying knowledge and skill sets to accomplish tasks. VTs rely heavily on information technology as the medium for communication and coordination of work. The issue of establishing and maintaining trust in VTs poses challenges for these dispersed workers. Previous research has established that higher trusting teams have better cooperation and experience improved outcomes. We hope to contribute to the literature on trust in VTs by exploring how technology can facilitate high trusting teams. Specifically, this paper reports the results of our research addressing the following questions: How does the use of technology capabilities afforded by virtual worlds affect the development of trust in virtual teams?

Design/methodology/approach: We employed a multiple case study research design. Each case spanned a two-week period allowing for longitudinal data collection.

Findings: We found that communication, rendering, and interaction technology capabilities allowed participants to use the technology to assess individual capabilities. While this paper answers some questions about how technology capabilities can help develop trust in VTs, it also raises many questions. This study offers a model and framework for further work on this topic and encourages researchers to investigate other social and behavioral issues faced by VTs in a virtual world setting.

Originality/value: – This paper offers practical implications for developing trust in VTs, specifically, how the use of information technology capabilities can facilitate trust development. Our goal was not to recommend a specific technology platform, but rather explore how unique technology capabilities impact behaviors in VTs. The study identified interesting findings relating to how people use technology on a team. These findings may be used to help develop guidelines and recommendations for using technology to enhance work practices in VTs.


© Emerald Publishing Limited 2018

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