Virtual Teams Management Practices and Project Performance in Selected Public Universities in Kenya
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Documented evidence has shown the benefits and challenges of using virtual teams arrangement in the execution and implementation of projects, however, these studies have been limited in the educational sector. Universities in Kenya execute and implement various projects for the purpose of delivering good education services to the teeming set of people in the society and in order to deliver its core mandate several projects that permeate every units or departments are embarked by the management of these universities. Studies have shown that projects have been successfully executed and implemented in many organisations via virtual team arrangement and benefits attached to such arrangement have been earned. The benefits such as reduced costs, project efficiency, and satisfaction on the part of the customers are the project success recorded in many organisations across the world. However, studies have also pointed out that project performance has met with some brick wall and this has impaired the activities of most organisations to communicate service delivery to the members of the public. Studies have been mounted to find out how organisation can reap from benefits of virtual team to attain project performance in organisations but such studies are limited in educational sector, especially in Kenya. This study therefore sought to investigate the effectiveness of virtual teams on project performance, in selected public universities in Kenya. Specifically, the study sought to examine the effect of communication on project performance; to investigate the effect of recognition practice on project performance, and to examine the effect of information sharing on the project performance in selected public universities in Kenya and to test the mediating effect of employee commitment on the relationship between virtual team effectiveness and project performance. The constructs of this study were operationalized and grounded on three existing theories such as Resource-Based View Theory, Social Exchange Theory, and Affective Event Theory. This study was guided by positivist approach and both descriptive and cross-sectional research design was adopted. The study targeted population was the three universities selected as unit of analysis and a sample of 304 respondents drawn from both teaching and non-teaching staff in 3 public universities using Taro Yamane approach formed the unit of observation. Data was collected using closed-ended questionnaire whose reliability score was above the acceptable level. The reported findings are based on a relatively high response rate. The descriptive characteristics of the variables measured through the mean ranked between neither agree nor disagree to the level of agree and registered low variability. The inferential test for diagnostics on multicollinearity showed that both the VIF and Tolerance levels were within the acceptable range and that the findings were not invalidated by the influence of multicollinearity. The regression results testing the direct relationships indicated that while effective communication and recognition practices had a significant positive effect on project performance, information sharing was not significant. Employee commitment mediated the relationship between Virtual Team Management practices and project performance in the surveyed public universities in Kenya. The study recommends that virtual settings should be equipped with effective communication facilities and gadgets, management of an organisation should constantly embrace attitude of appreciating its workforce so as to create a sense of belonging within the organisation and to improve in the aspect of sharing important information to develop trust which in turn leads to performance on the part of virtual team members in the organisation.