Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, PhD

Committee Chair

Shuck, Brad

Committee Member

Sheffield, Ron

Committee Member

McCart, Andrew

Committee Member

Alagaraja, Meera

Committee Member

McKinley, Tara

Author's Keywords

virtual leadership; virtual teams; COVID-19; phenomenology; workforce transition, leadership adaption


The COVID-19 pandemic led to organizations rapidly transitioning their workforces to virtual work settings. This sudden shift brought about many challenges to organizations and their employees. In this study, a phenomenological research approach was used to describe the lived experiences of leaders who transitioned to managing a virtual team during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study also explored how leaders adapted their leadership practices and leveraged people and technology when transitioning to managing a virtual team. The findings revealed seven themes that highlighted both benefits and challenges of virtual leadership and work. Leaders recognized the need for intentionality in their actions and they adapted their leadership styles to meet the unique demands of the virtual environment. Additionally, the importance and role of communication, technology, performance, and productivity in the virtual setting were described. The Input-Process-Output (IPO) theoretical framework provided a structured lens for understanding the dynamics of virtual teams. Recommendations for future research on virtual leadership and teams in a post-pandemic world were provided.