Document Type


Date of Award

Spring 5-31-2009

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems - (Ph.D.)


Information Systems

First Advisor

Starr Roxanne Hiltz

Second Advisor

Murray Turoff

Third Advisor

George Robert Widmeyer

Fourth Advisor

Rosalie Ocker

Fifth Advisor

Mary Beth Rosson

Sixth Advisor

Ilze Zigurs


Inter-organizational collaboration is becoming more common. When organizations collaborate they often do so in partially distributed teams (PDTs). A PDT is a hybrid team that has at least one collocated subteam and at least two subteams that are geographically distributed and communicate primarily through electronic media. While PDTs share many characteristics with both traditionally collocated and fully distributed teams, they also have unique characteristics and issues.

This dissertation reports on a field study of PDTs conducted over two semesters with student participants, This research was conducted as part of a larger series of studies investigating PDTs, In these studies, participants were formed into PDTs of two collocated subteams each. The task was to produce requirements for an emergency response information system for a specified country. Study 1 varied leadership configuration but held distance constant. Study 2 varied both leadership configuration and distance.

Although distance was to be measured as cultural, geographic, and temporal distance, multicollinearity issues arose and cultural distance was dropped from the analysis. Distance was measured as time zone differences which, because the subteams in a team had east-west geographic distance, captured the geographic distance as well.

Data collection was through surveys and personal reflections, Personal reflections are open ended survey questions for which the subjects reflected on their experiences the previous week in a PDT. This dissertation reports on qualitative and quantitative analyses of Study 1 data and quantitative analysis of Study 2 data, In addition to bivariate analyses of the survey data conducted separately for each study, multivariate analysis using Partial Least Squares (PLS) was performed on the combined Study 1 and Study 2 data.

Factor analysis resulted in the identification of three types of trust: Expertise Trust, Personal Trust, and Process Trust, Trust was measured in the first personal reflection (after one week) and in the post survey at the end of the four week project, Early trust has the dimensions of Expertise Trust, Personal Trust, and Process Trust while longer term trust is comprised of Personal Trust and Process Trust.

The results partially support the proposed research model. Strong support was found for the proposition that leadership roles identified by Quinn (1988) and examined in fully virtual and traditionally collocated teams are enacted in PDTs as well, Results suggest that leadership configuration influences leader role enactments. Trust was found to be important to team outcomes and influenced by media used and distance. Leadership role enactments were associated with perceptions of leader effectiveness, perceptions of performance, and satisfaction. Results suggest that leader effectiveness is associated with trust, perceptions of performance, and satisfaction. That is, trust, leadership configuration, distance, and leader role enactments all play important roles in PDTs.

The results add insights into leadership and trust in partially distributed teams, which can inform professionals as to issues, leadership configurations, and leadership behaviors (roles) that will promote successful outcomes.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.