Dissertation defence (International Business): MBA Sirja Sulakatko

MBA Sirja Sulakatko defends the dissertation in International Business titled “Individual competencies and organisational support mechanisms to enhance virtual team success” at the University of Turku on 31 May 2024 at 12.00 (Turku School of Economics, Lähitapiola Lecture Hall, Rehtoripellonkatu 3, Turku).

Opponent: Dr. Jakob Lauring (Aarhus University, Denmark)
Custos: Dr. Peter Zettinig (University of Turku)

The audience can participate in the defence by remote access: https://echo360.org.uk/section/99e95654-4738-48e3-a424-6890e9e0b55f/public

Doctoral Dissertation at UTUPub: https://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-29-9712-1


Summary of the Doctoral Dissertation:

Virtual teams enable organizations to tap into global talent, respond quickly to market changes, and cut costs on travel and physical spaces. However, virtual team members face challenges such as communication difficulties, trust issues, and coordination problems, created by the absence of physical interaction. This can hinder the sharing of implicit knowledge and affect team dynamics.

The dissertation employs a critical realism and case study approach to provide a detailed understanding of the interplay between individual capabilities and organizational factors in virtual settings, as a means for overcoming the challenges.

Informed by extensive literature review and interviews with 24 professionals working in virtual teams, it develops a comprehensive framework categorizing the competencies needed for effective virtual teamwork in five interrelated categories: virtual collaboration, virtual communication, self-regulation, digital tools, and virtual leadership.

Furthermore, using the Self-Determination Theory, the study suggests that aligning individual abilities with organizational support mechanisms (such as the right culture, leadership, appropriate digital tools, etc.) enhances the application of individual competencies crucial for virtual team success.

Finally, the current study proposes three interconnected research streams to further explore the dynamics of virtual teams, focusing on constraints, individual characteristics, and organizational support mechanisms, highlighting the need for congruency among these factors to increase virtual teams success. The dissertation offers a comprehensive framework for understanding these dynamics, providing insights for researchers interested in virtual team-related topics as well as organizations aiming to maximize their virtual team potential.
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