This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
by Teresa M. Bennett
BRUCE GILLIES, Psy.D., Faculty Mentor and Chair SARA JARVIS, Ph.D., Committee Member THOMAS VAIL, Ph.D., Committee Member
Deborah Bushway, Ph.D., Dean, Harold Abel School of Psychology
A Dissertation Presented in Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy
Capella University July 2009
UMI Number: 3366091 Copyright 2009 by Bennett, Teresa M. All rights reserved
INFORMATION TO USERS
The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted. Broken or indistinct print, colored or poor quality illustrations and photographs, print bleed-through, substandard margins, and improper alignment can adversely affect reproduction. In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if unauthorized copyright material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion.
UMI Microform 3366091 Copyright 2009 by ProQuest LLC All rights reserved. This microform edition is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code.
ProQuest LLC 789 East Eisenhower Parkway P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346
© Teresa M. Bennett, 2009
The findings of this research found little differences between teams as they moved from one method of communication to another as well as between teams using different methods of communication. Organizations. have difficulty determining the type of media and the time to introduce media for teams required to plan and perform tasks while geographically separated. computer-mediated collaborations are becoming more commonplace. Research is limited in examining differences between distributed teams using various computer-mediated technologies. such as the military. Recommendations include further examination of teams using mixed communication methods at different times for their planning and execution of tasks. ii .Abstract As organizations are increasingly accomplishing tasks through the use of teams. This research compared distributed teams using asynchronous and synchronous communication media in planning a task and then changing their method of communication for planning a subsequent task. Team development. through administration of the Hallam-Campbell Team Development Survey (adapted for computer-mediated teams) and performance were measured after both tasks. The results of this study are expected to help both organizations and educational institutions that utilize teams to more adequately assess the choice of computer-mediated media in a distributed environment. Distance between team members and a lack of visual interaction can affect their development and performance. particularly those with less social (visual) presence versus those with more.
none of this would have been possible. You are my rock. no matter what the goal. Always my cheerleaders. and love of my life. Without them.Dedication This work is dedicated to my family. keep trying!” And to my Dad and in loving memory of both my mother and grandmother. To my loving children. No words can come close to express how much your love and support has meant to me over these years. I would not have made it this far without you by my side. First and foremost. my best friend. who instilled the value of hard work. Wink. Jackson and Shidela. this is dedicated to my husband. I kept J-man and S-girl’s advice close to heart…“Don’t give up Mom. and would toast this occasion with glasses raised high! iii . I am truly blessed to have you both in my life.
patience. technical support. his professional advice. to instructors has been a pleasure to work with and has made a difference not only towards my personal achievements but for countless others. Lieutenants Chad Sucillon and Crystal Murray. Each individual within the University from counselors (thank you. iv . colloquia staff. As I slowly completed each milestone and encountered unexpected obstacles along the way. Finally. or both to pursue their professional and personal aspirations. Larson). Dr. parents. Bruce Gillies who has been beyond instrumental in helping me through this long journey. Thomas Vail and Dr. The help from everyone in this study was very much appreciated. and encouragement kept me going. Sara Jarvis for being invaluable members of my committee. I would also like to personally thank Captains Ira Shurig and Chad Tossel. Margaret Shurig. I also would like to thank both Dr.Acknowledgments It is with sincere gratitude that I convey my thanks and appreciation to my committee chair and mentor Dr. I would like to thank Capella University for being a well-rounded and dedicated institution allowing working professionals. and Ms.
INTRODUCTION Background of the Study Statement of the Problem Purpose of the Study Significance of Study Research Design Research Questions and Hypotheses Assumptions and Limitations Definition of Terms Organization of the Remainder of the Study CHAPTER 2. LITERAURE REVIEW Introduction Social Interaction and Teams Research on Computer-Mediated Distributed Teams Theories Guiding Computer-Mediated Distributed Teams Social Presence and Team Development and Performance 15 iv viii ix 1 v .Table of Contents Acknowledgments List of Figures List of Tables CHAPTER 1.
DATA ANALYSES AND RESULTS Introduction Description of Sample Data Analysis Summary CHAPTER 5.CHAPTER 3. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENTATIONS Introduction Findings and Data Interpretation Limitations Suggestions for Future Studies Conclusions Summary REFERENCES 39 52 69 104 vi . METHODOLOGY Purpose of the Study Research Design Target Population and Participant Selection Procedures Measures Re-statement of Research Hypotheses Data Analysis Expected Findings CHAPTER 4.
APPENDIX A: TEAM DEVELOPMENT SURVEY APPENDIX B: MATERIAL COST SHEET APPENDIX C: TASK PERFORMANCE WORKSHEET 111 112 113 vii .
Study Design – Hypothesis 2 Figure 4. Study Design – Hypothesis 1 Figure 3. Overall Study Design Figure 2. Distribution of Team Development Survey Responses Task 2 55 viii .List of Figures Figure 1. Study Design – Hypothesis 3 Figure 5. Study Design – Hypothesis 6 Figure 8. Distribution of Team Development Survey Responses Task 1 55 Figure 10. Study Design – Hypothesis 4 Figure 6. Study Design – Hypothesis 5 Figure 7. Study Design – Hypothesis 7 41 46 47 47 48 48 49 49 Figure 9.
Cronbach’s Alpha for Task 1 and Task 2 Table 3. Results in Task Performance on Task 1– Hypothesis 7 Table 10. Results in Team Development – Hypothesis 3 Table 6. Distribution of Team Type Table 2. Results in Team Development – Hypothesis 5 Table 8. Results in Task Performance on Task 2– Hypothesis 7 53 56 58 59 61 62 64 65 66 66 ix . Results in Task Performance – Hypothesis 4 Table 7. Results in Task Performance – Hypothesis 6 Table 9.List of Tables Table 1. Results in Task Performance – Hypothesis 2 Table 5. Results in Team Development – Hypothesis 1 Table 4.
INTRODUCTION AND STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM Background of the Problem Is distance detrimental to team success? Is personal interaction necessary for a team to develop a bond with each other? In the twenty-first century.CHAPTER 1. By 2006. and rules and procedures (Pinto. Organizations are increasingly using teams to capitalize upon their strengths and abilities to work together. so does the prevalence of team members being geographically separated. & Prescott. These are super-ordinate goals. it is widely known that organizations are saying good-bye to the conference room and are relying on technology to bring teams together. interdependent roles. Groups include members who may work together or share resources. What distinguishes a team from just a group of people working together? Teams are considered those which have members with a common purpose. While the importance of teams in terms of innovation and productivity for the organization continues to grow. as many as 67 million people were predicted to be tele-working in the United States with teams forming across functional areas. accessibility. time zones. 2002). however. and complementary skills (Yukl. however. as well as actual communication that occurs among team members. physical proximity. Proximity. Teams are more distributed these days 1 . The key word here distinguishing a team is interdependence. a team’s tasks are dependent upon the work of others to be fully successful. is a construct that needs to be re-considered with the increasing use of electronic communication. 2006). Physical proximity can influence the frequency and type of interactions. 1993). Pinto. as well as nationalities (Belanger & Watson-Manheim. There are four constructs considered essential to develop team communication and cooperation.
Team development is considered dependent upon interpersonal processes. & Futrell.and communicate via e-mail and other electronic media. Team processes describe the inter-workings and social interaction of a group. seating position and body language) (McGuire. 1990). Team members in a traditional face-to2 . which is defined as the interaction that takes place among members (Barrick. and share information simultaneously to multiple members (Thompson & Coovert. Social influence within a group discussion is transmitted through verbal and “social context cues” (for example. and it is suggested that team effectiveness be considered a process as opposed to end state (output) (Sundstrom. and decision making (Landy & Conte. or connectivity among members. These processes are identified as norms. is deemed one of the most important factors which help team members actively collaborate (Ubon & Kimble. send and receive information faster. Team effectiveness has been described through Landy and Conte’s (2004) input-process-output model. Social presence is considered essential for successful communication and dynamics within a team (Thatcher & DeLaCour. Interpersonal processes are facilitated by a sense of connection. Kiesler. There are numerous variables that can reflect intra-group process. Stewart. Exchange of information is important for the team to effectively have its members accomplish their tasks. 2004). De Meuse. Neubert. 2003). 2003). 1998). communication and coordination. With a lack of physical proximity. This model suggests that a variety of inputs combine to influence team processes. A sense of social presence. 1987). 2003). & Siegel. & Mount. which in turn. distributed teams must still be successful and all factors must be considered that impact their effectiveness and ability to function. Distributed teams are known to meet when and where they want. affect its outputs. cohesion.
The types of computer-mediated communication chosen to accomplish these discussions do vary by the amount of social presence that they provide. It is essential that members of the military be able to train team members. A such. Distributed aircrew teams have been known to use synchronous (e. e-mail. can have difficulty establishing relationships among team members. However. studies have demonstrated an increased level of frustration among computer-mediated teams as compared to face-to-face teams (Thompson & Coovert. mission execution. Teams perform pre-flight planning. are able to experience the impact of social presence and its influences. distributed mission operations involve the planning and execution of complex flight missions with aircrew members in separate locations. or a mixture of technologies for completing training missions. With low social presence. however. distributed team members also encounter issues in development and performance (Sia.. 2004). Actual flight training is accomplished across the world with team members using advanced simulators which are connected real-time. In the Air Force. obviously. Yan. text chat. Statement of the Problem One of the most distributed organizations today is the military.face setting.. 2002. there is uncertainty as to which facilitates optimal team planning and performance. videoconferencing). 2003). and post-flight brief using a variety of technologies to communicate with each other.g. Currently in the 3 . & Wei. Maruping & Agarwal. or electronic chat room). Distributed teams communicating electronically.g. no matter how far apart they are. asynchronous (e.
however. Maruping & Agarwal. 2005). There is limited understanding of differences between types of computer-mediated teams by the technologies employed. 2003). Kerr & Murthy. choice of communication medium is sometimes left to the aircrew or personnel facilitating the training. The majority of research in this area. Thatcher & DeLaCour. 4 . 2003. Organizations look to computer-mediated technologies to save them millions of dollars by linking distributed team members.distributed mission operations environment. the other side of this is that computer-mediated communications among distributed team members can cost an organization if team members cannot work effectively with one another. With the amount and type of information to be communicated by the team. 2004. 2004. Some early interaction of team members that provide social interaction may be sufficient in establishing the development teams and impact their performance and allow subsequent interactions with different methods of communication. it is not clear which computer-mediated approach is most effective as synchronous and asynchronous methods each have their own advantages/disadvantages and variance in terms of “social presence. has concentrated solely on the effectiveness of computer-mediated teams as they compare to traditional face-to-face teams (Thompson & Coovert. It is advocated by researchers in this field that computer-mediated teams chose their communication technology carefully as teams rely on it to facilitate collaboration (Thompson & Coovert. But.” In addition. it is uncertain whether initial use of more “socially present” technologies (such as video synchronous communication) is warranted.
task performance by each team after using these methods of communication to plan was also measured. regardless of communication method(s). are realizing the importance of choosing the most effective and cost-efficient communication technologies. It is anticipated that the results of this research will help improve the selection of media for distributed teams and facilitate improvements for team development and performance with the team. this study included the examination teams that use either synchronous or asynchronous form of computer-mediated communication for their initial interaction and then changed communication media for performance of a subsequent task. but also for other types of distributed teams used across other organizations. Team development was assessed after teams used different computer-mediated communication media to plan a task. Results of this study will also provide insight whether introduction of certain types of computer-mediated communication method in the planning of the first task teams are required to accomplish result in higher team development or performance.Purpose of the Study This study compared distributed. Specifically. computer-mediated teams who chose different methods of communication in terms of both team development and performance. Distributed mission operations for aircrew training provide an opportunity for the military to reduce costs associated with face-to-face training 5 . Significance of the Study Organizations that have a high percentage of distributed teams. In addition. It is intended that these findings provide insight not only for distributed aircrew mission teams to help them determine an optimal communication method. such as the military.
Many of the theories and concepts supporting team development are very relevant for distributed teams. In addition. 2003. Dennis & Valacich. Teams are increasingly becoming a “hybrid” composition. 2006). additional investments are needed. there is little research examining teams that use a mixture of computer-mediated technologies over time. As such. 1993). For distributed operations to realize its cost-savings and continue to demonstrate a positive impact on team training performance. and there is a great desire for researchers to examine teams that use different technologies at different times during the team process (Belanger et al. lodging. As with all organizations using distributed teams. and aircraft maintenance.including travel of trainees and trainers. if any. the selection of effective media methods (or mixture of methods) for exercises is essential. research in this area has mostly centered on the comparison of computer-mediated teams to those that meet in traditional face-to-face environments (Thompson & Coovert. Despite the fact that the prevalence of computer-mediated teams is continually increasing in today’s organizations. the military seeks to consider future investments into technologies offering the latest synchronous video-conferencing capabilities. and results such as those that this study will provide may provide valuable insight as to what. psychologists are just beginning to examine them in light of the nature of distributed teams as well as the impact of using various technologies.. The field of psychology has studied over the years various dimensions of team dynamics and performance. there is growing need for research understanding the differences between computer-mediated teams themselves. 6 . However.
team members were administered the Team Development Survey to examine the differences between teams who use asynchronous versus synchronous methods of communication. Distributed mission operation exercises arbitrarily use asynchronous or synchronous computer-mediated communication for planning and synchronous media for task performance. there is a desire to compare teams that use different computer-mediated communication for planning in terms of both the development and performance of the team. However. teams were allowed to plan for a task using computer-mediated communication using either asynchronous (text-based chat) or synchronous (video conferencing) media and then perform the assigned task in a synchronous (video or face-to-face) environment. Synchronous communication occurred through the use of videoconferencing software and allowed visual communication to occur between team members. Asynchronous communication in this research included team members communicating via text chat media. there is a high price in using videoconferencing synchronous communication media on a continuous basis when face-to-face interaction is not always possible. Some organizations. Therefore. The Team Development Survey 7 . such as the military.Research Design This research project is a randomized experimental design whereas subjects are assigned to teams who vary by method of communication in order to examine the differences between computer-mediated teams both in team development and performance. After the planning phase for each task. have no choice in terms of communication method used for planning and/or task execution. Modeling the research after distributed mission operation processes.
and personal satisfaction. If teams execute tasks using the same communication method. do they differ in performance if they plan for the mission (task) when they use different technologies? Do teams that have less social presence in planning have as much team development as those who plan with more social presence? Is there any affect in performance when teams who have social presence in planning for one task and do not have as much social presence in planning an additional task? The hypotheses of this research are organized in the following areas as they relate to the research questions above. (b) changing from asynchronous to synchronous teams (Hypotheses 3 and 4). group cohesion. The same measures from the Team Development Survey and task performance were obtained from the teams as they planned and executed the second task.measures elements of mission clarity. group behavior. teams performed a planned task and were measured for performance when the task was completed. The study also involved teams planning a second task using a different media for communication than the first task (asynchronous or synchronous. (c) changing from synchronous to asynchronous teams 8 . skill development. respectively). Upon completion of the survey. Teams subsequently performed the second task using the same method as used to perform the first task (synchronous or face-to-face). Research Questions and Hypotheses The research questions for this study centered on development and performance for teams using different methods of computer-mediated communication in their planning stages of task performance. These areas are (a) synchronous versus asynchronous teams (Hypotheses 1 and 2).
Synchronous versus Asynchronous Teams: Hypotheses 1 and 2 The first two hypotheses for this study pertain to the differences seen between asynchronous and synchronous teams as they plan for Task 1. as measured by the Team Development Survey. having the use of video technologies for future team interaction is expected to show an impact on subsequent planning and execution. teams using asynchronous planning have no difference in performance compared to teams that plan synchronously. Null Hypothesis 1: For Task 1. Hypothesis 2: For Task 1. compared to teams that plan synchronously. Null Hypothesis 2: For Task 1. compared to teams that plan synchronously. Considering the importance of social presence in the communication of teams. and (d) synchronous versus face-to-face team performance (Hypothesis 7). as measured by the Team Development Survey. teams using asynchronous planning have statistically significant lower performance. teams using asynchronous planning have no difference in team development. The hypotheses are that: Hypothesis 1: For Task 1. Therefore. compared to teams that plan synchronously.(Hypotheses 5 and 6). Changing from Asynchronous to Synchronous Teams: Hypotheses 3 and 4 Another set of hypotheses are concerned with the difference seen for teams that change from asynchronous communication in planning the first task to synchronous communication in planning the second task. teams using asynchronous planning have statistically significant lower team development. the hypotheses for changing from asynchronous to synchronous teams are: 9 .
Hypothesis 3: Teams that plan Task 1 asynchronously and plan Task 2 synchronously have statistically significant higher team development, as measured by the Team Development Survey, for Task 2. Null Hypothesis 3: Teams that plan Task 1 asynchronously and plan Task 2 synchronously have no difference in team development, as measured by the Team Development Survey, between Task 1 and Task 2. Hypothesis 4: Teams that plan Task 1 asynchronously and plan Task 2 synchronously have statistically significant higher performance for Task 2. Null Hypothesis 4: Teams that plan Task 1 asynchronously and plan Task 2 synchronously have no difference in performance between Task 1 and Task 2. Changing from Synchronous to Asynchronous Teams: Hypotheses 5 and 6 For those teams having social presence in planning their first task, they should realize the benefits of such visual interaction. This set of hypotheses are concerned with the difference seen for teams who plan the first task using synchronous communication and then plan the second task using asynchronous communication. Hypothesis 5: Teams that plan Task 1 synchronously and plan Task 2 asynchronously have statistically significant lower team development, as measured by the Team Development Survey, for Task 2. Null Hypothesis 5: Teams that plan Task 1 synchronously and plan Task 2 asynchronously have no statistically significant difference in team development, as measured by the Team Development Survey, between Task 1 and Task 2. Hypothesis 6: Teams that plan Task 1 synchronously and plan Task 2 asynchronously have statistically significant lower performance for Task 2. 10
Null Hypothesis 6: Teams that plan Task 1 synchronously and plan Task 2 asynchronously have no statistically significant difference in performance between Task 1 and Task 2. Synchronous versus Face-to-Face Team Performance: Hypothesis 7 The final set of hypotheses relate to task execution. Teams will be performing the tasks by one of two forms of synchronous communication, by video teleconference or face-to-face. Because Distributed Mission Operations are solely conducted using synchronous technologies, results of teams using different methods for planning are to be compared to traditional face-to-face teams. Social presence offered by synchronous communication is expected to have similar benefits as traditional face-to-face interaction. Thus, it is hypothesized that: Hypothesis 7: Teams that execute Task 1 and Task 2 face-to-face have statistically significant higher performance as compared to teams that execute tasks synchronously. Null Hypothesis 7: Teams that execute Task 1 and Task 2 face-to-face have no statistically significant difference in performance as compared to teams that execute tasks synchronously. Assumptions and Limitations Because this study compared computer-mediated teams, it is assumed that all members are proficient in the electronic medium with which they are being asked to use. With the prevalence of computers today, there is an understanding that all subjects assigned to the computer-mediated groups are experienced with their use. It is also assumed that subjects will have an equal opportunity to participate in this research.
