Analysis of competencies for effective virtual team leadership in building successful organisations

Nnamdi Stanley Maduka, Helen Edwards, David Greenwood, Allan Osborne, Solomon Olusola Babatunde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)
145 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose - Global competition and advances in technology have enhanced the growing trend of virtual teams in order to execute business strategies. Thus, understanding the competencies needed for virtual leadership effectiveness is essential and vital to organisational success. The purpose of this paper is to identify and analyse the required competencies for virtual team leadership and its effectiveness in an organisation.

Design/methodology/approach - The study adopted case study methodology to undertake an exploratory study of a manufacturing organisation. Using a questionnaire that was designed following a focussed literature review to identify the specific virtual leadership competencies, structured interviews were conducted face-to-face with 14 respondents from two major virtual team groups. The interviews were designed to elucidate the opinions and perceptions of virtual team members with respect to selected characteristics of their virtual team leaders (VTLs). The responses obtained were analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis.

Findings - The study identified the competencies required for effective leadership in virtual teams in order to achieve the organisational project success. The performance of the two VTLs in the organisation was then assessed in the light of these identified competencies. The study also identified transformational leaders as important to be considered when selecting VTLs because they are known to achieve high-performing team. However, the study found that considering the virtual leadership competencies, the two VTLs were found to have not, on the whole, performed well because they are lacking in some of the leadership competencies required for effective leadership in a virtual team and this has led to their organisation not achieving the required success in virtual teams.

Practical implications - The study has implications for organisations’ virtual team project leaders. The identification of specific leadership competencies for virtual team leadership will enable organisations to be more informed when looking for effective leaders in their virtual teams in order to achieve high-performing virtual teams, which will lead to organisational growth and success. The study is expected to enhance the success rate of any typical organisation using virtual teams.

Originality/value - The study would be highly beneficial to both the potential and current stakeholder organisations considering virtual teams to execute business strategies. This study has also added to the body of knowledge by further exploring the leadership competencies needed for virtual teams.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)696-712
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2018


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