Although global virtual teams are becoming more commonplace because of their many benefits, they are also challenged by a lack of interpersonal and emotional trust between team members. Based on this problem, this study adopted a quantitative ethnographic methodology to explore team members' perceptions of the relationship between trust and psychological empowerment components, such as the meaning of work, competence, self-determination, and impact, in global virtual teams. In addition, this study examined how the team members' perceptions of trust and psychological empowerment differ based on their attributes. To achieve this research purpose, the researcher collected data via semi-structured interviews with 16 employees in global virtual teams of five consulting firms headquartered in the U.S. and South Korea. This study utilized the Epistemic Network Analysis (ENA) as an analysis tool to investigate the perception patterns of participants. As a result, the study found that trust is primarily linked to competence, responsible behavior, and communication between employees. In contrast, competence is related to communication, recognition, self−determination, and impact on the team or society. Furthermore, the study found the differences in employees' perceptions according to characteristics−age, gender, nationality, working period, and role−excluding the expertise realm. The findings could aid organizations in developing strategies for global virtual teams and contribute to developing academic fields related to psychological empowerment and trust. More research is needed on segmented global virtual team types, cultural diversity, and team leadership.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Virtual work teams; Autonomy (Psychology); Trust

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Kent Rhodes

Included in

Psychology Commons