Leadership and virtual team performance: A meta-analytic investigation

Shanique G. Brown, N. Sharon Hill, Natalia (Nataly) M. Lorinkova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We integrate functional leadership theory with theorizing in virtual team leadership research to extend and meta-analytically test theory regarding the relationships between different types of leadership behaviours (i.e., relationship-focused and task-focused leadership) and virtual team performance as well as moderators of these relationships. We find that both relationship-focused and task-focused leadership positively relate to virtual team performance. Further, two structural moderators (i.e., task interdependence and team size) and two methodological moderators (i.e., team type and the operationalization of team performance) change the team leadership-virtual team performance relationship, resulting in differential effects of relationship- and task-focused leadership. Regarding the structural moderators, we find that task-focused leadership is a weaker predictor of team performance in virtual teams with high (compared to low) task interdependence, and relationship-focused leadership is a stronger predictor of virtual team performance for larger (compared to smaller) teams. In terms of the methodological moderators, we find a stronger effect of task-focused leadership for intact (compared to adhoc) virtual teams, and a stronger effect of relationship-focused leadership on perceived team effectiveness (compared to efficiency/productivity). We conclude with a discussion of important areas for future research and highlight theoretical and practical implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)672-685
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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