The frequent use of global virtual teams for accomplishing organizational tasks helps explain the continued interest in research designed to identify and disentangle the relationships among factors influencing team performance. Participative goal setting represents one factor that may be particularly important in these settings. 52 self-directed global virtual teams, consisting of 318 participants, were observed during the life cycle of a team project in order to examine these critical relationships. As hypothesized, results reveal that virtual team efficacy (VTE) indirectly relates to goal commitment through the participative process of setting specific and difficult goals. In turn, participatively setting difficult goals and the teams' commitment to those goals directly affects actual performance. These findings extend prior research applying social cognitive theory (SCT) in global virtual team research. Implications for theory and practice, as well as opportunities for future research are discussed.