There are some limitations to this study, particularly in terms of generalizability of the study results. First, the software/technology used in this study could vary from realworld computer-mediated teams including the ability of the members to see and hear each other based on utilization of straight e-mail correspondence, video conferencing, and web-based presentations. Because the technologies used by computer-mediated groups may vary, the results may be difficult to generalize across all types of computermediated teams. Second, the tasks used in this study require the members to plan a strategy and build a mock ship mast with the materials given. Research supports the notion that different types of tasks require different levels and types of communication media; therefore, there is an acknowledgement that the results may not be applicable to all types of team tasks (Thompson & Coovert, 2003). Conclusions may not be relevant to all types of teams because of the particular subjects chosen in this study. There are implications for the generalizability of results in using students. Students are acknowledged to have less subject knowledge and experience in the domain in which the communication would take place. Research has shown that teams that are new to working as a group require a different level of communication and may generate different study results (Thompson & Coovert, 2003). Research involving teams should consider work groups who have some knowledge and expertise in the tasks that are being discussed. In addition, there may be some concern that the students may have prior social interaction that may influence the assessment of “true” distributed teams. As true for many studies that use a student population to derive subjects, the limitations of prior interaction among team members is always a consideration. The study design for this 12
however. this research recruited newly enrolled (freshman) students who have had little opportunity to socialize prior to conduct of the research. Definition of Terms Computer-mediated communication . In this study. Computer-mediated teams – teams that use computer-mediated communications to accomplish a goal or objective. and perceive information using networked communication or computer systems to facilitate the transmission of messages and/or images.project. In particular. Mission planning – the meeting(s) conducted by aircrews to discuss operations to be performed as part of flight training or real-world flight missions. Distributed mission operation – the practice of training aircrews that are geographically separated. yet still conduct mission planning and execution as those aircrews who meet face-to-face. Asynchronous communication .process by which people create.communication in which there is no timing requirement for transmission and in which individuals submit individual contributions to the communication at any time. 13 . exchange. sought to minimize this possible limitation by having volunteers of freshman students participate in the research. asynchronous communication means text chat or e-mail messaging. Prior student interaction will also be minimized by the fact that student teams will be assembled to work with each other in the context of the particular task assignments for the first time.
receive messages real-time as they are produced. synchronous communications occur in real time. For this research. Social presence – refers to the amount of social or visual contact or sense of interaction. For this research. synchronous means video communications. can see and hear one another. and send and receive information simultaneously. it is conveyed through visual contact. Virtual teams – teams operating with members not co-located and interact through some sort of technological medium. Synchronous communication. Tele-presence – factors normally present for face-to-face groups available to distributed groups.Face-to-face team – a team in which its members share the same physical location.recurring or operating at exactly the same periods. 14 .
both in the area of psychology as well as business and technology. asynchronous versus synchronous communication. Different library databases were utilized. are faced with distributed team environments no matter what the task.CHAPTER 2. however. and the lack of research surrounding more practical uses of computer-mediated technologies. organizations may not have the choice of deciding between traditional face-to-face and computer-mediated environments for having their teams work together. Practically. such as the military. Organizations. Therefore. and social presence. With team interaction technologies emerging on a continuum ranging from high to low social presence. there is a growing need for examining the difference between computer-mediated teams. The literature surveyed for this study was achieved using various resources. distributed teams. Traditional research has focused on comparing computer-mediated teams to traditional face-to-face teams. the issues surrounding the use of various computermediated technologies. Search of relevant journal articles within library databases as well as internet search engines was accomplished by querying with key words such as: virtual team. computer-mediated. With computer-mediated communication being a relevant 15 . understanding the impact of different forms of computer-mediated communication on team performance and development is important. the technological choices for computermediated teams continue to evolve and warrant continual evaluation within the choices of media themselves. LITERATURE REVIEW Introduction The purpose of this chapter is to review the previous research conducted in examining computer-mediated teams. the theories developed to date which try to explain such issues.
Kassin. cross-functional (representative from each functional subunit). Positive team functioning has been linked to increased team effectiveness (Gully. and Education. Because team performance involves the interaction of people. Many aspects studied in social psychology are relevant in 16 . 2002). self-defining (responsibilities shared among team members and all decisions made collectively). and organizational perspective. and behave in regards to other people (Brehm. 2002). and executive (Yukl. members can be selected accordingly. & Fein. These types include functional teams (specialized jobs or having similar functions). In addition. feel. Team performance is an integrated concept requiring examination of many aspects of those involved from the individual. Information Technology. depending upon their influence on each other and their goals. Social psychology studies how individuals think. Incalcaterra. 2001). 2002). There are several different types of teams that can exist. How work is performed in organizations is shifting from an individual focus to emphasis on teams. other career field areas also investigated included Business. interdependent roles. participants can be chosen based upon the personal characteristics that they bring to the group (Zastrow. Depending upon the objectives of the group. selfmanaged (semiautonomous or self-governed with similar operational tasks). the study of social dynamics is important. group. A team has a shared mutual goal or clearly defined purpose such as solving a problem or developing a product (Winum & Seamons. 2005). Joshi & Beubien. and complementary skills (Yukl. A team is more than a simple gathering of people. Social Interaction and Teams The word “team” often means a group of people who have a common purpose.subject for not only Industrial/Organizational Psychology. 2000).
Social identity theory supports the notion that people will be motivated in a team to increase their self-esteem and categorize themselves as part of the team in order to boost feelings of self identity (Chattopadhyay. impact team performance in numerous ways. such as stereotypes. Stereotypes and belief systems distort an individual’s ability to communicate effectively and participate in the team in a positive manner. Individuals will behave in a team situation in certain ways based upon their perceptions of themselves and how they think the team perceives them. including self-esteem and self-efficacy. the team as a whole will have various aspects of social behavior which will impact its effectiveness. & Lawrence. team. Elements of the self. One model focuses on four group characteristics including functional heterogeneity (group member’s perceptions about the diversity of various functional experiences and skills held by other group members).examination of team performance. Beyond individual behavior influencing team performance. Other individual beliefs. Sosik. and outcome expectations (beliefs that group members have regarding the likely consequences the group will experience as a result of their actions) (Jung. & Baik. Participation in the team is affected by an individual’s self-concept. 2004). 2005). George. 17 . group potency (collective belief in a group). preference for group work (group member’s degree of feeling comfortable and enjoying working collectively. and leader affect team performance and success in reaching team goals. Examining relationships longitudinally provides useful insight as to which characteristics emerge as relevant. A variety of models have been developed trying to explain how group characteristics influence team effectiveness. Individuals can have the natural tendency to seek out information which confirms their personal biases and stereotypes (Brehm et al. as opposed to individually)..
2002). These characteristics. Diversity refers to differences between individuals on any attribute that may lead to perceptions that another person is different than themselves (Van Knippenberg. DeDreu. In addition. Diversity can range from age. Member diversity is the first dynamic that comes to mind. Organizations must learn to obtain the most by having a diverse work team in terms of ideas and values. Culturally-diverse work groups are known to have different dynamics than homogeneous groups and are seen as having increased challenges as well as opportunities.) (Jung et al. have been noted to be variable. organizations are becoming more diverse in terms of their demographic composition. because they are a result of studying personnel over time. Cohesion includes those forces on a group which push 18 . Characteristics are likely to fluctuate as the team performs multiple tasks as opposed to other variables which tend to stay constant (e. 2004). 2002). religion. Many researchers have recognized that organizational performance depends in some part on successful utilization of diverse backgrounds and characteristics that group members possess (Jung. Along with taking advantage of differences.. et al. Team performance can be enhanced in the wake of diversity with focused initiatives. 2002). and such diversities have shown to be both positive and negative predictors of team performance (Sundstrom et al. race. 2000). Over the years.. etc.. team cohesion is another social dynamic which impacts team performance. skill level. planning processes. Individual team members influence the performance of the team through various social dynamics. cross-functional teams are becoming more commonplace in organizations. & Homan.g.. etc. group structure. Organizations are increasingly seeing more diverse populations.
When cohesion is strong. 2005). teams can exaggerate their influences too much in one direction or another. 2005). and (c) group pride (the extent group members show liking for the status or ideologies that the group represents). Variables used to measure cohesion in research surrounding group performance included the following (Beal. but not service teams (Sundstrom et al. and the result is overall team performance suffers. cohesion has been shown to be a predictor in project teams. Burke. A positive relationship between cohesiveness and team performance has been dependent upon such factors as size and dependence level among members (Brehm et al.. cohesiveness can be disadvantageous for groups needing creative. Research shows that cohesion is the most studied predictor of team performance (Sundstrom et al. Performance has also shown to be related to certain types of groups. This does not mean that their relationship is clearly causally related. 2003): (a) interpersonal attraction (a shared liking for or attachment to the group members). In terms of types of tasks to be performed. 2003). 2004). Cohen.. (b) task commitment (how much a task allows the group to attain important goals or how much shared commitment there is to the group’s task).. the group is motivated to perform well and is better able to coordinate activities towards successful performance (Beal et al. For example. too. & McLendon.members closer together (Brehm et al.. 2000).. Having an appreciation for cohesiveness and its positive and negative effects can help team performance adapt appropriately Sometimes.. 2000). Team polarization can lead to extreme attitudes as a result of team members’ strongly persuasive stances (Brehm et al. 19 . innovative ideas (Brehm et al..
Teams using computer-mediated communication could be 20 . “virtual teams” (distributed teams using computers to mediate communication) was considered a “novelty phrase” in organizations without much focus on the implication of their use or utilization within an organization (Bergiel. what makes teamwork “work”? The RHR Team Effectiveness Model refers to the interaction of key elements contributing to effective team performance. the RHR Team Effectiveness Model includes interpersonal processes as an important element and emphasizes that such processes are an interactive dynamic impacting the synergy and constructive functioning of a team as a whole (Winum & Seamons. then. the study of communication and the impact of different communication methods are important for successful interpersonal processes to exist. 2000). & Balsmeir. 2008). includes the essential element of interpersonal processes (Winum & Seamons. Biergel. Interpersonal processes are facilitated by communication. Having an appreciation for the interpersonal processes is important for team effectiveness in relation to its organizational context. Teams are viewed as a complex social system with many potential barriers for its effective functioning. but are very commonplace. Research on Computer-Mediated Distributed Teams Advantages of Computer-Mediated Communication In the not too distant past. Therefore. Overall.2005). and this is as important for not only co-located team environments but also distributed team environments as well. These types of teams are not considered novelty anymore. With a foundation in the field of social psychology. The optimal solution for organizations is to minimize the effects of such tendencies and still allow members to feel free to communicate their opinions openly. 2000). of which.
considered an expansion of a traditional cross-functional team to include additional elements spanning functional, organizational, and geographic boundaries. Because of their increased use just within the past decade alone, it is important to understand the issues inherent with computer-mediated communication as compared to traditional faceto-face team interactions. Organizations depend on such teams to be agile and globally competitive (Bergiel et al., 2008). However, studies comparing the effectiveness of communication for computer-mediated communication teams as compared to face-toface teams have been mixed and ambiguous (Thatcher & DeLaCour, 2003). Results have demonstrated many disadvantages and advantages that have been found associated with computer-mediated communication teams. As stated, distributed (or virtual) teams are separated by geographic and/or temporal constraints. Distributed teams are often defined by multiple dimensions typically seen in traditional teams. These include whether the team is permanent or temporary, the team has or does not have history or a future of working with each other, the team is similar or diverse in culture geography (Jarvepaa & Leidner, 1999). However, the distributed team also has an added dimension of communication mode which can be one method or a mixture of methods. Organizations view distributed teams as assets for various reasons. Because of their separation, they can bring together members from different areas of an organization. They can communicate whenever and wherever they desire. Organizations consider distributed teams best equipped to leverage experts without the constraints of co-location. However, without physical proximity, the interpersonal processes occurring between
distributed team members are prone to problems (to be discussed in the subsequent section). There are some benefits seen with computer-mediated teams in terms of social interaction. Interaction of distributed team members through computer-mediated communications permits more equal participation among group members and reduces social constraints that can result in better idea generation. McGuire et al. (1987) showed that groups that use computer technology for communication are less influenced by group norms than face-to-face teams. Computer-mediated communication can break down boundaries such as nationality, race, language and ideology (Postmes, Spears, & Lea, 2002). Individual differences in terms of social status are usually unknown. Individuals may be more inclined to communicate differently than if they would in a face-to-face interaction. Computer-mediated communication can increase group decision-making quality by allowing facilitation of the expression of minority opinions (McLeod, Baron, Marti, & Yoon, 1997). Anonymity of computer-mediated communication can reduce inhibition associated with social apprehension and social status differences (McLeod et al., 1997). It leads to more active and equal team member participation (Berry, 2006). Social anonymity opens an opportunity for more intense communications and can impact a member’s group identity (Stone & Posey, 2005). There is no doubt that there is a definite synergy that develops within a group during a decision-making process. People read off of one another and learn from their interactions. One of the disadvantages of face-to-face groups is the possibility one or more members dominating the group’s activities (Thatcher & DeLaCour, 2003). However, computer-mediated communication seems to encourage individual 22
participation by allowing a team member to openly broadcast personal opinion (Bishop & Levine, 1999). Computer-mediated communication also offers the ability for team members to reflect upon their responses as well as provide them time to collect additional information prior to responding (Berry, 2006). Idea generation has been found to be enhanced through electronic media. Computermediated teams generate more ideas through brainstorming electronically versus face-toface settings (Kerr & Murthy, 2004). It has been noted that there are three advantages to electronic brainstorming including: parallelism (members can contribute simultaneously), group memory (medium enables ideas to be documented exactly as communicated), and anonymity (sometimes ideas can be placed in a pool where individual identity can be hidden) (Dennis & Valacich, 1993). Depending upon the tasks associated with brainstorming in this medium, the effectiveness of computer-mediated team decisions can more optimally reached. Dennis and Valacich (1993) note some discovered advantages of electronic brainstorming including the ability to work simultaneously, recording of group dialogue, and allowing members to feel anonymous and freer to express themselves. It was also hypothesized that large electronic-brainstorming groups would generate more ideas than nominal groups, but that there would be little difference for smaller groups. Dennis and Valacich (1993) compared the number of unique ideas between computer-mediated communication and traditional face-to-face groups, as well as between small (sixmember) and large (twelve-member) groups. The researchers found that twelve-member computer-mediated communication groups generated more ideas than twelve-member
smaller six-member face-to-face teams indicated more apprehension than any other group. The findings of Dennis and Valacich (1993) are important because they dispel the belief that electronic media is not an effective vehicle for teams. 1993). As Dennis and Valacich (1993) prove in their results.face-to-face groups. expectations. Obviously. responsibilities. Disadvantages of Computer-Mediated Communication Distributed teams are faced with the challenges of managing conflict coming from different boundaries or locations. for example idea-generation. 2004). role ambiguity. Virtual team members may feel isolated and 24 . member’s experiences. there are critical numbers of members before the returns of performance are minimized. while there were no differences between six-member groups (Dennis & Valacich. and other factors would more than likely show different results such as more synergy with smaller group sizes. It does lend support that depending on the type of task. Researchers have found that such problems are exacerbated in the context of virtual teams (Maruping & Agarwal. and lack of team identification. Problems typically faced by teams causing conflict include low organizational commitment. It is important for members to be aware of each other and to be able to perceive themselves as a cohesive unit in decision-making (Thatcher & DeLaCour. 2003). The study also suggests that group size is not necessarily a limiting factor for computer-mediated teams (Dennis & Valacich. 1993). Dennis and Valacich (1993) admit if a more heterogeneous group of subjects were used. With face-to-face interactions. there is more likelihood that idea generation may be hindered because of feelings of judgment. a computer-mediated communication team can be as or more productive than a traditional face-to-face team.
