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Trust and temporary virtual teams: alternative explanations and dramaturgical relationships

Niki Panteli (School of Management, University of Bath, Bath, UK)
Elizabeth Duncan (Remote Work Management, Edinburgh, UK)

Information Technology & People

ISSN: 0959-3845

Article publication date: 1 December 2004



The paper uses the dramaturgical perspective for conceptualising trust development within temporary virtual teams. The underlying assumption is that temporary teams do not have the luxury of time that, according to the traditional trust theories, enables familiarity among team members and promotes trust development. Yet, in these teams, trust needs to develop quickly and it is important that it lasts throughout the short duration of the project lifecycle. Using the metaphor of a theatre, a dramaturgical perspective on trust relationships is adopted and is used to present actors, co‐actors and audience as all playing a key role in scripting, staging and performing virtual plays. The dramaturgical perspective provides an illustrative approach for uncovering the interactions between key players. As it is argued, these interactions elicit the process of trust development within the temporary setting of virtual teams, constituting a type of trust relationship that is mutually negotiated and jointly constructed. This type of trust is called “situated” and emerges from the scripted, pre‐scripted, co‐scripted, re‐scripted and unscripted computer‐mediated interactions of virtual players. The implications for theory and practice are discussed.



Panteli, N. and Duncan, E. (2004), "Trust and temporary virtual teams: alternative explanations and dramaturgical relationships", Information Technology & People, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 423-441.



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Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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