The Vitality Paradox: Rising Tensions between Individual- and Team Coping during Forced Virtual Work

Emma Nordbäck, NIina Nurmi, Jennifer Gibbs, Maggie Boyraz, Minna Logemann

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleScientificpeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic has forced office-based teams to shift to remote work for an indeterminate time. The demands of forced virtual teamwork and “social distancing” create stress among entire organizational teams and their members. We study how teams and their members cope with forced virtual work during the office-lockdown from March to August in 2020, as well as the impact on vitality, in a longitudinal qualitative multi-case study of twelve office-based teams. Our findings reveal that the needs of teams and individuals are sometimes in conflict, such that attempts to cope end up enhancing vitality on one level while undermining it on the other. We call this phenomenon the vitality paradox. We find that the composition of individual coping approaches on the team level explains this paradox, and that only teams that actively apply both individual- and team-focused coping thrive. The present study extends coping theory by viewing coping as a multilevel process with both team-level and individual-level outcomes, and by elucidating the paradoxical ways in which virtual team processes and well-being are interrelated.
Original languageEnglish
ProceedingAcademy of Management Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 21.07.2021
MoE publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings


  • 512 Business and Management

Sustainable Development Goals

  • GOAL 03: Good Health and Well-being


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