Satisfaction. The establishment of mutual knowledge among members of computer-mediated teams is susceptible to confusion due to the nature of comparing written to oral communication. 2003). The results of Thompson and Coovert’s (2003) study showed that computermediated teams felt more dissatisfied with their collaborative processes and less satisfied with the outcome of the team exercise (Thompson & Coovert.missing a team identity. they also examined the relationship among communication medium. team discussion time. Literature suggests that computer-mediated teams are vulnerable to communication and coordination difficulties. This could be due to the lack of expertise and knowledge about the technology and its use. 2008). process. communication medium. Thompson & Coovert’s (2003) main argument in their research was that the mutual knowledge gained through personal faceto-face team interaction is assumed to be lacking in computer-mediated teams. According to some researchers (Bergiel et al. and decision recording accuracy. In addition.. process satisfaction. can be a broadly-defined term. and outcome satisfaction. Lacking mutual knowledge in a team environment can also lead to dissatisfaction with the processes and outcomes associated with the team. Satisfaction can include a multitude of areas including with the discussion. The researchers examined specific variables including perceived discussion confusion. however. selfreported computer savvy team members may not have sufficient knowledge to meet the demands with the virtual team. particularly when their work involves a good deal of interdependence (Thompson & Coovert. and other members of the group (Thompson & Coovert. Their research 25 . 2003). 2003).
there will be greater differences in product quality between computer-mediated and face-to-face teams. Also. The results of this study confirm results seen from other studies looking at computer-mediated groups (Thompson & Coovert. In terms of performance effectiveness. lack of satisfaction in the process and outcomes of the team collaborations. 1994). proportion of correct answers. In another research study of computer-mediated teams. For instance. 1994). Examination of quality showed positive results for computer-mediated groups. overall decision quality. There were no significant differences between computer-mediated and face-to-face groups on any of the tasks. Straus and McGrath (1994) concluded that as tasks require more and more coordination and consensus. With differences seen in satisfaction for judgment and intellective tasks as compared to idea-generation tasks. and distribution of choices (Straus & McGrath. Straus and McGrath (1994) performed a repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance for medium and task.confirmed that the lack of mutual knowledge in existence with computer-mediated teams is evidenced by feelings of confusion. as well as inaccuracies in recording the team information. 26 . computer-mediated communication is viewed as a less-than-suitable means of coordination. there was no difference between them on idea quality. differences between computer-mediated and face-to-face groups in product quality will be smaller for idea-generation tasks and greater for intellective and judgment tasks. Analysis of productivity scores showed a difference among medium with computer-mediated groups demonstrating significantly less productivity (Straus & McGrath. Straus and McGrath (1994) hypothesized that as the need for member coordination on tasks increases. 2001. 1994). they found significant difference for medium and task type with the greatest difference seen among them on the judgment task (Straus & McGrath.
Computer-mediated communication is considered very low in social presence. In fact. In this medium. while face-to-face groups are considered just the opposite.Dennis & Valacich.. warm. there is a lack of direct physical presence between the communicators. Removal of social presence in computer-mediated communication groups has been found to raise group polarization (Sia et al. 1993) that members of these groups are less satisfied with their work and the process and find they are more confused. When examining research comparing computer-mediated teams to face-to-face teams. personal and sensitive (Thatcher & DeLaCour.) (McGuire et al. 2002).. It also confirms that computer- mediated communication is better for some types of tasks (idea-generation) as opposed to others (intellective and judgment). audio. 2003). Social influence in group discussions is communicated through verbal and “social context cues” (for example. 2003). etc. Social presence is a major factor for the communication issues faced by computer-mediated teams. and then print (Galushkin. seating position. face-to-face communications is viewed as offering the highest degree of social presence followed by video. 1987). a common thread is the amount of social presence. Social presence theory advocates that communication media should vary accordingly to the degree of “social presence” or the feeling that communication is social. therefore. body language. Electronic media are seen to filter out the cues provided by personal contact. group polarization is believed to be raised is because of the feelings members have in being anonymous and the 27 . The impact on team performance for computer-mediated teams is that these elements of influence are removed and prevents the full exchange of views and feedback.
2004. there is a belief that when social presence is high (as with traditional face-toface communication). Zigurs & Khazanchi. problem. It is believed that with an appearance of providing a platform for “open voice.. 2002). Uninhibited behavior can lead to more extreme disagreements that can make the group ineffective in coming to consensus. There are few theories addressing the role of interpersonal processes and the impact of social influence. Given the unique and varied environment offered by computer-mediated communications. it is optimized by selecting the appropriate set of tools matched to the requirements of the task (Kerr & Murthy. 1999). 2008). Reducing social presence can result in the pursuit of self interests over group interests.restrictions of social cues (Sia et al. 2004). Early theories centered on the characteristics of media and their impact on the selection of media. 2002). Task-technology-fit theory provides guidance for team performance. 28 . Task-Technology Fit The theory of task-technology fit is considered the only theory that addresses the link between task requirements and technological functionalities (Maruping & Agarwal.. these theories center upon aspects of task type and relational issues in choosing the appropriate technology (Lim & Hung.” computermediated teams are more susceptible to conflicts and tensions (Bishop & Levine. Theories Guiding Computer-Mediated Distributed Teams There are several theories which provide the basis of studies concentrated on computer-mediated teams. so when using computer-mediated communication. In contrast. 2008). people are encouraged to treat each other as social beings with feelings rather than objects (Sia et al. Tasks which differ based upon complexity (such as simple.
Nedelko (2007) describes a matrix used to assign video conferencing (desktop or room-based) based upon the number of sites connected as well as task type. 2007). it has been advocated that a successful computer-mediated team is proficient in learning how to best utilize the medium that it has and the ability to explore the creative use of different technologies (Colquitt. Hollenbeck. 2008). and judgment) are best matched to media with different levels of capability (communication support. 2002). While the majority of research has focused on choosing computer-mediated communication versus a traditional in-person communication method. Jocob. Communication media vary in its ability to convey rich information 29 . Overall. 2008). Ilgen. & Sheppard.decision. For example. Media Richness Theory Media rich theory also asserts that the selection of communication media should match the features of a group’s task (Barkhi. & Pirkul. Multi-site (three or more) video conferencing is considered best for routine problem solving or negotiations. information processing) (Zigurs & Khazanchi. Media Richness Theory is considered a theory within the umbrella of Task-Technology Fit (Zigurs & Khazanchi. while it is recommended for more complex problem solving and data collection to use less number of sites (no more than two) (Nedelko. there has been some assessment of selecting appropriate synchronous (video conferencing) communication based upon the team’s task requirements. process structure. This matrix considers the type of technology (meaning the number of actual sites connected by conferencing software) in order to perform different tasks. there has been some research examining technology fit within the same computer-mediated method. 1999). LePine.
Communication can vary allowing text.(such information includes communication that overcomes different frames of reference as well as changes in understanding in a reasonable time) (Daft & Lengel. asynchronous audio. Kumar & Benbasat. and channel capacity (Kumar & Benbasat. Newberry (2001) organized media in such a manner and placed more rich communications such as face-to-face. message tailoring and emotions. cues. 2001). verbal and non-verbal cues. e-mail. For providing multiple cues. and text-chat on the side of “high” media rating for providing feedback. Communication media can. Visual cues are seen as necessary to read reactions and obtain an understanding of the impact of certain behaviors (Thompson & Coovert. only face-to-face communication was deemed sufficient. The three dimensions of media richness are: interactivity. adaptability. 2002). 2003). A way to conceptualize this theory is by placing the types of communication media by a rating by its ability to enable feedback. 1986). Boos. The media methods considered less “rich” are not able to convey messages across multiple channels. while all forms of technology mediated communication (synchronous audio. multiple cues. 2003. and language variety (Thatcher & DeLaCour. and threaded discussions) were considered “low” media for their ability to convey multiple cues (Newberry. & Sassenberg.” Media that is more “rich” provides immediate feedback. be classified according to their level of “richness. 2002). However. Media is deemed “rich” based upon the number of cues available. it is also important to understand that the focus of this theory should not be confused with 30 . 2002). synchronous audio. therefore. video conferencing. Application of this theory places different communication media into a hierarchy in terms of its ability to transport complex information from sender to receiver (Jonas. text-chat.
Media Synchronicity Theory Media Synchronicity Theory is considered a more three-dimensional model incorporating team functions. Looking at the tasks required for within a team environment. in some computer-mediated communication methods (such as text-base) is attempted to be conveyed through the use of symbols which may or may not prove effective (Kumar & Benbasat. media type (face-to-face. According to this theory. 2006). and communication processes (DeLuca & Valacich. but rather the ability for information to change understanding within a defined period of time (Kumar & Benbasat. For example. however. with the introduction of visually-based technologies allowing teams to communicate. 2002). It is generally assumed and advocated that face-to-face communication is a richer media than computer-mediated (Barkhi et al. teams using computer-mediated communication are recommended to spend more time “verbalizing” information than face-to-face counterparts (Thompson & Coovert. tasks requiring a significant amount of coordination are considered to require richer media or higher rating as indicated above. media capabilities.media characteristics. meaning. This theory centers on the ability of communication technology to transmit social cues inherent within face-to-face interactions (Maruping & Agarwal.) should be chosen that offers the greatest efficiency and opportunity for the communication to occur accurately (Newberry. etc. With interaction as a 31 . 1999). This assumption is clouded. 2003).. “Verbalization” can also be achieved by mimicking real-time conversations across computer-generated mediums. 2004). video conferencing. 2002). Because of the belief of being a less rich medium for communication. 2001). Synchronicity is equated to the level of interaction.
Media Synchronicity Theory was revised to replace immediacy of feedback with transmission velocity (Dennis. and ability to re-process or re-address a message within the same communication. By considering tasks as individual event. symbol variety or the format which information is conveyed (verbal and non-verbal symbols). While Media Richness Theory views tasks as whole events and would assign the media based on a holistic assessment. Communication media influences task performance by the ability or inability of the media to support the dimensions. ability to rehearse or fine-tune a message before sending. With increased focus on media and the impact of changing technologies. this theory poses that each task will vary by the dimensions listed above and be impacted by the interaction associated among them. & Valacich. 2006): immediacy of feedback.fundamental element. The theory takes into consideration that tasks are varied within a team activity and have multiple levels of complexity. Media Synchronicity looks at tasks as singular events. parallelism or the number of effective simultaneous conversations. 2005). Fuller. The dimensions affecting communication as identified by the Media Synchronicity Theory are (DeLuca & Valacich. synchronicity is increased as exchanges in communication can occur faster and come close to appearing seamless. 32 . 2008). media synchronicity theory is actually an extension of media richness theory. The Media Synchronicity Theory suggests that no media is good or bad consistently on all five dimensions and the effectiveness of the media in supporting group interactions is dependent upon the tasks involved (Chang. With media transmitting in a faster mode.
The communication develops as nonlinear sequential patterns and causes discussions to appear disjointed (Distiller & Thatcher. as with any technology. a method that is more natural.” This type of media are sort of a live message board which allows members to simultaneously type in responses that are displayed almost real time on a common message board. Some communication methods are deemed “quasi-synchronous. Presence. However. Social Presence Theory Social presence is a major factor for the communication issues faced by computermediated teams. Members would have to develop some way to track decisions or milestones from these discussions. As a result. multiple streams of discussions occurring. 2006).Media Naturalness Theory This theory proposes that an individual’s cognitive effort will increase when engaged in a mode of communication that is different from that which is more natural (Simon. appears to revolve around perceptions and abilities to “feel” connected. can be viewed as preferable requiring less cognitive effort. Some believe that this type of media for teams is optimal. videoconferencing has its problems with poor quality of video or delayed audio transmission. The issue with Media Naturalness is that it focuses on media itself in its capacity to convey information and neglects task differences as well as complexity of social forces (Simon. What is presence? This is a valid question given the range of technologies available for communication. 2005). Ensuring communication is effectively achieving positive results would seem quite difficult by having non-sequential. 2006). such as videoconferencing. 33 . in terms of computer-mediated communication.
and social actor within medium (the level of interaction allowed with a communication medium which includes interaction. There is not only the significance of the interaction among individuals. among users). Social presence is part of a larger set of theories in social psychology which are based upon the premises of basic human interaction. immersion (the extent the medium and environment envelopes a user both perceptually and psychologically). In fact. social presence is considered to include graduated levels perceptions and states of mind.Kumar & Benbasat (2002) outline different conceptualizations of presence including: social richness (the level of conceptualization a team member has dependent upon the salience of social perceptions). The state of social presence and co-presence can vary over computer-mediated communication from a low level of awareness that the other team member is co-present to a high level of awareness that the other team member’s emotional states are accessible (Biocca & Harms. the instinctual nature of human interaction is still a major factor. or the lack of. While interaction can be facilitated through computer-mediated technologies. realism (the degree that the communication medium produces realistic representations of others or the environment). but the manner in which interactions are mediated. Biocca and Harms (2002) considered social 34 . transportation (the feeling of “being there” or “we are together”). In fact. 2008). some view the categories of “social actor within medium” and “medium as social actor: as the most significant aspects related to virtual team projects (Lim & Hung. 2002). For this to occur there must be a level of awareness of the other team member’s existence and perceptions that they are truly interacting. 2007). A related construct to social presence is called co-presence which is considered a sense of the being in a shared space (Jerome & Jordan.
but also from a subjective and inter-subjective level which took into consideration awareness within the individual as well as dynamics amongst the group such as perceived comprehension. team members are believed to be disconnected and cohesion levels low.presence from not only a perceptual level in broader terms. Kwan. In computer-mediated communications. This definition is expanded to include media which defined social presence as the degree a person perceives to be real in a mediated environment (Newberry. Williams. 2007. the lack of direct physical presence influences the level of co-presence felt. Ng. 1997). Social presence theory first put forth by Short. This theory also purports that the awareness and sensitivity of the presence of other people is directly related to the number of communication accessibility or modes (Liu. d. the level of social presence is expected 35 . n. and this is highly influenced by the work required of the team. d. Yet. team members must be able to work together despite their physical separation. When social presence is low.). Tsang. and symmetry between members providing a sense of mutual presence. Social presence is considered one of the most important factors that help people collaborate because it allows the team to feel a sense of belonging and cohesion amongst themselves (Na Ubon & Kimble. 2001). As the number of communication restrictions decreases.). advocates that social presence is the perception that one is communicating with people and not inanimate objects. they feel “joint involvement” (Kurzendoerfer. attention engagement. 2003. 2002). n. and Christie (1976). Kurzendoerfer. Kumar & Benbasat. Social presence theory advocates that communication media should vary accordingly to the degree of social presence needed by the team’s task (s) (Thatcher & DeLaCour. but if social presence is high. Cheung & Choy.
More visual (or synchronous) communications are seen to provide the social and contextual cues necessary to develop a feeling of social presence.. or enhance social cognitions and interactions (Biocca & Harms. 1987). body language. have an impact on the communication occurring in the group (Lim & Hung. According to Social Presence Theory. It is a theory that purports how technology can affect. seating position. Communication and social interaction conveyances vary. These include having the ability to hear vocal fluctuations.to increase. and cause a decrease in social presence. distort. social influence in team discussions can be communicated through verbal and “social context cues” (for example. The impact on team performance for computer-mediated teams is that these elements of influence are removed or lessened and prevent optimal communication to occur (full exchange of views and feedback). 2002). and thus.) (McGuire et al. 2008). the characteristics of media have the ability to change the salience of each individual’s presence. For example. Social presence involves both the individual team member sensing they perceive others and others are able to perceive them (Kumar & Benbasat. 2005). Asynchronous (or text-based) communications are seen to lack the ability to evoke feelings of social presence (Wheeler. 2002). while the number of restrictions can possibly increase and thus lessen the ability to communicate. 2008). see facial movements and even hear surrounding sounds. Social Presence and Team Development and Performance There have been some limitations noted of applying Social Presence Theory on computer-mediated teams since computer due to the reason that there are many levels of “presence” allowed with computer-mediated communication (Lim & Hung. etc. For 36 .
In addition. While media rich (video conferencing) or face-to-face meetings may not be practical for every team communication effort. to compensate for missing social interaction and team building experiences in the computer-mediated environment. there should be opportunities for some sort of “media-rich” interaction. 37 . Task-technology fit could help predict a team’s outcomes in terms of the degree the technology relates to the informationprocessing and coordination needs of the tasks at hand (Maruping & Agarwal. it is suggested that organizations provide at least some opportunity for computer-mediated teams to meet face-to-face at particular stages of project development (Franz. However. do teams develop and perform as well as teams who meet initially by other computer-mediated means (asynchronous or text-based communications)? Some social presence is necessary to develop the perceptual salience of team members. 2002). when team members face relationship conflicts or require some affect management. 2002). The performance demands of the team will play a significant role in terms of which type of media to select for a distributed team. a text-based communication method has no social presence as compared to a video-based communication method. If provided an opportunity to interact in a media-rich environment (synchronous video conferencing) for part of their work together. 2002). the need for nonverbal cues and emotional content in the communications is greater (Maruping & Agarwal.example. This topic leads to the research questions of this study. 1999). Teams using technologies or approaches high in media richness in the early stages of development enable trust among team members to be developed (Maruping & Agarwal.
2004. presence in this study is considered by the type of communication by its inclusion of visual connection. 2007). however. with the importance of social presence in establishing basically the perceptual “glue” among its members.With most studies related to computer-mediated teams concentrating on differences with face-to-face teams (Thompson & Coovert. Therefore. be considered as part of the communication variable (asynchronous versus synchronous). Social presence as a measure. interactivity. the introduction of visual interaction is also important to examine for computer-mediated teams. or lack thereof. 2005). there is limited research on comparisons between computer-mediated teams. Characteristics of the communication medium (in terms of stimuli. In addition. It can. 38 . Kerr & Murthy. and live interactions) are considered determinants of presence (Jerome & Jordan. is a difficult construct. however. while its effect on team development and performance are measured. 2007). It is considered having a lack of conceptual standardization among researchers and a lack of agreement in terms of its measurement (Jerome & Jordan. Thatcher & DeLaCour. 2003.
CHAPTER 3. Because the research examined these dependent variables in terms of the effects of two independent variables within the same team. teams were asked to perform an exercise that involved both planning and task execution. To simulate the Air Force’s distributed mission operation environment. introducing some form of social interaction to a computer-mediated team by means of synchronous communication is hypothesized to result in higher team development than asynchronous computer-mediated teams. is an important consideration for distributed teams. or visual. The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a difference between computer-mediated teams having social. Is initial “presence” going to show higher development within a team than those that do not have such interaction? With research supporting the fact that social presence. asynchronous computer-mediated teams with initial synchronous exposure are expected to have no change in development or performance over time. presence compared to those that do not in planning for a task. 2003). the study involved an experimental within-subjects design. In this 39 . METHODOLOGY Purpose of the Study Social presence or the lack thereof. as experienced in more traditional face-to-face teams. because of the introduction of a social presence. is essential in developing an effective team environment (Thompson & Coovert. Similarly. Research Design The design for this study involved quantitative analysis of the dependent variables team development and performance as compared to the independent variable of team type (computer-mediated communication accomplished either through asynchronous (text chat) or synchronous (video) method).
d. or (d) Team 4 participants plan Task 1 synchronously (via videoconferencing). Task execution was accomplished either by computer-mediated synchronous (via video conferencing) or traditional face-to-face interaction (within the same conference room). plan Task 2 asynchronously (via text chat).study. In Tall Ships™. but at the lowest cost (Task 2) (Teambuildinginc.). and execute both tasks in a face-to-face mode. (c) Team 3 participants plan Task 1 synchronously (via videoconferencing). plan Task 2 synchronously (via videoconferencing). and execute both tasks in a synchronous mode (via videoconferencing). teams are asked to assemble the tallest ship mast possible in the least amount of time (Task 1). All subjects were given an introduction to the communication software prior to the start of the tasks. Since self-report data 40 . The design for this research study consisted of the administration of self-report questionnaire after completion of planning exercises for each task. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions which vary by communication method: (a) Team 1 participants plan task 1 asynchronously (via text chat). plan Task 2 asynchronously (via text chat). and then teams are assembled again rethink their strategy and build yet a taller mast in the same amount of time. teams were given the Tall Ships™ exercise. and execute both tasks in a face-to-face mode. n. plan Task 2 synchronously (via videoconferencing). (b) Team 2 participants plan Task 1 asynchronously (via text chat). Teams are given up to fifteen minutes to develop a plan to complete each task. Task planning was performed by either by computer-mediated asynchronous (via text chat) or computer-mediated synchronous (via videoconferencing) communication media.com. and execute both tasks in a synchronous mode (via videoconferencing).
relies on subjects telling researchers what they believe to be true. With four different types of teams and two tasks. this approach will be appropriate for obtaining team members’ perception (Leedy & Ormrod. 2005). and cost of materials for both Task 1 and Task 2. the study design was organized in the following manner (Figure 1 below): Team Plan 1 2 3 4 Task 1 Execute Face-to-Face Synchronous Face-to-Face Synchronous Plan Task 2 Execute Face-to-Face Synchronous Face-to-Face Synchronous Asynchronous Asynchronous Synchronous Synchronous Synchronous Synchronous Asynchronous Asynchronous Team Development Survey Performance Worksheet Team Development Survey Performance Worksheet Figure 1. the study took advantage of the ability to administer questionnaires to a larger group of subjects at the same time (Leedy & Ormrod. height of the ship’s mast. Overall Study Design Target Population and Participant Selection In descriptive research such as this one. As observation of multiple groups simultaneously would be difficult for this research. the measure for team performance was acquired through data collection of the time each team took to complete each task. Because the target population comprises military aircrew personnel in a computer-mediated team environment. 2005). the goal is to describe a characteristic of a large population (Leedy & Ormrod. 2005). it involves a very 41 . In addition to the questionnaire.
There was also a control for internal validity during the study itself by having the groups unaware of the different conditions for which they are assigned. 2004). Using a different convention to define 42 . By using freshmen students. The sampling strategy was a simple random design of students who volunteer to participate. and are used in many computer-mediated research studies (Thatcher & DeLaCour. the sample of subjects came from the entire freshman population for the spring and fall semesters. 2003). Students represent a good a source for identifying a sample of a diverse workforce. This study recruited students at a major mid-western university to participate in multiple team exercises requiring communication coordination between its members. Thompson & Coovert.05. they will have had little opportunity for social interaction prior to the study as freshman in this particular university are prohibited from wandering around the campus and are also required to stay within the boundaries of their dormitory outside of academic hours. 2003. All freshman students enrolled in an introductory behavioral sciences course were asked to take part in the study. A power analysis was performed to estimate the required sample sizes using the assumptions that the Type II error rate set at β = 0. an effect size meeting the “medium” level was calculated to equal an n of 31 participants. The goal is to find a sample of that possible population in order to make generalizations about the entire population. As this course is required for all freshman students. The research design called for forming a number of groups per team condition. Using Cohen’s convention (Howell.20 (power = 0. Estimations were achieved using different conventions as guides.diverse population spread across a multitude of geographic locations.80) and Type I error rate at α = 0.
team members were placed in assigned office spaces with computers. All subjects were provided an introduction to the Microsoft NetMeeting software prior to the start of the session. a complete list of students enrolled in randomly selected programs were obtained.“medium” effect. Subjects were also shown the video conference 43 . 1991). For asynchronous communication. the required n was 22 participants (Hinkle. 1994). a minimum of 96 participants was needed. Procedures The research was submitted to the Capella University Human Subjects Institutional Review Board with all supporting documentation following submission to the midwestern university’s Institutional Review Board. Once permission was granted from the two boards. With similar psychological research studies using a medium effect size as standard. Synchronous team members were located in rooms with computers equipped with teleconference/tele-presence software to allow them to video conference with each other. Subjects were asked to reply to some example messages using the text chat software so that they are familiar with the manner messages are sent and received. Students were informed of the study as an extra credit opportunity. Thus. Students who came to participate in the study were asked to stay the entire duration of the exercise as well as participate in the survey administration period. Sign-up sheets were posted in the Psychology Department hallways which indicated the date and time students volunteered to attend the study. the determination of a sample size of 24 participants per team condition (making 4 groups of 6-person teams) an acceptable sample determination (Keppel. Wiersman. & Jurs.
Participants individually completed their questionnaire and were verbally assured of the confidentiality of their responses. Teams were then asked to execute the plan developed. This procedure was repeated for a second task (planning and execution). An instruction sheet was read to all participants prior to distributing the questionnaire. Once the study was started. the teams were asked to plan and execute two separate tasks. The constructs are defined as follows: mission clarity is the extent goals and mission of the team are clearly defined. Once completed. 1994). Measures Independent variables for this analysis include type of team (synchronous/asynchronous and asynchronous/synchronous planning teams). this study included questions from five of those including mission clarity. cohesion is the attraction of members to the team. group behavior represents the individual behaviors which influence the group dynamics as a whole. the Campbell-Hallam Team Development Survey was administered to each member (Attachment A). skill development. Dependent variables include the categories of team development and task performance. and personal satisfaction stands for team member attitudes 44 . At the end of the planning exercises. group cohesion. and of which. subjects enclosed their questionnaire in a sealed envelope. group behavior. The questionnaire used in this research to assess team development was a version of the Campbell-Hallam Team Development Survey which is originally based on 18 scales. skill development is the individual team member’s own learning during the team process. personal satisfaction (Leong & Lewis.software and asked to communicate a few minutes with the study administrators to become familiar with the placement of the video camera and software itself.
The version of the Team Development Survey used for this study was an adapted version as used in previous virtual team research (Xue et al. Sankar. Task performance data were recorded in table format for each team (Attachment C). Cost was also determined using a material cost worksheet (Attachment B)...69 and test-retest reliability median correlation of r=0. 2005). Task performance was measured by height of the structure (measured in inches through use of a tape measure) and time to plan and execute completion of the structure (measured in seconds by using a standard stopwatch). 45 . 2005).90). Each piece of the materials given to complete the task is color-coded that varies by size and shape.69-0. Xue et al. 2005). Total cost of the mast created will be determined by the sum of the pieces used.7. This instrument is also useful in that it measure many areas at one in terms of the individual team member’s experience. 2003). & Mbarika. The Team Development Survey is seen as a structured instrument to gather characteristics “necessary for the effective functioning of work groups” and can be used with different types of teams such as those developed on an ad hoc basis as well as crossfunctional teams (Nelson. Campbell and Hallam (1994) report the Team Development Survey is reliable with internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha 0. Questions on the survey are to be evaluated on a 5-point scale from “1” (strongly disagree) to “5” (strongly agree) (Xue et al.80 (ranging 0.towards the team working experience (Xue. The worksheet provides a cost list of items by the different colors. (2005) assessed the reliability of the constructs of the Team Development Survey used and found acceptable reliability with measurements of Cronbach’s alpha above 0.
46 . These areas and associated hypotheses are: Synchronous versus Asynchronous Teams: Hypotheses 1 and 2 Hypothesis 1: For Task 1. Team Plan 1 H1 2 3 4 Asynchronous Asynchronous Synchronous Synchronous Task 1 Execute Face-to-Face Synchronous Face-to-Face Synchronous Plan Synchronous Synchronous Asynchronous Asynchronous Task 2 Execute Face-to-Face Synchronous Face-to-Face Synchronous Team Development Survey Figure 2. Study Design – Hypothesis 1 Hypothesis 2: For Task 1. compared to teams that plan synchronously (see Figure 2). the hypotheses are organized into four areas related to the research questions and research design.Re-Statement of Research Hypotheses As stated earlier. teams using asynchronous planning have statistically significant lower team development. teams using asynchronous planning have statistically significant lower performance. as measured by the Team Development Survey. compared to teams that plan synchronously (see Figure 3).
Team Plan 1 H2 2 3 4 Task 1 Execute Face-to-Face Synchronous Face-to-Face Synchronous Plan Task 2 Execute Face-to-Face Synchronous Face-to-Face Synchronous Asynchronous Asynchronous Synchronous Synchronous Synchronous Synchronous Asynchronous Asynchronous Performance Worksheet Figure 3. for Task 2 (see Figure 4 below). Team Plan 1 H3 2 3 4 Task 1 Execute Face-to-Face Synchronous Face-to-Face Synchronous Plan Task 2 Execute Face-to-Face Synchronous Face-to-Face Synchronous Asynchronous Asynchronous Synchronous Synchronous Synchronous Synchronous Asynchronous Asynchronous Team Development Survey Team Development Survey Figure 4. as measured by the Team Development Survey. Study Design – Hypothesis 3 47 . Study Design – Hypothesis 2 Changing from Asynchronous to Synchronous Teams: Hypotheses 3 and 4 Hypothesis 3: Teams that plan Task 1 asynchronously and plan Task 2 synchronously have statistically significant higher team development.
for Task 2 (see Figure 6 below). Team Plan 1 H4 2 3 4 Asynchronous Asynchronous Synchronous Synchronous Task 1 Execute Face-to-Face Synchronous Face-to-Face Synchronous Plan Synchronous Synchronous Asynchronous Asynchronous Task 2 Execute Face-to-Face Synchronous Face-to-Face Synchronous Performance Worksheet Performance Worksheet Figure 5.Hypothesis 4: Teams that plan Task 1 asynchronously and plan Task 2 synchronously have statistically significant higher performance for Task 2 (see Figure 5 below). Team Plan 1 H5 2 3 4 Asynchronous Asynchronous Synchronous Synchronous Task 1 Execute Face-to-Face Synchronous Face-to-Face Synchronous Plan Synchronous Synchronous Asynchronous Asynchronous Task 2 Execute Face-to-Face Synchronous Face-to-Face Synchronous Team Development Survey Team Development Survey Figure 6. Study Design – Hypothesis 4 Changing from Synchronous to Asynchronous Teams: Hypotheses 5 and 6 Hypothesis 5: Teams that plan Task 1 synchronously and plan Task 2 asynchronously have statistically significant lower team development. as measured by the Team Development Survey. Study Design – Hypothesis 5 48 .
Hypothesis 6: Teams that plan Task 1 synchronously and plan Task 2 asynchronously have statistically significant lower performance for Task 2 (see Figure 7 below). Team Plan 1 H6 2 3 4 Asynchronous Asynchronous Synchronous Synchronous Task 1 Execute Face-to-Face Synchronous Face-to-Face Synchronous Plan Synchronous Synchronous Asynchronous Asynchronous Task 2 Execute Face-to-Face Synchronous Face-to-Face Synchronous Performance Worksheet Performance Worksheet Figure 7. Task 1 Plan 1 H7 2 3 4 Asynchronous Asynchronous Synchronous Synchronous Execute Face-to-Face Synchronous Face-to-Face Synchronous Plan Synchronous Synchronous Asynchronous Asynchronous Task 2 Execute Face-to-Face Synchronous Face-to-Face Synchronous Team Performance Worksheet Performance Worksheet Figure 8. Study Design – Hypothesis 6 Synchronous versus Face-to-Face Team Performance: Hypothesis 7 Hypothesis 7: Teams that execute Task 1 and Task 2 face-to-face have statistically significant higher performance as compared to teams that execute tasks synchronously (see Figure 8 below). Study Design – Hypothesis 7 49 .
the teams that plan using similar methods (asynchronous/synchronous and synchronous/asynchronous) are also varied by the task performance communication method (synchronous versus face-to-face). in terms of task execution. With social presence available for the synchronous task execution teams. accepting the null hypothesis). asynchronous computermediated team members were expected to not show higher team development measures as compared to synchronous teams. In addition. Because of the supporting literature demonstrating the lack of social presence and visual cues associated with traditional face-to-face (or more social team interactions).Expected Findings There were several findings expected from this research study. Finally. accepting the null hypothesis). it was also anticipated that teams planning for the first time asynchronously would see higher levels of team development and task performance in the second task exercise they perform because they are communicating synchronously with a more media “rich” communication media. The findings will add significant understanding to the current studies focused on computer-mediated teams and lead to 50 . there was not expected to be a difference between teams using synchronous or face-to-face methods in task performance (again. teams that have synchronous interaction in the first exercise and asynchronous interaction later were expected to demonstrate no difference in performance in terms of task measures due to their initial social interaction (thus. However. The measures of team development showing low agreement with computer-mediated team members will permit the development of performance interventions either in the mode of new technologies or group behavior.
additional research focused on exploring the relationship of performance and computermediated teams as well as methods to improve it. the importance of interpersonal processes is an essential piece contributing to the effectiveness of team development and performance. The dynamics associated with teams arriving at decisions affects the overall culture of the team and motivates individuals to feel as part of the team and for the team to perform as a collective unit. 51 . In reference to the team effectiveness model presented earlier. The findings of this research study are anticipated to be of great importance to different types of organizational virtual teams as well as educational teams. The results will help teams understand what impacts their performance.
is an important variable to consider in using computer-mediated communication and evaluating its impact on the team (Sia et al. With the introduction of new technologies. 2003). Social presence or the lack thereof. 2003. Computer-mediated teams are known to be less effective working with each other (Thatcher & DeLaCour.. 2002.CHAPTER 4. 2004). Because the research examined dependent variables in terms of the effects of two independent variables within the same team. This study compared computer-mediated teams in terms of specific variables such as team development and performance and considered the different choices of communication (with varying amount of social presence) in the planning and execution of team tasks. Maruping & Agarwal. This study used a quantitative research design involving the analysis of the dependent variables team development and performance as compared to the independent variable of team type (using asynchronous (text chat) or synchronous (video) computermediated communication method). computer-mediated communication will vary by its degree of social presence (synchronous forms such as teleconferencing versus asynchronous forms such as e-mail). DATA ANALYSES AND RESULTS Introduction The purpose of this study was to investigate the differences between teams which communicate using forms of computer-mediated communication. It is uncertain whether initial use of more “social presence” technologies (such as synchronous video communication) is warranted for team development and performance. Thompson & Coovert. Some early interaction of team members that provide social interaction may be sufficient in establishing the development teams and impact their performance and allow subsequent interactions with different methods of communication. the study 52 .
There were a total of 19 teams formed.involved an experimental with-subjects design. d. n. Description of Sample The subjects for this study consisted of students enrolled in a beginner Psychology class at a major mid-western university. and then teams were assembled again build a taller mast (Task 2) (Teambuildinginc. teams were asked to perform an exercise that involves both planning and task execution. teams were given the Tall Ships™ exercise. To simulate the Air Force’s distributed mission operation environment. There were 92 male subjects (92.9%) and 7 female subjects (7. All subjects were freshman students and ranged in age from 18-19 years.). A total of 99 students volunteered and successfully participated in the study. teams were tasked to assemble the tallest ship mast possible in the time given (Task 1). In this study.1%). Distribution of Team Type Team Type 1 2 3 4 Plan Asynchronous Asynchronous Synchronous Synchronous Task 1 Execute Face-to-Face Synchronous Face-to-Face Synchronous Plan Synchronous Synchronous Asynchronous Asynchronous Task 2 Execute Face-to-Face Synchronous Face-to-Face Synchronous Total # of Teams 6 5 4 4 19 53 . In Tall Ships™.com. Table 1. Table 1 below provides a distribution of the number of teams by team type (conditions which the teams varied).
reliability was also calculated using this study’s results. Figures 9 and 10 show the distributions of the responses (scale 1 to 5. and personal satisfaction). There were seven relevant hypotheses for this study.. cost as well as height of mast. team development was understood in context of the thirteen items modified from the Team Development Survey.Data Analysis For the analyses. 2005). team development is understood in context of the items from the Team Development Survey (which include areas of mission clarity. For the analyses. skill development. The Team Development Survey was administered after completion of planning for Task 1 and again after planning for Task 2. The version of the Team Development Survey used for this research was an adapted version used in previous virtual team research (Xue et al. group cohesion. 54 . Task performance was assessed in terms of time to plan. 1= strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree) for items 1-13 on the Team Development Survey after Task 1 and Task 2. Task performance was assessed in terms of time to plan and complete the task as well as success of task completion (height of mast or cost).69). time to execute task. While Campbell and Hallam (1994) reported that the Team Development Survey is reliable (Cronbach’s alpha 0. group behavior. These hypotheses centered on the measures of team development and performance either after performance of one task or over two tasks.
70 or higher is considered acceptable (Wikia.Task 1 100 90 80 % of Responses 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 8 9 10 11 12 T2 Q T2 Q T2 Q T2 Q T2 Q T2 Q T2 Q T2 Q T2 Q T2 Q T2 Q T2 Q T2 Q 13 R5 R4 R3 R2 R1 Figure 10. Distribution of Team Development Survey Responses.100 90 80 % of Responses 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 4 6 2 1 3 5 7 8 9 12 T1 Q T1 Q T1 Q T1 Q T1 Q T1 Q T1 Q T1 Q T1 Q T1 Q T1 Q T1 Q T1 Q 13 10 11 R5 R4 R3 R2 R1 Figure 9. a reliability of 0.Task 2 Table 2 shows the Cronbach’s alpha values for the Team Development Survey administered after Task 1 and after Task 2.com. n. According to most professionals. Distribution of Team Development Survey Responses. d.) 55 .
