Talk, Trust, Succeed – The Impact of Communication in Virtual Groups on Trust in Leaders and on Performance
46 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2011 Last revised: 12 Jan 2011
Date Written: January 10, 2011
Although trust is widely acknowledged as critical in virtual settings, little is known regarding the antecedents and consequences of trust in leaders of virtual groups. Adopting a multi-level perspective, we propose the leadership’s communication behavior and the broader cultural context in which the group operates determine trust in leaders of virtual groups, which in turn affects the performance of the group. Combining survey and logfile data from a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) played in 24 countries, this study’s findings showed that leaders of virtual groups who demonstrate a more expansive communication behavior are more trusted by followers. Furthermore, reasoning that culture creates a shared context that qualifies followers’ experiences, we found that collectivistic values enhanced the benefits of breadth of communication. In addition, we find that trust in leaders of virtual groups had a positive relationship to group performance. A detailed discussion of the findings for building trust in leaders of virtual groups is provided in the conclusion of the paper.
Keywords: Communication repertoire, communication breadth, trust, online games, massively multiplayer, virtual groups, virtual group work, leadership of virtual groups, media richness, performance
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation