People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 31

and effective communication among team members must be
developed. One critical component of developing robust communication across virtual teams is to ensure team members
have a high level of team trust. Accepted definitions of high
team trust1 typically include several components:
* Team members expect other members to follow through
on commitments and interdependencies.
* There is a willingness to be vulnerable when
uncertainty arises.
* Team members are confident that others take action
for the good of the team.
This is important. These definitions highlight not only the
reliance upon team members to take appropriate actions on
behalf of the team, but also the recognition that such reliance
requires a certain amount of risk-taking on the part of other
team members.

Benefits of Trust

Building trusting relationships is central to success in virtual
teams because people who trust their peers are more likely to demonstrate risk-taking behaviors that enable team
excellence. It may not be immediately obvious or intuitive,
but many of the accelerators of success put team members in
vulnerable, risky positions.
Revisiting our definition of team trust, remember that
openness to vulnerability is a primary characteristic of hightrust teams. Thus, taking risks is more likely in a high-trust environment. When team members can be confident that other
members have their back and will ultimately support the team,
fear can take a backseat to action. Furthermore, trust creates
an environment where employees are willing to take the risk
of investing their own time and resources in activities that
support other members of the team, such as helping a teammate complete an urgent request or resolve an unforeseen
reporting error.2 Ultimately, when trust is lacking, so are these
types of team behaviors that accelerate success. Even sharing
opinions or bringing new information to the team can put an
individual at risk of embarrassment or loss of credibility, making it essential for teams to find ways to bridge trust gaps.

Barriers to Trust

Indeed, trust is essential to relationship building and knowledge-sharing in any team with research showing a particularly strong relationship between trust and virtual team
performance.3 The paradox here is that while trust has been
shown to be more important to team effectiveness in virtual
teams, virtual team members are more susceptible to mistrust
than their counterparts in face-to-face teams for a variety of
reasons.
The barriers to trust in virtual teams are contextual and
predominantly arise from the inherent challenges of geographical dispersion. Situational factors that contribute to
mistrust include:
* Time zone differences limit opportunities for synchronous
communication methods that enable immediate responding (e.g., phone or video chats).
* Geographical distance results in some team members feeling more/less connected to the team than others.

* Direct visibility to team member work and
contributions is limited.
* Lack of face-to-face interaction inhibits perception of
non-verbal cues and reactions, which can cause uncertainty or fear of unwarranted criticism.4
* Fewer informal interaction opportunities limit rapport-building and create a lack of opportunities to break
down in-group/out-group barriers that lead to faultlines.5
In addition to situational factors, it is also important to recognize that dispersed teams may often face additional hurdles
to trust formation, such as language and cultural differences.

Building Team Trust

It is clear that trust is critical to building healthy communication networks that enable virtual team success, but there
are barriers to building trust in these environments. So, the
question remains, "How do we ensure a healthy level of trust
develops to facilitate effective information sharing in virtual
teams?" There are actually many tools already at our disposal
to boost trust among virtual team members.
One option is to organize face-to-face orientation meetings
early in team formation. While regular face-to-face sessions is
usually resource prohibitive, these meetings help team members
to see each other as knowledgeable and trustworthy individuals,
not faceless entities. In order to make the most out of limited
resources, research would suggest that investing in early face-toface sessions can provide a big return in effectiveness. This is because trust is typically developed early in team formation, when
expectations are being set and charters defined.6 This highlights
the value of facilitating introductory face-to-face opportunities
at this stage. In addition to putting a face to the name, these
orientations build the communication network more quickly,
increasing the flow of information.7 This sets the team up for
healthy knowledge sharing practices moving forward.
Of course, face-to-face orientations are not always a viable
option, so additional techniques are needed that enhance
openness to sharing information among teams but do not
require in-person interactions. One example is activities targeted at team building, especially those focused on self-disclosure (e.g., activities that involve having team members share
personal values and/or experiences). These activities can be
asynchronous (e.g., via discussion boards or email chains)
or synchronous (e.g., on calls or videoconference) and can
significantly benefit teams and team members.4,5 Sharing this
type of information builds rapport and encourages team members to trust each other and to be open to sharing more information in the future, even if sharing that information creates
vulnerability. The great thing about this method is that it can
be used early to develop trust, or after trust has degraded, to
help the team function more effectively.
Additionally, increasing communication frequency can
help to facilitate trust (assuming it is high-quality communication). To put it simply, trust enables success by facilitating
communication-knowledge sharing sets the team up for
effective cooperation and collaboration.3 We know that trust
builds more slowly in virtual teams than face-to-face teams
because asynchronous communication (e.g., email, document
sharing, etc.) precludes social information sharing.8 CommuVOLUME 41 | ISSUE 2 | SPRING 2018

31



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2

From the Executive Editor
From the Guest Editor
Perspectives
Ignition Teams: Rising to the Challenges of Innovation
Challenge Accepted: Managing Polarities to Enhance Virtual Team Effectiveness
Facilitating Trust and Communication in Virtual Teams
Building Entrepreneurial Teams: Talent, Social Capital, and Culture
Organizations That Get Teamwork Right
Team Development: The Power of Debriefing
The Rise of Digital Team Building
Executive Roundtable
In First Person
Linking Theory + Practice
Insight into Action
Leadership Insights
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover1
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover2
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 1
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 2
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 3
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - From the Executive Editor
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 5
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - From the Guest Editor
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 7
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Perspectives
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 9
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 10
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 11
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 12
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 13
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 14
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 15
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Ignition Teams: Rising to the Challenges of Innovation
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 17
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 18
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 19
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 20
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 21
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Challenge Accepted: Managing Polarities to Enhance Virtual Team Effectiveness
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 23
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 24
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 25
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 26
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 27
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 28
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 29
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Facilitating Trust and Communication in Virtual Teams
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 31
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 32
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 33
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 34
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 35
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Building Entrepreneurial Teams: Talent, Social Capital, and Culture
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 37
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 38
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 39
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 40
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 41
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Organizations That Get Teamwork Right
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 43
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 44
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 45
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Team Development: The Power of Debriefing
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 47
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 48
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 49
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 50
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 51
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - The Rise of Digital Team Building
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 53
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 54
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 55
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Executive Roundtable
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 57
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 58
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 59
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 60
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 61
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - In First Person
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 63
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 64
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 65
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Linking Theory + Practice
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 67
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 68
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 69
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Insight into Action
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 71
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Leadership Insights
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 73
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 74
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover3
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_41_3_2018
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http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_39_1_2016
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