Synchronous versus Asynchronous Teams: Hypotheses 1 and 2 Hypothesis 1.05 were interpreted to mean that there was a significant difference between means of the groups compared in the analysis. Significance F values provided evidence of between group variability with significance statistically (p<. Hypothesis 1 states: For Task 1. This hypothesis directly compares teams who plan asynchronously to teams that plan synchronously. Teams 1 and 2 planned Task 1 asynchronously. while Teams 3 and 4 planned Task 1 synchronously.05). The independent variable in this analysis is the team type. Data Analyses . compared to teams that plan synchronously.792 0. there was no evidence of statistical difference between means.Table 2. Each item of the 56 . Cronbach’s Alpha for Task 1 and Task 2 Team Development Survey Task 1 Task 2 Cronbach’s Alpha 0.835 Analysis of survey items comprised of a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) providing an indication of the significant differences between the Team Development Survey ratings between computer-mediated teams (asynchronous/synchronous and synchronous/asynchronous). Data were analyzed using the Statistical Program for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 14. teams using asynchronous planning have statistically significant lower team development.05. If the level of significance was equal to or greater than 0. as measured by the Team Development Survey. A level of significance less than 0.0 for Windows.
The independent variable in this analysis is the team type. F statistic. and significance value are provided in Table 3. Again. height. The hypothesis examines the same two types of teams as Hypothesis 1. 57 . and significance value are provided in Table 4. The only item showing significant difference where the mean response for synchronous teams (3. but looks at how teams differ in task performance. the findings do not support the hypothesis as three of the four item means for asynchronous teams were higher than synchronous. Significant differences were found between asynchronous and synchronous teams for four items on the survey.” Hypothesis 2. The mean. compared to teams that plan synchronously.02) was higher than asynchronous teams (2. F statistic. and cost which were analyzed as dependent variables. standard deviation. teams using asynchronous planning have statistically significant lower performance. while Teams 3 and 4 planned Task 1 synchronously. Team 1 and 2 planned Task 1 asynchronously. Overall. The mean.Team Development Survey was analyzed as dependent variable.55) actually stated that teams members “would rather join a different computer-mediated team. Teams were assessed in terms of planning time. execution time. Hypothesis 2 states: For Task 1. standard deviation. while differences were found.
052 6.100 4.550 0.42 0. I would rather join a different computer-mediated team.114 3.376 0. I felt I was really part of our team.927 2.892 2.09 0. Team members were open and frank in expressing their ideas and feelings. If I had to do the same work again in a computer-mediated team.09 0.62 1. I improved my technical ability through this exercise.25 0.385 *Significant at p < .38 0.792 0.184 3.31 3.000 .987 2. Team members were committed to the goals and objectives of the team. I would rather stay in the same team.25 0.936 2.051 3.952 0.48 3.891 0.002 4.031* 4. It is easy for team members to understand the purpose of each meeting.013* 2. I improved my decisionmaking ability through this exercise.910 0.951 0.61 0.27 3.634 0.86 1.045 3.763 0.980 3.982 3.960 3.25 0.786 4.769 3.32 1.20 3.48 1. the quality of my computer-mediated team’s interaction was high.761 0.001 0.428 0.24 0. Results in Team Development – Hypothesis 1 Asynchronous Item Item Descriptor Mean SD Synchronous Mean SD F-value Sig 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Team members can easily understand the mission of the team.027* 3.84 0.41 3.426 .960 . Overall.69 0.210 0.103 1.032* 4.55 1.787 0.426 .011 0.02 0.952 4. I was personally satisfied with the computermediated team decisionmaking process.991 5.67 1.858 3.805 4.019 3.Table 3.775 3. Team members recognized and respected individual differences and contributions during the exercise.91 3.25 0.970 0. Overall.95 0.05 58 .712 . If I had to do the same work again.640 0.977 3.126 0. 4. I improved my teamwork ability through this exercise.
88 SD 3.00 62.146. Results in Task Performance – Hypothesis 2 Asynchronous Performance Plan Time Execution Time Height Cost Mean 14.47 2.548 Synchronous Mean 11.666 0. Hypothesis 3 focuses on the same type of team (Teams 1 and 2) and their differences in Team Development from Task 1 and Task 2.633 0. Teams that planned asynchronously did have a higher mean time to plan (14.94 65.28 1.484 0.539 620.140 15.07 2. for Task 2.05 No significant differences were found among all the variables for task performance between asynchronous and synchronous teams. The hypothesis was not supported.Table 4. Each item of 59 . Data Analyses . as measured by the Team Development Survey.36 SD 1.000 6.250 0. Hypothesis 3 states: Teams that plan Task 1 asynchronously and then plan Task 2 synchronously have statistically significant higher team development.194 0. it was not significantly different from the synchronous teams plan time (11.92 2.176. The communication method chosen for the team for planning did not seem to affect their performance on the task.650 674. It was hypothesized that asynchronous teams would have significantly lower performance than synchronous teams.921 *Significant at p < .218 0. The independent variable in this analysis is the Task.Changing from Asynchronous to Synchronous Teams: Hypotheses 3 and 4 Hypothesis 3.28 minutes).010 Sig 0.052 0.92 minutes).593 F-value 4.348 1. however.
Hypothesis 4 examines the same type of team (Teams 1 and 2) and their differences in Team Performance moving from Task 1 to Task 2. Hypothesis 4 states: Teams planning Task 1 asynchronously and then planning Task 2 synchronously have statistically significant higher performance for Task 2. Hypothesis 4. height. standard deviation. and cost which were analyzed as dependent variables. The team development from the planning is not significantly different from one task to the other regardless of communication method. The mean. Teams were assessed in terms of planning time. The remaining items showed no significant difference for the team between asynchronous and synchronous planning on the Team Development Survey. Significant difference in the team’s assessment of team development between asynchronous and synchronous planning sessions was found for only one item (item 2).the Team Development Survey was analyzed as dependent variable. This item related to understanding the purpose of the meeting. The mean. execution time. The results of this analysis do not support the hypothesis that there would be significant difference for the team moving from an asynchronous to synchronous computer-mediated communication method. Team development does not seem to increase when the team is allowed to communicate for the second task using more “socially present” or synchronous communication. F statistic. 60 . F statistic. and significance value are provided in Table 6. and significance value are provided in Table 5. standard deviation.
809 1.491 0. Team members were committed to the goals and objectives of the team.222 0.956 1.96 0.25 0.539 12 3.117 0.280 0.67 1.305 0.516 1. Team members were open and frank in expressing their ideas and feelings.000* 0.285 Item Item Descriptor F-value Sig 2 3 3.76 0.643 0.198 7 4.67 1.927 3.58 SD 0.698 5 2.55 1.891 0. If I had to do the same work again.11 3.24 0.33 3.45 3. I would rather stay in the same team.061 0.008 0.945 4.84 0.31 0. I improved my decisionmaking ability through this exercise.814 0.594 *Significant at p < . Overall.42 SD 0.171 0.05 61 .008 0.103 1.676 0.477 1.73 1. Team members recognized and respected individual differences and contributions during the exercise.805 4.982 0. 4.959 1. It is easy for team members to understand the purpose of each meeting.321 0.087 9 10 11 3.38 0.379 0.69 0.31 3.981 0.037 16.20 3.991 0. I was personally satisfied with the computermediated team decisionmaking process.184 2. Overall.62 1. If I had to do the same work again in a computermediated team. I felt I was really part of our team. Results in Team Development – Hypothesis 3 Task 1 Asynchronous Mean 1 Team members can easily understand the mission of the team.019 3. the quality of my computer-mediated team’s interaction was high.847 13 3.27 3. I would rather join a different computer-mediated team.981 1.960 3.157 0.977 3.Table 5.78 1.638 8 4.36 0.775 4.04 0.038 0.203 4 3. I improved my technical ability through this exercise.572 6 4.152 0.769 3.951 0.881 2.87 0.786 Task 2 Synchronous Mean 4.25 0. I improved my teamwork ability through this exercise.
250 0.Changing from Synchronous to Asynchronous Teams: Hypotheses 5 and 6 Hypothesis 5.140 15. the finding supports the hypothesis. there were significant differences found in performance for plan time and height of the mast built in the exercise.03 inches) is significantly higher than the mast completed with asynchronous planning (65. as 62 .888 Performance F-value Sig *Significant at p < .05 For teams moving from a task planned asynchronously to a task planned synchronously. While two of the four measures of performance showed significant differences.03 2.75 1. Data Analyses .548 Mean 11. The height of the mast for synchronous planning (84. With team plan time for asynchronous planning (14.94 65. Results in Task Performance – Hypothesis 4 Task 1 Asynchronous Mean Plan Time Execution Time Height Cost 14.824 5.020 0. the hypothesis is not overwhelmingly supported that synchronous communication will result in higher team performance.268 0.490 476.28 minutes) higher than synchronous planning (11.28 1.650 674.82 Task 2 Synchronous SD 3.86 84.093 9.Table 6.025* 0.75 minutes).226 0. Hypothesis 5 states: Teams that plan Task 1 synchronously and plan Task 2 asynchronously have statistically significant lower team development.308 0.205 13.146.07 inches) which also supports the hypothesis that synchronous computer-mediated planning will show higher performance as compared to the team when it planned using asynchronous planning.181.006* 0.07 2.882 1.36 SD 1.
The findings did not support the hypothesis. As with the similar set of hypothesis above which compared the opposite situation (teams moving from asynchronous to synchronous conditions). moving from a more “socially present” communication method to a less “socially present” communication method appears to have no impact on the team. Teams that moved from a synchronous method to an asynchronous method did not have lower team development scores once they moved to the asynchronous environment. Hypothesis 6. and significance value are provided in Table 8. and significance value are provided in Table 7. F statistic. This hypothesis examines Teams 3 and 4 which plan Task 1 synchronously and then change to asynchronous planning for Task 2. for Task 2. and cost which were analyzed as dependent variables. The independent variable in this analysis is the Task. 63 . The mean. There were no significant differences in the teams’ development items when they planned using a synchronous computer-mediated communication method for Task 1 as compared to the team using an asynchronous method for Task 2.measured by the Team Development Survey. height. Teams were assessed in terms of planning time. there will be statistically significant lower performance for Task 2. standard deviation. standard deviation. F statistic. Hypothesis 6 compares performance of Teams 3 and 4 together for Task 1 versus Task 2. these results also support that there is no difference in team development in planning regardless of communication method. execution time. Each item of the Team Development Survey was analyzed as dependent variable. The mean. Therefore. Hypothesis 6 states: For teams that plan Task 1 synchronously and plan Task 2 asynchronously.
25 0.902 12 3. I improved my technical ability through this exercise. I improved my teamwork ability through this exercise.61 0.210 3.991 3. I would rather stay in the same team.537 *Significant at p < .196 0. the quality of my computer-mediated team’s interaction was high.884 0.59 0.936 4.892 2.987 3.874 0. If I had to do the same work again in a computermediated team.48 3.650 0.831 0.91 3.Table 7.013 0.149 6 3.093 0.000 13 3. I would rather join a different computermediated team.776 0.952 2. I was personally satisfied with the computermediated team decisionmaking process.352 0. I improved my decisionmaking ability through this exercise. Team members were committed to the goals and objectives of the team. 4.357 Item Item Descriptor F-value Sig 2 3 3.32 1.910 0.751 0.900 1.73 0.000 1.868 0. Team members were open and frank in expressing their ideas and feelings.68 1.805 8 3.105 0.747 4 3.234 5 3. Overall.952 0.09 SD 0.000 0.25 1.05 64 .857 0. I felt I was really part of our team.57 0.91 3.052 3.787 3.059 9 10 11 2.95 0.385 0.41 3.09 0.125 0.68 3.25 SD 0.000 2.89 0.25 0.858 Task 2 Asynchronous Mean 4.48 1.09 3. Team members recognized and respected individual differences and contributions during the exercise.32 1.23 0.015 1.062 0.02 0.787 0.910 7 4. Overall.095 1.970 3.890 0.949 2.436 0. If I had to do the same work again.002 3.960 0. It is easy for team members to understand the purpose of each meeting.05 0.222 0.006 0. Results in Team Development – Hypothesis 5 Task 1 Synchronous Mean 1 Team members can easily understand the mission of the team.86 1.
593 Task 2 Asynchronous Mean 12.062 0.527 4. As with the results seen with team development.47 2.484 0. the findings do not support the hypothesis as task execution time was lower for asynchronous planning (Task 2).023* 0. Hypothesis 7 focuses entirely on differences in task 65 . Data Analyses . However.00 62.126 6.05 There were significant findings for two variables of task performance. communication method having more or less social presence does not have an impact on performance.049* 0.480 686.88 SD 3. yet the height was higher for asynchronous planning (Task 2) as compared to Task 1. Hypothesis 7 states: Teams that execute Task 1 and Task 2 face-toface have statistically significant higher performance as compared to teams that execute Task 1 and Task 2 synchronously.Synchronous versus Face-to-Face Team Performance: Hypothesis 7 Hypothesis 7. the hypothesis is not supported.Table 8.000 6.88 1. despite the significant differences between Task 1 and Task 2. the findings do not demonstrate lower performance for asynchronous planning.638 0.70 71.104 0.176.994. Therefore. Thus. Results in Task Performance – Hypothesis 6 Task 1 Synchronous Mean Plan Time Execution Time Height Cost 11. The hypothesis was that the teams would see a lower performance for Task 2.92 2.38 SD 3.586 Performance F-value Sig *Significant at p < . there are no differences seen in teams that move from one communication method to another.335 10.728 0. Overall.311 0.50 1. The teams planned Task 1 synchronously and then planned Task 2 asynchronously.539 620.
147 7. The only significant difference found between teams is cost on Task 2.852 290.88 2.409 0.93 63.855 547.170 F-value 0.676 0.execution. Table 9. The mean.00 SD 3. Results Task Performance on Task 1 – Hypothesis 7 Synchronous Performance Plan Time Execution Time Height Cost Mean 13.796 Face-to-Face Mean 11.863 585. Results Task Performance on Task 2 – Hypothesis 7 Synchronous Performance Plan Time Execution Time Height Cost Mean 2.901 0.90 79.561 1. Overall. height.905 Face-to-Face Mean 12.80 2.182 0.67 SD 2.917 Sig 0.31 1.837 Sig 0.85 1.293 14.754 0. and cost which were analyzed as dependent variables.67 77. F statistic.00 64.070 0.102 10.916 0. See Tables 9 and 10 below for the results.004* *Significant at p < .383. however.669 668.749 0.741.05 Table 10.213 0.00 SD 1. The cost is significantly higher for the mast built using the synchronous communication method versus face-to-face. This analysis was performed for Task 1 and then for Task 2 (comparing the performance of face-to-face versus synchronous task execution).72 1. Teams were assessed in terms of planning time.010 16.05 The tasks themselves were performed using either synchronous computer-mediated communication or traditional face-to-face methods.012 2.106 *Significant at p < .975 0.144 F-value 0.50 SD 3. the 66 .68 2.906 0. execution time.428. and significance value are provided.910.97 1.209 12. standard deviation.016 3.15 1.464 0.
There were some differences by team type for both development and performance. while there were significant differences found. For example. The teams planned and executed two tasks using either asynchronous or synchronous methods to communicate for planning and either synchronous or face-toface methods to execute their plans.hypothesis is not supported by these findings since more variables of performance were not shown to be significantly different. Summary As stated previously. Measure of team development and performance were obtained. Performance was measured after each respective task was completed. Team development was assessed after planning was completed for each task. To evaluate differences in team type by development and performance. while there were significant differences on the Team Development Survey in examining the first hypothesis. The findings demonstrate that using a synchronous computer-mediated communication method (video conferencing) as opposed to a traditional face-to-face do not seem to have an impact on the team performing the task at hand. Overall. there are little differences between synchronous and asynchronous 67 . the differences were on the majority. there were not multiple differences found which would support the particular hypothesis. However. showing higher development scores for asynchronous than synchronous teams which was in opposite direction of the hypothesis. the purpose of this study is to examine the differences between types of teams which communicate using forms of asynchronous and synchronous communications. analyses of variance were conducted. There were seven hypotheses examined and findings of the analyses were highlighted.
This chapter discussed the data collection and analysis used in this study of computer-mediated teams. the team development and performance should be similar. 68 .computer-mediated teams in both teams development during the planning as well as team performance of the tasks assigned. The implication for teams using computer-mediated communications is that regardless of communication media used. It will also discuss limitations of this study and the generalizibility of the research results. Chapter 5 will interpret the data further as well as suggest the additional implications these findings on current and future research.
2002). Some types of communication (synchronous) allow social presence to be felt by team members. In addition. team member development and performance). it is not clear whether initial use of more “social present” or video communication with visually-available cues is warranted. Social proximity or feelings of social presence are important for team development and overcoming team conflicts (Maruping & Agarwal. in need of understanding the impact of choices within communication medium for distributed team communication (i. or a combination of technologies. vary by the amount of social presence allowed by virtue of the technologies. There are questions as to whether the type of computer-mediated communication has an impact on the team. while others (asynchronous) do not. 2002). however. asynchronous (electronically via text-based chat). The research problem addressed in this study focuses on the Air Force’s Distributed Mission Operations whereby team members must plan and execute task(s) using various methods for communication.CHAPTER 5. Communications can be conducted through synchronous (face-to-face or electronically via real-time video/audio). Computer-mediated communications. Organizations are. 2006.e. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Introduction Organizations around the world are increasingly using teams whose membership is not necessarily confined by geographic location.. Distributed team members carry many benefits such as providing a broader scope of experienced personnel and lessen the concern about re-locating members if they can communicate using some type of computer-mediated medium (DeLuca & Valacich. Some findings suggest that initial interaction with 69 .. thus. Postmes et al.
the military is not alone in wanting to understand the impact of communication media on team development and performance which will determine future investments into technologies offering the latest capabilities. 70 . Findings and Data Interpretation Findings of Literature Review The literature reviewed for this study focused on the importance found on social interactions and social dynamics for teams to perform and function in an optimal manner. With distributed mission operations for aircrew training providing an opportunity to reduce costs associated with face-to-face training. With so many organizations using distributed teams. An increasingly inherent aspect of forming teams is to involve members from across an organization. Researchers recognize that teams are not merely a gathering of individuals. 2000).social presence is sufficient in establishing the development of teams and impacts their performance (Franz. With one of the traditional constructs for team development being physical proximity (Pinto et al. the findings of a study such as this one will have a positive impact on the decisions made in terms of the communication methods chosen (or mixture of those methods). The significance of this study is that the results will help organizations understand the importance of choosing the most effective and cost-efficient communication technologies when using distributed teams. no matter where they are located. 1993). researchers must now consider the impact of this proximity being distanced (both in distance and time) and understand the impact on team development and performance.. 1999).. but individuals brought together for a purpose and a clearly-defined goal (Winum & Seamons.
