Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 39 Number 1 2022 pp. 102-129

The Power of Introverts: Personality and Intelligence in Virtual Teams

Dennis, Alexander S, Barlow, Jordan B, and Dennis, Alan R


Teams have increasingly turned to computer-mediated communication (CMC) to work when team members cannot all be in the same physical space at the same time, leading to the need to better understand what influences group performance in these settings. We know that team member intelligence and personality affect team performance when teams work face-to-face, but their effects are not yet clear when teams use text-based CMC, which has different characteristics than face-to-face communication. We conducted a laboratory study of 61 teams working on a decision-making task using text-based CMC. We found that team mean extraversion had a large negative effect, and team mean neuroticism had a medium-sized negative effect on team performance. Team mean intelligence had no effect. We recommend that managers consider the effects of extraversion when selecting team members and focus on selecting more introverted team members if the team is likely to extensively use text-based CMC. Likewise, managers should consider extraversion when designing teamwork processes for virtual teams; if a team has many members who are high in extraversion, the team should use text-based CMC sparingly. We also recommend that researchers use extraversion as a control factor in future research studying text-based CMC because extraversion has a large effect on team outcomes and, left uncontrolled, could increase unexplained error variance and overshadow the focus of the research study.

Key words and phrases: Virtual teams, personality, intelligence, extraversion, introversion, computer-mediated communication, team performance, group performance