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Working separately but together: appraising virtual project team challenges

Tarila Zuofa (Faculty of Engineering, Environment and Computing, Coventry, UK)
Edward G. Ochieng (Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK)

Team Performance Management

ISSN: 1352-7592

Article publication date: 15 August 2017




This paper aims to extend the extant knowledge on virtual teams by examining the challenges of virtual project teams in organisations in Nigeria.


Data were collected through semi-structured interviews. Totally, 20 interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed. Validity and reliability were achieved by first assessing the plausibility in terms of already existing knowledge on some of the virtual project team issues identified by participants.


The findings from this study confirmed the growing relevance of virtual project teams in highly competitive global business environments. It emerged that some of the challenges identified in the study had some level of congruence with those previously identified from similar studies from other geographical locations. The findings also suggested that challenges in virtual project teams can be linked to the organisation, the project team and the virtual environment or even a combination of all.

Practical implications

The present study corroborates the position that managing virtual project teams requires additional efforts to attain their objectives through effective communications and the adoption of appropriate technology.


The originality of this study lies in its exploration of virtual project team challenges in a sub-Saharan Africa country (Nigeria). By identifying the challenges associated with virtual project teams, stakeholders will be better able to successfully establish and manage virtual project teams better.



Zuofa, T. and Ochieng, E.G. (2017), "Working separately but together: appraising virtual project team challenges", Team Performance Management, Vol. 23 No. 5/6, pp. 227-242.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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