Literature on the advantages and disadvantages of computer-mediated teams were reviewed. With studies on computer-mediated teams being mixed, it is important to understand the outcomes of all research conducted on such teams. Teams that are distributed and communicating through use of technology can take advantage of the ability to accomplish tasks without the restraint of time or place. They can bring in varied resources to use appropriate expertise at the needed time. Interaction among members appears uninhibited by the social strains seen with traditional face-to-face teams (McGuire et al., 1987) which has been seen to improve the quality of team decision making (McLeod et al., 1997). Tasks such as brainstorming activities are seen to be better achieved by computer-mediated teams (Dennis & Valacich, 1993; Kerr & Murthy, 2004). The issues surrounding computer-mediated teams, however, revolve around the lack of physical presence. Teams feel low commitment, role confusion, less cohesion, and lack of team identity (Thatcher & DeLaCour, 2003; Maruping & Agarwal, 2004). The literature concerning computer-mediated teams also includes related theories which have provided the basis for studies of such teams in the past. There have been many examinations on the selection of media, more particularly focused on the task types associated with the teams and the selection of media. While theories such as tasktechnology-fit are not very specific beyond emphasizing the importance of examining a team’s task requirements and technology limitations (Colquitt et al., 2002; Kerr & Murthy, 2004; Maruping & Agarwal, 2004), it has proven useful in guiding organizations to consider if certain types of teams would be capable candidates for distributed performance.
Additional theories related to computer-mediated communication examine “richness” or “naturalness” of communication media which is a direct comparison to traditional face-to-face communications. Little mention of the aspect of social presence has been included in such research and discussions. In addition, there are no valid instruments developed to quantify social presence due to its complex nature, although some measures are proving to be “first steps’ in determining members’ perceptions within mediated environments (Manes, 2008). With so much focus on choosing communication media to be as “rich” in terms of visual feedback as traditional face-to-face interactions, the topic of social presence is very relevant to the discussion of computer-mediated teams and the selection of media. Social presence theory, as a reminder, simply advocates that social presence is being aware of communication with others and not just an inanimate object (Short, 1976). Clearly, richness of media, such as that which is provided in more synchronous media, is a factor in providing social presence. However, when organizations employ a mixture of technologies ranging by the amount of richness and social presence is still important, there remains a question as to how much social presence and at what time social presence is introduced impacts the actual development and performance of a team. Findings of this Research This study compared computer-mediated teams using different methods of communication in terms of both team development and member performance. The focus of this research centered upon the examination of the influence of social presence by comparing teams that first used synchronous computer-mediated communication to plan a task and then used asynchronous communication to plan a second task to teams who did 72
the opposite (asynchronous communication for initial interaction and synchronous communication for second planning exercise). Participants were randomly assigned to different types of teams. They were all asked to plan and execute two separate tasks. After planning the tasks using the assigned communication method, team members were given the Team Development Survey (a version used by Xue et al., 2005). After executing the task, teams were measure for their performance by the plan time, height, execution time, and cost of the Tall Ships™ material. Overall, there were seven hypotheses in this study that were examined. The hypotheses focused on both team development as well as performance of the teams. Generally, it was hypothesized that synchronous communication teams would show significantly higher team development and performance because of the “richness” of the communication and social presence offered by the visual nature of the synchronous communication media. In addition, because teams changed communication media from one task to the next, teams were also compared across Task 1 and Task 2 in terms of their development and performance. It was hypothesized that those teams planning asynchronously for their first task and planning synchronously for their second task would see significant difference between them. A similar set of hypotheses were developed for teams planning and performing in an opposite manner (planning synchronously for their first task and planning asynchronously for their second task). The same hypotheses were established which would state that there would be difference between tasks seen in both development and performance. The findings of this research will be discussed in terms of sets of hypotheses and the issues upon which they focused. The findings center upon these areas: (a) synchronous 73
It does lend support that depending on the type of task.versus asynchronous teams (Hypotheses 1 and 2). changing from synchronous to asynchronous teams (Hypotheses 5 and 6). There was no significant difference in performance between asynchronous or synchronous teams performing Task 1. an asynchronous team can be as productive as a face-to-face or socially-present synchronous team. idea-generation (Dennis and Valacich. 1994) or planning as demonstrated in this study. and synchronous versus face-to-face team performance (Hypothesis 7). team members planning asynchronously rated higher agreement on a number of items. The findings here are similar to those found by researchers such as Dennis and Valacich (1993) which dispelled the belief that asynchronous electronic media is not an effective communication vehicle for teams. for example. Conversely. synchronous teams rated higher agreement on the item that they would join a different computer-mediated team. (b) changing from asynchronous to synchronous teams (Hypotheses 3 and 4). there were five items which showed significant differences between asynchronous and synchronous teams. Asynchronous teams thought that their team members were open and frank. Synchronous versus Asynchronous Teams Hypotheses 1 and 2 examined teams on both development and performance for Task 1 and compared those teams assigned an asynchronous communication method for planning versus synchronous communication method for planning. 1993. were satisfied with the decision process. In examining the results for the Test Development Survey. With asynchronous 74 . and agreed that their team’s interaction was high. Straus and McGrath. While the hypothesis stated that synchronous teams were expected to have higher development than asynchronous members.
When relating Task Technology Fit or Media Richness theories on the surface..team members believing the communication was open and interaction high.. According to Task-Technology Fit theory. It has been found that more complex tasks. The type of task is an important element to consider for computer-mediated communication. was to develop a good base out of the material so that the structure would not fall. Stone & Posey. 1994). require a broad range of communication 75 . there is more support that an asynchronous environment lends itself for more equal participation among its members.. 1997. 2005). certain computer-mediated communications are viewed as a less-than-suitable (Straus and McGrath. as tasks require more and more coordination and consensus. on the majority. McLeod et al. As seen by others (McGuire et al. choice of communication media impacts performance of that team. Postmes et al. The challenge for these teams. the asynchronous team demonstrated a tendency to be satisfied with the planning process in terms of decisions and communication freedom. 1987. Members had a finite number of each type of piece that could be used. Depending upon the task requirements of the team. the results of this research would be supported as tasks such as brainstorming are considered to be suitable for asynchronous communications (Kerr & Murthy. In this study. communication with less social presence actually leads to more open and free-flowing communication including the assumptions that social inhibitions are released. Despite the other team having the element of social presence. 2004). And. team members had to come up with a plan to build the highest “mast” using the Tall Ships™ material. a team must not only generate ideas but should also distinguish from relevant and irrelevant ideas (Kerr & Murthy. 2004). such as negotiation. 2002.
scarcity of resources. available expertise. The planning for these tasks were focused and were less subject to having communications intermixed that was off topic. & Salas. it is difficult to see the impact of asynchronous communication. such as problem solving. the teams used the text-based medium to evaluate the alternatives. In planning the task for this study. 76 . Thompson & Coovert. it has also been found that computer-mediated communications support tasks beyond brainstorming. Allmendinger. 2001). Klien and Miller (1999) believe planning’s important function is to solve a problem and are influenced by many factors including time pressure. planning can become a more arduous task confounded by many factors. Radtke. However. which is relevant for all types of teams regardless of communication method. However. so there were some decisions to make beyond brainstorming and having ideas thrown arbitrarily in the discussions. when researchers assess differences in computer-mediated teams using asynchronous communications versus traditional face-to-face interactions. with no differences seen in performance both in planning time and height of the structure created. Although. & Hammann. they find that computermediated teams have issues in establishing mutual knowledge or generating satisfaction with decisions (Driskell. 2003. While the task in this research may have been very focused and defined for the team members. task structure.media (Scheck. 2008) including a mix of socially present technologies versus non-socially present. Some issues around computer-mediated teamwork and the planning process are impacted by similar factors such as time. and uncertainty. on-task “conversation” (Jonassen. to elicit more focused. 2003).
The planning activity in this study required that team members process information given in terms of the materials and the objective of the task and come to agreement as to how to accomplish the task. some have argued that there is an alternate discussion of Media Synchronicity which demonstrates that virtual teams adapt to less socially present media and ultimately produce more focused. it is not apparent if the issues found with distributed communication are minimized in a short duration interaction. availability of resources) are well supported. Media Synchronicity Theory suggests that to successfully use media to complete a task. issues can fade over time as a team works together (Berry. If all other factors affecting planning (structure of task. If computer-mediated teams need more time to work together. The planning activity in this study is an important subtask for the teams working together to complete the Tall Ships™ exercise. Media Synchronicity Theory would not support these findings as they relate to task complexity.While it has been noted that computer-mediated teams have been seen to be hindered in their performance. there are typically time constraints. In this study. the teams did not plan for more than fifteen minutes. Communications can be viewed from the perspective of needing to simply relay information or actually process information. Seen as a “convergent” process. 2006). as used in this study. However. and there were no significant differences found between asynchronous and synchronous teams in terms of time to plan. expertise. persuasive communications 77 . it is unclear if planning for a defined task. there must be an assessment of the communication needed (DeLuca & Valacich. media of higher synchronicity would be expected to provide the team better communication and more satisfaction. for requirements such as planning. 2006). However. is not affected by time regardless of communication method. precise.
the findings are supported by researchers in the field of computer-mediated communication with “sense of understanding” noted as the extent the communication medium is 78 . Researchers put forth that synchronous (or those communications accomplished through video-teleconferencing) may not be as “natural” as face-to-face interactions. For the Team Development Survey. So. as compared to Task 1. therefore already knowing the purpose of the team meeting for planning. Team members reported higher agreement in understanding their purpose in planning Task 2 than Task 1. because of the benefits of the richness of synchronous communication. As such.(DeLuca & Valacich. however. This item referred to team members agreeing that it was easier for them to understand the purpose of the meeting. 2006). 2003). Thus. Changing from Asynchronous to Synchronous Teams In examining the same team moving from Task 1 to Task 2 but changing their method of communication from asynchronous to synchronous. one item saw significant differences between the team’s responses from Task 1 as compared to Task 2. this could be a function of having participated in Task 1 and moving onto Task 2. moving to synchronous communication was expected to show such benefits. Despite the significance found in team member ratings. while media differences are a consideration. there must not be a dismissal of team member behavior and adaptation within the media environment. Hypotheses 3 and 4 suggested that Teams 1 and 2 would have higher team development and performance for Task 2. but synchronous media does allow for cues (verbal or non-verbal) to be shared (Chapman. Yet. Uggerslev. & Webster. agreement of understanding was higher when the team moved to a synchronous environment.
Secondly. 2003). The discussions during planning and performance of 79 . The first difference was in plan time which showed that the teams took a significantly longer time planning for Task 1 (asynchronous) versus Task 2 (synchronous). the characteristics of the task itself provided an opportunity for the team to perform well using either asynchronous or synchronous methods for planning. Because of its visual component. Thus.conveying accurately the members’ thoughts and facilitating mutual understanding among team members (Lim & Hung. There were two areas where significant differences were found in examining performance. & Ahmad. Distributed teams have been known to have difficulty developing a shared context and understanding of the task issues. However. 2008). the height of the structure created for Task 2 (planning synchronous) was significantly higher than the one created for Task 1 (planning asynchronous). Teams that would normally be distributed conduct traditional face-to-face meetings to establish shared context and improve coordination (Hinds & Bailey. the overall lack of significant findings in adding a video component to the team planning in the second task may indicate issues in team use of the technology or lessen the importance of visual presence. 2008). 2008). Mirza. It has been advocated that the introduction of social presence plays an important role in influencing task-oriented discussions and social communications in virtual project teams (Lim & Hung. using synchronous communication methods may instill a sense of “being on the same page” or “agreement” among team members when planning for a task. some report that adding video to an audio-only computer-mediated communication does little to improve communication and may be due to poor use of video-based technology (Ehsan. In addition.
2004).the Tall Ships™ task were not complex in nature. when faced with an asynchronous communication medium. Changing from Synchronous to Asynchronous Teams Hypotheses 5 and 6 examined the differences of development and performance between Task 1 and Task 2 for teams which first used synchronous communication and then switched to asynchronous communication. it has been noted that computer-mediated teams’ use of audio versus video do not impact communication because it is believed that transmission of social cues may hold less meaning in a newly formed team. It fact. Therefore. It is unclear if this connectivity is carried over from one task to another despite the communication medium of the second task. Team members have experienced visual contact with other team members from the first task. Therefore. with the planning and tasks in this exercise being low in complexity. it has been found that media in low richness is suitable for facilitating simple discussions (Irem & Dambra. 2008). is developed with the presence component of the technology (Lim & Hung. or sense of connection.. it was put forth by this set of hypotheses that the teams would have significantly lower team development and performance for Task 2 as compared to Task 1. There were no differences from the Team Development Survey for the teams as they planned for Task 1 and Task 2. 2008). Because of the introduction of more rich communication media in the first task. it is advocated that members’ connectivity. such as the ones used in this research (Ehsan et al. Media Richness Theory puts forth that the ability for information to be carried is dependent upon the richness of media used to carry it. With synchronous communication. the choice of asynchronous or synchronous media may be an arbitrary one. the lack of presence may not be necessary to 80 . In addition.
it is recommended that when forming a distributed team. Teams do need to time to develop. members are believed to be modifying their behaviors and expectations to work with each other regardless of the degree of social presence (DeLuca & Valacich. with no differences in team development between tasks. experience in working within a team environment is also a consideration. there are two separate conclusions. Frequency and length of synchronous interaction promotes more familiarity and cooperation (Hinds & Bailey. & Olson (2001) saw that computermediated teams take longer to develop interpersonal relationships. 2000). Gergle. Olson. 2006). Chang & Bordia. Media Richness Theory. However. it is advantageous to make their initial meeting face-to-face to facilitate team development (Irmer. 2003). There have been some weaknesses noted in Media Richness Theory. In addition. therefore. Either teams do not need “rich” or synchronous meeting to show satisfaction with their development or there was not sufficient time to see an impact of the synchronous interactions. Media Richness Theory does not consider the communication processes within tasks themselves. With results of team success using asynchronous communications. According to DeLuca and Valacich (2006).accomplish additional tasks. People experienced with working in teams may be satisfied with team development issues 81 . points to the information needs of the task to be performed to be in line with the media chosen. Bos. as described in the literature. The hypothesis advocated in this study used synchronous communication media instead of face-to-face interaction but still looked to synchronous communication to show some advantages to the team once they changed to asynchronous communication methods.
In applying Media Naturalness Theory. & Vician. Using Newberry’s (2001) matrix. one would expect that there be a significant difference for members in such a situation. the competence and efficacy of team members is increased. as generations become more exposed to communication technologies and use various technologies on a more frequent basis. von Baggo. 2006). With asynchronous communication involving more personalized and 82 . Researchers must consider a person’s “media competence” when studying computermediated groups. However. but from a user perspective in terms of exposure and training (Jonas et al. to allow messages to be created or changed specifically for a recipient. However. 2004). Hurst. Technology self-efficacy is also viewed as inhibiting an individual’s use and performance in a computer-mediated environment (Brown. perhaps there is less impact than originally believed. Media competence is considered not only from the perspective of the technology having flaws or limitations. and to transmit feelings or emotions. 2002).regardless of communication method (Hamilyn-Harris. Fuller. text-based chat alone has become a more “fluid” communication tool with the increased number of individuals “texting” frequently as a preferred mode of communication.. There other considerations when examining such results of team members moving from a synchronous to asynchronous environment. In addition. Moving from a visual media to text-based chat in planning. the team members are later exposed to a medium which has a lower-rated ability in terms of carrying information. text-based chat scores on the low side of the matrix in terms of its ability to provide feedback cues. & Bayley. as generations of workers become more exposed to technologies incorporating text-based chat.
83 . In addition. These sensitivities seem to declining as more generations are exposed to technologies at a young age. Hinds and Bailey (2003) describe “preventative measures” to help diminish the possible negative effects of distributed communication which include purposeful conveyance of contextual information and learning about the technology. When team members were brought together to plan the assembly of the Tall Ships™. The results for these hypotheses are generally similar to the previous set of hypotheses which examined the opposite situation (teams moving from asynchronous to synchronous). 2006).emotional characteristics. There were significant differences in performance for the teams between Task 1 and Task 2. As exposure to different types of communication media are increased. the height of the structure developed for Task 2 (planning asynchronous) was taller than for Task 1 (planning synchronous). Due to the amount of direction and clarity given to the teams for planning the tasks. Team members must be comfortable moving from media to media. The teams took longer to plan for Task 1 (planning synchronous) as compared for Task 2 (planning asynchronous). Significant difference in both execution time and height were found. perhaps moving from a synchronous to asynchronous communication method in a team environment is not as detrimental to team development and performance as such theories would propose. it is understandable that there were no large differences found between teams regardless of distributed communications that were used. they were given specific instructions for the task and provided a detailed list of parts along with example pieces. individual team members must become less sensitive to changing situations in order to have positive effects on performance (Belanger & Watson-Manheim.
regardless of communication method to plan. With experience in using such technologies such as chat rooms and videoconferencing. It was hypothesized that there would be difference in performance.The teams in this study were provided a good framework to help them in the planning process. 2003). synchronous communication is still computer-mediated and should carry with it the same limitations as other computermediated communication. it is recommended that organizations provide ample training in using any communication technologies. motion awareness through peripheral vision. awareness of side conversations. In fact. in terms of their performance in executing Task 1 and Task 2 either using synchronous communications as opposed to traditional face-to-face methods. Synchronous versus Face-to-Face Teams in Performance The final hypothesis for this study examined differences between all teams. Some researchers indicate that computer-mediated technologies (either asynchronous or synchronous) are “genres” which evolve over time and allow members to adapt their behavior to fit the media (Berry. For teams in general. as well as manipulation of objects (Isaacs & 84 . team members more than likely had confidence in using the communication media presented to them. task performance through video synchronous communication has shown to include difficulties such as managing turn-taking. Teams with higher levels of knowledge on the properties and functionalities of communication technologies are more effective in using it and creating an environment for adequate information transfer as well as coordination (Hinds & Bailey. While both communication methods (synchronous and face-to-face) involve social presence of its members (in a visual capacity). 2006). control of the team through body position and eye gaze.
