Not all group exchange structures are created equal: Effects of forms and levels of exchange on work outcomes in virtual teams

Claudia C. Cogliser, William Gardner, Christine Quinn Trank, Mark Gavin, Jonathon Halbesleben, Anson Seers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Electronic communications collected from 233 undergraduate business students in 50 virtual teams were coded to identify group exchange structures. Results revealed four types of structures: unified generalized (characterized by high-quality exchange relationships among group members and high information sharing and cooperation; n = 10), unified generalized with isolates (high-quality exchange among most members, with negative exchange among some isolated members; n = 16), unified balanced (characterized by low-quality exchange relationships among members and low trust and concern for others; n = 8), and unified balanced with isolates (low-quality exchange among most members and negative exchange with some isolated members; n = 16). Contrary to expectations, virtual teams with unified generalized as opposed to unified balanced exchange structures did not experience higher levels of performance and member satisfaction. However, when isolates were present, adverse effects on performance and satisfaction were observed, but only for teams with balanced as opposed to generalized structures, as expected. The findings reveal the importance of promoting generalized exchange structures to avoid the potentially detrimental effects of group isolates on virtual team performance and member satisfaction. The implication for organizations planning to adopt virtual teams is that concerted efforts to foster positive social exchanges characterized by high levels of trust, cooperation, information sharing and coordination, and thereby avoid the creation of group isolates, may produce dividends in member satisfaction and team productivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-251
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Leadership and Organizational Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Group exchange structures
  • Team member exchange
  • Virtual teams


Dive into the research topics of 'Not all group exchange structures are created equal: Effects of forms and levels of exchange on work outcomes in virtual teams'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this