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Lejla Bilal Maley, Ph.D. is a 2020 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.


Dr. Lejla Bilal Maley at her Dissertation Defense.

Clockwise: Dr. Jon Wergin, Committee Chair, Dr. Muriel Scott, Committee Member, Dr. Aqeel Tirmizi (not shown), Committee Member

Dissertation Committee

  • Jon Wergin, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Aqeel Tirmizi, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Muriel Scott, Ph.D., Committee Member


Global Virtual Team (GVT), mixed methods, thematic analysis, team leadership, dispersed teams, global teams, technology, team design, cross-cultural communication, adaptability, human dynamics, CMC

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Global Virtual Teams (GVTs) enable organizations to become more flexible, and to adapt and react to turbulent, complex and dynamic environments. These teams span boundaries such as space, time, and geography, working collaboratively to achieve a shared purpose. Due to their reliance on technology for communication, knowledge sharing, and project management, structural and nonstructural components of their design must exist to enable these teams to exist and flourish at the edge of innovation. The human experience of working in virtual teams remains insufficiently observed, yet crucial to their sustainability. This dissertation study employed an exploratory sequential mixed methods design to provide insights into the experience of working as a member or leader on a GVT. In phase one, a theoretical framework was developed to identify themes and sub-themes that emerged from 21 interviews with GVT practitioners from seven nations and multiple time zones across many sectors. The data revealed that experiences of working on a GVT are best expressed by four major themes: team design (both structural and nonstructural) components, cross-cultural communication, human dynamics, and technology. One meta-theme emerged, adaptability, which is well supported by the chosen guiding theoretical framework, adaptive structuration theory (AST), as well as extant research. The results of phase one informed development of a survey instrument; a pilot test of this instrument showed promise for future validation of a scale that accurately depicts the experiences of working on a GVT. The current findings support practical applications toward better understanding team functioning, essential human needs, and best practices for team awareness and functioning. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive, OhioLINK ETD Center,



Lejla Bilal Maley, Ph.D.

ORCID Scholar ID #: #0000-0002-3912-4647

Lejla Bilal Maley is originally from Bosnia. She now lives and works in Columbus, Ohio. She is currently manager of international product at McGraw Hill. She is also a co-founder and consultant at Transform·Ed Collaborative. She has seven years of English and foreign language teaching experience in the K-12 and Higher Education setting. She holds a B.A. in Linguistics, an M.A. in Applied Linguistics- TESOL, and a PhD in Leadership and Change. Lejla enjoys presenting at various national and international educational and leadership conferences on topics such as language acquisition, social justice education, and global virtual teaming. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with family, hiking with pup Skywalker, discovering new wines and bourbons, and doing Barre3 workouts.