In this study. Media Richness Theory would also support such results in a similar manner. team performance with the use of synchronous communication media appears just as effective as face-to-face. and this was seen in the cost calculation for Task 2. 85 . these results do not always automatically apply to synchronous communications. with technologies improving almost daily. Cost. There was only one significant difference found between synchronous and faceto-face team performance. Teams that have video and audio added to their communication methods show improved decision making when comparing other computer-mediated technologies (Baker. it is worthy of continual research and comparison to traditional communication methods. The cost of the structure developed for Task 2 was significantly more for synchronous execution teams as opposed to face-to-face teams. is a product of planning in terms of the team deciding what to use in building the mast. Videoconferencing has been criticized because of its limitations in video and audio images with poor quality and delay in conveying communications (Simon. direct comparison of synchronous (video) computer-mediated team performance to face-to-face team performance is rare. 1993). however. While past research has demonstrated significant difference between asynchronous computer-mediated communications and face-to-face. the majority of performance variables showed no difference between teams. However. Yet. With no major differences found between the teams using either method. low parallelism) would yield greater satisfaction and performance.Tang. The performance of the task is the implementation of the plan. Media Synchronicity Theory would support these findings as it is proposed that communication media with higher levels of synchronicity or interaction (high feedback. 2006). 2002).
2003). Chang. While some results. The results of Chang’s (2005) analysis demonstrated that at least three times the amount of time was needed to develop the same level of task and social cohesion as face-to-face teams. 1999). 2001. Video conferencing is becoming more prevalent in team performance. More synchronous communication may prove to have less impact of low commitment and identity because of its visual nature. 2005. However... there were no difference found in terms of commitment to the group decision. particularly if one method were to replace the other in terms of performing a task. and number of beliefs discussed or learned (Crede & Sniezek. and the viewpoint that this type of communication method is less effective is becoming more challenged (Liu et al. Jarvenpaa & Leidner. 2004. there are many issues to explore prior to equating the two communication methods. it has been found that video conferencing (synchronous) communications to be as effective as traditional face-to-face in building trust and cohesion within a team (Bos et al. the results of past studies found that it takes time to reach the level of faceto-face teams in terms of team development.Of the very limited research. 2007). Isaacs and Tang (1993) would support that the real differences between synchronous (video) and face-to-face 86 . 2008). Biergiel et al. including the findings of this research study. Other research has demonstrated that video conferencing teams have lower levels of confidence in their decisions as compared to face-to-face teams. Maruping & Agarwal.. may demonstrate little differences between synchronous and face-to-face task performance. 2003. however. Studies examining other types of computer-mediated communications versus face-to-face teams have typically found less cohesion or team commitment (Thatcher & DeLaCour. accuracy.
This study involved a simple. The Task-Technology Fit theory is also applicable in this discussion as the theory suggests that computer-mediated communication is optimized when the capabilities of the media match the requirement of the task(s) (Kerr & Murthy. The goal of the performance was to execute the plan developed. there are many considerations to take into account with the synchronous (video) communication.e. which are present in real world applications. 87 . straightforward task involving simple requirements for the team to plan a strategy. and gaze (position of looking within others’ facial region) be evaluated prior to comparing this method of communication to face-to-face interactions (Vertegaal. For example. In this research. task complexity and level of support related to the technology is an important consideration. head orientation. teams typically had one member building the mast according to plan while the others guided the activity. 1999). If the task had required more communication in terms of dialogue between team members.team performance would be better visible when studying the processes of team member interactions – i. should not be assumed without deeper examination. teams may using synchronous computer-mediated communication may have adapted to the limitations of the technology by having one member control the building of the mast versus it being more of a collaborative effort with team members being co-located (face-to-face). Therefore. it is recommended that aspects of relative position (actual viewpoints of each participant within the video conferencing). With more complex and involved task requirements. 2004). the conclusions that the two methods (synchronous and face-to-face) are equivalent. in real work environments. In this study..
the results of this study may not be applicable to all types of tasks teams perform (Thompson & Coovert. audio to visual media as well as considering the various combinations amongst all three. It is well understood and supported that different types of tasks require different types of communication media. The task for this study included both planning and executing upon that plan to build the tallest mast with the materials given. and thus. The technologies used in this study. Teams can consist of members who are from similar or dissimilar backgrounds. with varying amounts of experience both in a team environment as well as with each other. there are many options for teams to employ to facilitate computer-mediated communications.Limitations There are a number of limitations and considerations for this study. students were employed who had little or no prior 88 . 2003). The first aspect of the analysis which relates to generalizability of the results involves the actual technology used in examining synchronous and asynchronous teams. The results of this study may or may not be generalizable to other computer-mediated communication team situations. video capabilities in quality and resolution/responsiveness in a video feed. The same is true for the type of team assembled. there are variations within them in terms of real-time text (messaging) versus delayed email correspondence. For this study. In addition to the type of media. are just two variations. These range from text. including text (whiteboard) and video conferencing. the type of task and team are other important limitations in terms of generalizing the results. In addition to the media. and others to complicate the evaluation of teams and impacts upon their development and performance. and have different goals in terms of the success of the team. Today.
The distribution of the sample used in this study consisted primarily of male students. As true for many studies that use a student population to derive subjects. 2002). the average age of the sample population is between the ages of 18 to 19 years of age. With students beings used. The results of this study and their ability to be generalized to other populations are impacted by the types of subjects used. it seemed ideal as military distributed mission personnel operate in a less traditional organizational environment and often do not have long relationships with others involved in a training exercise. 89 .. However. Some feel there is a lack of “ecological validity” with laboratory settings not truly capturing the longer relationships and entrenchment team members have within an organization (Jonas et al. however. the limitations of prior interaction among team members is always a consideration. Laboratory settings could be considered less ideal for examining the issue of synchronous versus asynchronous communication for teams. The study design for this project. sought to minimize the effect of prior experience by recruiting freshman students to participate in the research.experience in working with each other. however. there is the possibility that the results of this study would have been different (Thompson & Coovert. it must be understood that students have less experience in a team environment as a whole (as compared to a team member within a large organization with years of experience). With new teams shown to require a different level of communication. Results may not be generalizable to a larger population which would include older and a wider age distribution of team members. This is also true regarding gender. For the target population for this research. 2003). Another limitation in this study includes the demographics of the sample studied. The general population is more evenly distributed between genders.
and then changing the computer-mediated communication method was an important aspect of making the study successful. Examining differences between computer-mediated teams whose interaction 90 .Finally.. another limitation of this study is the actual duration of the task included in the study design. moving to the task performance. overall. 2003). however. unforeseen difficulties sometimes occurred. there were very few problems in conduct of this study which would have influenced the results. The timing of setting up the initial computer-mediated communication. Teams that spend larger amount of time with each other (regardless of physical location) would be assumed to have different results in terms of the use of various computer-mediated communication methods and their development and performance. It is known that teams that perform over time experience the impact of task and technology at different levels (Driskell et al. Suggestions for Future Studies The findings of this research study suggest a number of areas for future researchers to pursue. The video conferencing equipment was. generalizing the results of this research to teams that interact on a longer basis or over time would be a limitation. the process of moving the team members from planning to task performance was overall uneventful and should have little to no impact on the results shown. Overall. 2006). While there were some lags in setting up the computer. Some adjustments were made prior to the team beginning the work. Tasks of “short duration” are considered lasting 50-120 minutes. and it is believed that team members are really too task-focused to promote any interpersonal relationships (Hamlynn-Harris et al. Therefore. at times.. difficult to set up and work optimally when the teams were in place.
Effective communication is essential. Distributed team environments are becoming more of an integral part of organizations’ normal operations. With technologies changing constantly. In addition. this does not mean that differences in communication method are not important to be studied by future research. little difference was found within teams using one method of communication for the first task and another method of communication for the second task. the connected variables of team performance and interpersonal processes are important for the assessment of team effectiveness. Team performance is an essential element of team effectiveness. All too often.involved either asynchronous or synchronous media. However. In depth examination of team performance should be included in future research. this study found little difference between teams that had some level of social presence (synchronous or visual communication) versus those that had no social presence (asynchronous communication). Organizations must be able to fully understand the implications of choosing one technology over another as well as the impact of mixing technologies and the timing of their use. organizations may choose media for the sake of cutting travel costs of members trying to meet geographically without full knowledge of the implication in terms of team performance in using such technologies. etc. Referring back to the RHR Team Effective Model presented by Winum & Seamons (2000). These findings hold true for both team development and performance. Communication media may also be considered equal on the surface by virtue of real-time versus delayed communications. there must always be research on the forefront to examine their impact as well as ways to more optimally use them for team development and performance. 91 .
too. such research could provide more evidence of the impact of social presence. This does not mean that their relationship is clearly causally related. Additional research in computer-mediated team performance should also consider cohesion. Performance has also shown to be related to certain types of teams. overall. A positive relationship between cohesiveness and team performance has been dependent upon such factors as size and dependence level among group members (Brehm et al. social presence may not have been established. Research shows that cohesion is the most studied predictor of team performance (Sundstrom et al.In this research. cohesion has been shown to be a predictor in project teams. 1999). It has been supported that when cohesion is strong. Some believe social presence should be considered on a multi-dimensional level which includes many layers of perception beyond visual existence of another team member (Biocca & Harms... not more than two minutes. such as media richness or social presence theories are seen to question the ability for relationships to develop among team members (Jarvenpaa & Leidner. There should be additional research on the team performance... teams worked together to plan and execute a simple task. Some theories. 2003). 2005). With shorter duration team interactions. a team is motivated to perform well and is better able to coordinate activities towards successful performance (Beal et al. application of some theories associated with computer-mediated teams would question the importance or relevance of cohesion. However. 2002). In addition. of teams using different computermediated technologies for teams interacting for a longer periods of time. 2000). and development. but not service teams (Sundstrom et al. 2000). The time spent planning was. 92 . For example.
organizations are increasingly using a different mix of technologies within teams as they work together to complete tasks. While this research did not support the advocacy of providing more socially present technology prior to using less present technology. cohesiveness can be disadvantageous for groups needing creative. 2000). Research should examine distributed. There should be more examination of teams by different communication media.. innovative ideas (Brehm et al. there should be more examination of different mixes of technology in support of technology development as well as the issue of timing the use of different technologies (either early or late in a team’s interaction). This includes use of different forms of both asynchronous and synchronous communications.. There has been little research between teams using various forms of computer-mediated technologies. which this study was focused. 2005). satisfaction with goals. In terms of types of tasks to be performed. while they take longer. computermediated teams develop interpersonal relationships and factors associated with cohesion (organizational commitment. This examination should also include a control of a purely face-to-face team across tasks as compared to teams who change communication media between tasks. and group effectiveness (Irmer et al. In addition. Technologies are continually being developed and more rapidly than the research on teams using them. This would allow 93 .Despite such theories. Most research in the area of computer-mediated communications has between traditional face-to-face and computer-mediated teams. research has shown that. computer-mediated further in order to more fully develop an understanding of cohesiveness and its positive and negative effects in order to help organizations make decisions to optimize team performance and select appropriate use or method(s) of communication media.
this research did not consider aspects of cognitive load. Examining the type of team using computer-mediated communication would be another area of future research. Heiser. Looking at this from a cognitive processing standpoint. then the application of technology mix should further research the impact of multiple media including cognitive load. introducing different communication media to teams who are more experienced as a team may prove different results.a more direct comparison of traditional team processes along with emerging mixes of technologies and their use over time. In addition. & Lonn. These should be examined more deeply to see which technologies help or hinder team development and performance. Members who are more experienced may be able to adapt from one technology to another. experience level with computer-mediated technologies is another factor to consider for future research. it is imperative that extraneous material does not compete with other resources. If the results of this research had demonstrated higher team development and better performance using a mix of technologies (in whatever order). Organizations face the challenge of having team members with various levels of experience in using computer-mediated technologies. Technologies could provide a mix of audio. 2001). In research. it has been found that adding interesting but irrelevant material to text passages actually reduces the amount of relevant material that users remember (Mayer. and text. This may not hold true for everyone as less experienced members may be less effective members of the 94 . While this study focused on new team members working together for the first time. Beyond the existence of social presence in communication media. visual.
Each member has their own organizational bias and goals/objectives for the team. Team performance and development are influenced by having adequate leadership in guiding the team through its tasks. A team using one or more different communication technology. Leadership can provide the feedback and common goals which are important for computer-mediated teams to have in 95 .e. The area of leadership should be studied in terms of its impact on computer-mediated teams. With conflicting interests. 2006). for example in the area of personal interest. leadership is considered to be the central component to channel and champion effective use of technology (Berry. These issues become prevalent as technologies quickly develop and potentially become more complex or multi-faceted. written text correspondence)? With new technologies being introduced on a continual basis to teams.. regardless of social presence or not. The question is whether leadership must adapt for different technologies. cross-functional teams are increasingly being used by organizations. similar research such as conducted by this study should be conducted to examine the impact of the team using different communication media as well as the timing of more socially present media. may benefit from the type of leadership it receives. In terms of types of teams. Each member will have varying levels of interest in the team’s success.team if use of the technology is challenging. Does socially present technology dictate a different leadership approach than a less “present” technology (i. There are many areas where leadership can have an impact on computer-mediated team development and performance. A cross functional team is one whereby members come from different organizational areas. There are a number of additional considerations when examining these types of teams.
Future studies of computer mediated teams should examine not only the variances in technology and its influence on team development and performance. Conclusions The research questions for this study were focused on the use of different computermediated technologies and its impact on team development and performance. do they differ in performance if they plan for a task using different technologies? Do teams that use technologies with less social presence in planning have as much team development as those who plan with technologies having more social presence? Is there any difference in team performance 96 . This is also true for distributed teams. 2003). socially present media provide greater conformity as well as feelings of shared identity.. Research should assess whether leadership within a distributed team can focus a team’s efforts and mediate consensus. but also leadership approaches. If teams execute tasks using the same communication method. 2002). It has been found that the more a team relies on computer-mediated communications and less on face-to-face meetings. & Gibson. One area of additional study should be whether more synchronous. Virtual teams that develop a sense of shared identity demonstrate lower levels of task conflict (Maruping & Agarwal. 2004). the teams experience less empowerment which impacts team performance (Kirkman.order to reduce task conflict. Rosen. Leaders play a major role in establishing the team performance goals as well as ensuring tasks are completed in a timely and effective manner. Leadership style has a direct impact on these as well. Researchers also believe that greater conformity can be achieved in computer-mediated environments when group standards are prominent and there is support for uninhibited expression (Driskell et al. Tesluk.
Additional research is also warranted for such computer97 . The overall implication of such results may prove that the introduction of social presence in computer-mediated communication is not necessary for team development or performance. Typical beliefs of researchers. With the use of various forms of computer-mediated communication available today. regardless if different teams were compared or the same team was compared between tasks. In addition. the research questions for this study revolved around whether synchronous or asynchronous technologies led to higher team development or performance. such as Hinds and Bailey (2003) suggest that more face-to-face meetings help to promote interpersonal relationships. However. the findings of this study did not support whether the introduction of socially present (synchronous) communication led to higher team development or performance. The results of this research showed no significant differences between different teams using either synchronous or asynchronous communications. Overall. perhaps face-toface interactions (periodic or initial) may not be as influential as originally believed. with synchronous technologies bringing in a dimension of social presence. these findings should lead to additional research associated with these research questions in order to shed additional light into the findings as well as provide deeper understanding of the implications of the absence or lack of absence of more “socially present” media. it was hypothesized that teams using more “socially present” video conferencing would have higher team development and performance than teams that planned using asynchronous communications.between tasks for teams who have social presence in planning for one task but do not have as much social presence in planning an additional task? With various communication media available to use for planning.
video as well as external technologies as shared software or multi-dimensional datasets (Scheck. These environments are created using multiple communication channels such as text. The results of such analyses will help organizations in choosing the appropriate technology or mix of technologies. This study tried to understand if teams interacting using one technology versus another for each task differed in their development and performance. This study differed from previous research involving computer-mediated teams in that it examined the differences of teams using different types of computer-mediated communication media as opposed to comparing a computer-meditated team to a traditional face-to-face team. et al. 2008). Studies comparing different types of computer mediated teams are important as organizations often do not have a choice of whether or not to use computer-mediated communication for task planning and performance. as well as infusion of leadership techniques within different computer-mediated environments. audio. These include different measures of team development. While there were no significant differences 98 . This study sought to compare different computer-mediated teams which varied by the level of social presence in terms of planning and performing a task as well as comparing the same team in changing their computer-mediated communication method for different tasks.mediated teams as technologies are always changing and there are other variables to consider when infusing new capabilities into the team environment. varying the type of tasks teams perform. Most research has only investigated a single type of communication media relative to face-to-face interactions. A term being used in the world of computer-mediated communication is called collaborative virtual environments. increasing the time teams interact.
when applied to computer-mediated teams. Social presence theory. technologies such as group decision support systems can be incorporated to further to assist computer-mediated teams in task performance. 2002). & Wang. there should be additional research into the impact of combining technologies and the timing of their use. Hiltz. is important to consider because it 99 . As indicated by the literature review. computer-mediated teams are influenced by a variety of factors. 2002). Decision support systems have been developed to be extremely dynamic allowing both text contributions as well as voting to occur by members on a continuous basis (Turoff. With such research. With the combinations of different media ever changing. Such systems are looked to as a very suitable technology option for managing task conflict among computer-mediated teams (Maruping & Agarwal. These systems not only provide a structure for communication by issues but allow members to become involved in the team process via multiple means. Li. Thresholds can be set in discussions to where consensus can be determined if no new ideas of information are presented. Theories developed around computer-mediated teams. in general. there is still limited knowledge as to how to combine media for improved team development and task performance. The future of computer-mediated communications will involve use of more collaborative systems taking advantage of multi-media capabilities. if warranted.found. Introducing more visual communication media in the beginning or sporadically throughout a team’s interaction is worthy of additional research. Cho. focus on the choice of technology in terms of tasks and naturalness and do not fully address the social dynamics of team development and performance. Members can then also accept or reject decisions and can decide to continue discussions.
