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Leadership style effect on virtual team efficiency: trust, operational cohesion and media richness roles

Sinda Ben Sedrine (Department of Managment, Universite de Tunis Institut Superieur de Gestion de Tunis, Le Bardo, Tunisia)
Amel Bouderbala (Institut Supérieur de Comptabilité et d'Administration des Affaires, Manouba, Tunisia)
Hamza Nasraoui (Department of Management, Institut Supérieur de Gestion, Tunis, Tunisia)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 2 April 2020

Issue publication date: 10 August 2021




The purpose of this article is to explain the effect of leadership styles on a virtual team efficiency, assuming the existence of mediating variables (media richness) influencing this relationship.


The data were collected within the framework of an online survey based on a sample of 300 observations (MENA region) with respondents from the IT sector. These results were generated by SPSS and AMOS 23 software and treated using an exploratory factor analysis and modeling by structural equation.


The results of the research attest that trust and operational cohesion play a mediating role between leadership styles and team performance. They also confirm that leadership styles impact operational cohesion and group trust according to different levels of media richness, thus creating different situations fluctuating according to its level.

Research limitations/implications

From a methodological point of view, the sample choice was not diversified. Only the IT companies are concerned with this study. Therefore, the generalization of obtained results can be questioned. The research results could be refined by trying to highlight trust mediating variable through antecedents evoked by Mayer et al. (1995) or Williams (2001), namely, competence, benevolence or even integrity. Competence and benevolence deserve, on the conceptual plan, to be fully integrated to the definition itself of trust under penalty of see the concept itself of trust impoverish considerably (Mayer et al., 1995).

Practical implications

On a practical level, the optimal efficiency of a virtual team depends on a high level of media richness with a transformational leadership mobilized by the managers that would favor a good operational cohesion of the group. Various techniques could be employed to improve a social dynamic of the group (periodic conference calls, face to face meetings, team building).


This research clarifies how leadership styles influence virtual team efficiency through operational cohesion and trust. Furthermore, this research reaffirms, in addition from previous works, that the communication means to which virtual teams recur influence the degree of operating cohesion and increase that of performance.



Ben Sedrine, S., Bouderbala, A. and Nasraoui, H. (2021), "Leadership style effect on virtual team efficiency: trust, operational cohesion and media richness roles", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 40 No. 5, pp. 365-388.



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