1999). according to the social identity model of de-individuation. Having clear and organized communication plans and work expectation systems are seen as essential requirements for effective computer-mediated teams (Berry.addresses more of the internal process aspects of a team rather than focus on the technology alone. Plans can be instituted requiring some level of review and clarification of major discussion points. Training can be provided to demonstrate how to create messages in a manner that minimizes misinterpretations or misunderstandings (Franz. can be focused on training members to better communicate. 2002). Virtual teams that developed a sense of shared identity demonstrate lower levels of task conflict (Maruping & Agarwal. Efforts to improve the performance of computer-mediated teams. then. Bringing in the dynamics of social psychology into the area of computer-mediated teams is an important step to examining such teams more holistically. Computer-mediated teams have the ability through asynchronous media to carefully review and reread information provided by other team members. 2002). 2002). There must be some process interventions in place to retrieve formerly overlooked information and remind team members to consider otherwise ignored contributions (Thompson & Coovert.. With computer-mediated technologies often lacking social cues and also include a lag or redundancy in responses. greater 100 . effective communication is important. 2006). Feedback and common goals are also important for computer-mediated teams in order to reduce task conflict. Effective communication is defined as reducing misunderstandings and is considered successful if communication is coherent (Jonas et al. Researchers also believe that.
to the development of tools for determining if this method is appropriate for a group to use. 2006). Organizations should also consider individual’s differences in experience with computer-mediated technologies and their expected anxieties in using new media. Organizations more than likely understand the technological aspects better than the social ones relevant to the team.conformity will be achieved in computer-mediated environments when group standards are prominent and there is support for uninhibited expression (Driskell et al. have 101 . through team communications. as well as maintaining a team member’s sense of belonging in the process are important ways to build motivation and confidence within the team environment (Maruping & Agarwal. technological aspects of the chosen media. 2002). in the long run. 2003). Organizations should not withhold consideration for these factors just because members are distributed. Incorporating a support structure for team members as they move to computer-mediated environments is essential for the entire team’s performance. Organizations. and institutional support which includes social structures within the organization (Berry. such as the military. Continuous member support. Summary Organizations are continuing to learn the advantages of using geographicallydistributed teams in performing essential tasks. Building confidence and motivation are important for computer-mediated team performance. The study of computer-mediated communication will lead.. It is advocated that three conditions are combined to influence the use of media in computer-mediated teams: conventional understandings constructed by team members of their workplace.
organizations must understand what. there are alternatives to be explored to develop social cohesion and collaboration among distributed members. 102 . It is obvious that organizations should not ignore social and psychological issues and should focus on ways to improve team processes as they relate to their specific performance needs. impact these variances have on team development and performance. However.. A common dilemma facing any organization is the choice and sequence of such media as the number of technologies available increasingly grows and changes as possible methods of communication for distributed teams. This study examined teams using different methods of communication and whether more socially present technologies resulted in higher team development or better performance.realized the benefits of such teams over the years and continue to use them in a wider range of areas such as with aircrew distributed planning teams. The results of this study found no significant differences for teams who planned a task using synchronous versus asynchronous communication. with communication technologies varying in their amount of information richness. changed from synchronous to asynchronous communication in planning. changed from asynchronous to synchronous communication in planning. While the preference is to have some level of social presence or face-to-face interaction. or performing a task using synchronous communication versus traditional face-to-face interaction. Knowledge of the group dynamics and social variables involved with computermediated teams is considered central to understanding their performance (Driskell et al. if any. 2003). synchronicity. and social presence.
However. the core theories which infuse aspects of social psychology remain relevant to the development and performance of teams. Additional research into the issues associated with computer-mediated team performance should be conducted in order to gain optimal performance and development from distributed teams and develop appropriate interventions designed to address computer-mediated team deficiencies as well as provide a means to capitalize on their inherent benefits (Thompson & Coovert. 2002). regardless of the geographic location of its members as well as the choices in communication media. this must be understood within the context of the type of task assigned and the amount of time a team is allowed to interact. Regardless of the types of technologies used. Technologies should not be incorporated into a team environment for the sake of using the latest and greatest technologies available. 103 . interpersonal processes are important contributors to the development and performance of a team. Organizations such as the military that rely on distributed teams to perform critical functions are in need of research to guide the selection and incorporation of communication media. the results have many implications. It is imperative that researchers continue to examine the role of computer-mediated technologies and its impact on team members as they work together to accomplish their goals and objectives. As the RHR model illustrates.While no significant differences were found. Teams may not require as much socially present or synchronous interaction as believed. Remaining focused on the team in terms of both its development and performance should be forefront.
(2005).. Cohesion and performance in groups: A meta-analytic clarification of construct relations. J. (2002). Cohen.. V. G. (2002). Retrieved March 6. F. Kassin. B. S. Being there versus seeing there: Trust via video. Gergle. R. & Fein. (2006).pdf. Berry. 344-366.REFERENCES Baker. (1999). 15. Computer-mediated communication as employee voice: A case study. 88. (2001). Journal of Applied Psychology. 52. & Harms. G. & Olson. Group Decision and Negotiation.. M. Bos.. Nature of virtual teams: A summary of their advantages and disadvantages. An experimental analysis of face to face versus computer mediated communication channels. 2009 from http://www. Defining and measuring social presence: Contribution to the networked minds theory and measure. Brehm. D.. & McLendon. Bishop. W. S.umich. Beal. Industrial and Labor Relation Review. N.. & Neubert. F. 79-93. C. (2006). D.S.. Olson. Retrieved January 11. Bergiel. Barkhi. 43. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company 104 . Barrick.crew. I. J. 299-321. Biocca. 8... & Balsmeier. The effects of synchronous collaborative technologies on decision making: A study of virtual teams.. (2003). 99-110. 213-233. & Watson-Manheim. 325-347. Can computer-mediated asynchronous communication improve team processes and decision making? Journal of Business Communication. S. E. 989-1004. Management Research News. Belanger. S. 377-391. L. 83. Social Psychology (5th ed. J. Jacob. D.pdf. L. & Pirkul. M.. J. & Levine. M. J. C. Stewart. Journal of Applied Psychology. M.conferences\proceedings\2002\final papers\bioccaandharms. R. (2008). R. R.temple. R..edu\ispr\prev.). 31. B. 2009 from http://www. L. G. (1999). Burke. 15. Information Resources Management Journal. G.. Virtual teams and multiple media: Structuring media use to attain strategic goals. P. (1998). H. Bergiel. Relating member ability and personality to work-team processes and team effectiveness. Group Decision and Negotiation. M.. S.edu\publications\01-01.
J. 32.. Colquitt. Ilgen. & Valacich. tasks. 554-571. G. (2008). (2005). (2005). Chattopadhay. & Vician. self-enhancement. Journal of Applied Psychology. Hollenbeck. (2004). (2003). 32. P. C. & Sniezek. M. Applicant reactions to face-toface and technology-mediated interviews: A field investigation. A. 78. Information Technology & People. George. 575-600. LePine. L. Crede. D.. Manual for the Campbell-Hallam Team Development Survey. (1986). R. A. & Lawrence. S. Organizational information requirements. J. M. and communication processes: A theory of media synchronicity. 2008 from http://cyberg_wits. Journal of Applied Psychology. E. D. Chapman. Who’s afraid of the virtual world? Anxiety and computer-mediated communication.pdf. Chang. 944-953. R. & Webster. Media.Brown. J. L. Management Science. as carried out through a computer mediated communication medium: A comparative study. Daft. J. K. Campbell. Group judgment processes and outcomes in videoconferencing versus face-to-face groups. 59. MIS Quarterly. M. 79-107. (1993). S. Virtual teams in and out of synchronicity. A. (2003)... & Hallam. K. 892-900. CO: National Computer Systems. (2006). Retrieved March 25. J.. S. S. & Sheppard. 875-897. J. J.. Journal of the Association for Information Systems. 89. 323-344. Inc. A. & Lengel. and uncertainty reduction. R. Why does dissimilarity matter/ Exploring self-categorization. D. (1994). H. R. Dennis. D. S. Journal of Applied Psychology. 5. 88. L. R. & Valacich. R. Journal of Applied Psychology. Synchronicity maters! Development of task and social cohesion in ftf and text based cmc groups.. DeLuca. J. & Valacich. A.. 105 . A.. 87. Distiller. A. & Thatcher. Fuller. Colorado Springs. 531-537. media richness and structural design.za/cyberg/sessiondocs/cognitive/collab4/collab4. 19. Uggerslev. D1D6. Dennis. International Journal of HumanComputer Studies.. S.. The effectiveness of teambuilding activity. R. A.. Fuller. Computer brainstorms: More heads are better than one. (2004). A. Academy of Management Best Conference Paper. 402-410. Computer-assisted communication and team decision-making performance: The moderating effect of openness to experience.ac. R. (2002).
A. Retrieved March 25. 819-832. J. Impact of computer-mediated communication on virtual teams’ performance: An empirical study.lse. 2008 from http://casdl2. E..Driskell. Proceedings of the First ACM International Conference on Multimedia. Belmont. M.pdf. Irem. (2004).: Houghton-Mifflin. & Ahmad.pdf. 299-315. A. Virtual teams: Effects of technological mediation on team performance. Gully. & Salas. out of sync: Understanding conflict in distributed teams. E.pdf. A. Mirza. J. 106 . D. Applied statistics for behavioral sciences. Chang. (2003). Franz.ac. (2000). Incalcaterra. Isaacs. S. Hurst.. 615-632. K. Journal of Information Technology Education. Retrieved March 8. Galushkin.J. Retrieved April 9. Eshan. K. E. The development of social and task cohesion in computer-mediated and face-to-face task groups. 2009 from http://www. Extending media richness theory: The influence of a shared social construction. (1993). P. J. J. (1999). Proceedings of World Academy of Science. and Practice. H. & Beaubien. B. D.ca/~roel/publications/chi99/gaze. (2003). Out of sight. (2006).. A meta-analysis of team efficacy. (3rd ed. M. Proceedings of the 32nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. (2008). & Tang.. Predictors of team work satisfaction. von Baggo.. and performance: Interdependence and level of analysis as moderators of observed relationships. 32. 297-323. B. & Bayley. D. S.. C. (1994). A. C. Journal of Applied Psychology.. E. Wiersma. 2070-3740. J. & Jurs. (2003). N.org/comp/proceedings/hics/1999/0001/01/00011028. 2009 from http://is2. A1-A6... I. Irmer. potency. 7. Engineering and Technology. (2004). N.). E. & Dambra. J. & Bailey. M. P. H. (2002). Howell. 14. CA: Thompson Brooks/Cole.. Research. The impact of computer mediated communication on information overload in distributed teams. 5.queensla.uk/asp/aspecis/20040155. A. Academy of Management. Hinkle. Princeton. Hamlynn-Harris. Hinds. P. H. Joshi. & Bordia. Fundamental statistics for the behavioral sciences. J. J. W. Text message: A potentially rich medium in distributed organization. Radtke. Organization Science... 87.cs. Group Dynamics: Theory.computer. What video can and can’t do for collaboration: A case study. 2000. E. S..
H. 3. 13. 4. Psychological perspective on presence: The implications of mediated environments on relationships. 75-84. 175-192. S. B. & Leidner. Jonas. & Miller. d. research and Development. & Sassenberg. New York: McGraw-Hill. J. W. D.. Kumar. Retrieved October 16. Kirkman.. & Conte.. 315-329.pdf. 35-51. K. Practice and Research. T. Landy. M. F. I. 2009 from http://www. Klein. Psychological Services. G. (2004). Communication and trust in global virtual teams. Investigating work group characteristics and performance over time: A replication and cross-cultural extension. 49. P. D. U. P. E. 107 . (2002). Retrieved March 8.iupjournals. L. Rosen. G. Keppel. (1999).. L. & Gibson. Group Decision and Negotiation. M.kurzendoerfer. (2002). Educational Technology.org/eservices/es1-3.: Prentice Hall. J. (1999). (2007).. (1991).uky. Boos. Social presence theory. (2004). S. (2000).. The impact of team empowerment on virtual team performance: The moderating role of face-to-face interaction. N. behavioral health. J. 153-171.edu/~drlane/teams/theory. Kurzendoefer. Design and analysis: A researcher’s handbook. K. Kerr. B. 2006 from http//:www. I. Communication patterns in computer mediated versus face-toface group problem solving. & Baik. J. 203-222. Jung. 5. B. B. (n. C.Jarvenpaa. Group Dynamics: Theory. 47.html. 381-399. Distributed team planning. International Journal of Cognitive Economics. J. & Jordan. N.. Tesluk. K. Cyber Psychology & Behavior. 10. & Benbasat. pleeezz!! Management and training of media competence in computer-mediated communication. K. Jonassen. D.). J. (2001). S. 791-815. (2004). and social construction. Unsubscribe. E. Upper Saddle River. & Murthy.J. 6. Work in the 21st century: An introduction to industrial and organizational psychology.. Jerome. Divergent and convergent idea generation in teams: A comparison of computer-mediated and face-to-face communication. L. Para-social presence and communication capabilities of a web site. Academy of Management Journal. D. Sosik. E. Organization Science.
Retrieved August 14.chris-kimble. S. Exploring the concept of para social presence in virtual project teams.: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall. (1997). Y. K. Liu. McLeod. & Lonn. Y. R. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 89. P. Proceedings of the 41st Hawaii International Conference on Systems sciences. Nedelko. Journal of Educational Psychology. R. R. (2005). Journal of Applied Psychology. An evaluation of framework of expertise presence in computer conferences. H. & Choy. M. 917-930.pdf.com/Publications/Documents/Ubon_2003. (2007)..edu/research/liter/media/pdfs/eval_conf. M. Retrieved March 8. Cheung. S. A.edu/journal/?p=58. E. Upper Saddle River. & Yoon. J. W. M. & Lewis. K. (8th ed. Review of the Campbell-Hallam Team Development Survey. The Business Review. & Ormrod.. Kiesler. Mayer. 82. S. E. C. K. Ng. 2008 from Capella University Research Database. D.. 2007 from http://cuburn. (2008). 108 . K..pdf. C. (2003). (1994). Practical research: Planning and design. N. 2008. A. Tsang.. T. Supporting the creation of social presence in online learning communities using asynchronous text-based cmc. J. J. S. (1997). Kwan. Managing team interpersonal processes through technology: A task-technology fit perspective. J. T. & Agarwal. Z. Maruping. Heiser. Leong.). Cognitive constraints on multimedia learning: When presenting more material results in less understanding. 164-170. Retrieved August 18. (1987). L. Team assessments: A review and analysis of four current team assessments. Journal of Applied Psychology. (2007).syr.. Lim. P.Leedy. P. 52. O. British Journal of Educational Technology. Marti. S. (2008). 93. (2004). A. Cambridge. (2001). The eyes have it: Minority influence in face-to-face and computer-mediated group discussion. W. Social presence: A theoretical construct for evaluation of the participatory catalog. & Kimble. 975-990. F. 706-718. Mental Measurements Yearbook. C.. R... 187-198. 1-10.papers/2003se_wcky. Y. & Hung. L. M. McGuire.. 38. L. Retrieved September 13. 2009 from www. Baron. Videoconferencing in virtual teams.. & Siegel.. Group and computer-mediated discussion effects in risk decision making [Electronic version]. 1020-1036. T. Na Ubon. Nelson.J. Manes. 7.. E. 2008 from http://conversants.
Spears. A. and anonymity Informational Systems Research. d. B. Intergroup differentiation in computermediated communication: Effects of depersonalization.Newberry. & DeLaCour. Pinto. The Social Psychology of Telecommunications. Management Science. Strauss. social presence. J. K. Antecedents and consequences of project team cross-functional cooperation. Understanding coordination in computer-mediated versus face-to-face groups. F. & McGrath. 87-97.com/items/teamactivities/tall-ships/list. (1994). (1976). London: John Wiley. Stone. B. 349-379. Journal of Media Psychology: Theories.. M.. K. J.com (n. (1990). 70-90.teambuildinginc. Methods. Small group decision-making in face-to-face and computer mediated environments: The role of personality. 12-133. (1993). A. Simon. 6. T. & Posey.. Pinto. & Futrell. S. J. Group Dynamics: Theory. K. (2005). social presence and technology supported communication activities in education. Scheck.org/resources/lgend101_norm1/200/210. CA. M. B. M. A. R. (2001). & Wei. Allmendinger.. 2008 from http://learninggen. E. (2008). & Lea. Research. J. Computer-mediated communication: Task performance and satisfaction. (2003). 57-66. Sia. 203-218. 1281-1298. 146. 3-16. Group polarization and computer-mediated communication: Effects of communication cues. Williams. 2008 from http://store. B. Teambuildinginc. Sundstrom. 22. Work teams: Applications and effectiveness. & Hamann.. & Precott. P. The Journal of Social Psychology.. 79. D. Journal of Applied Psychology.. E. 109 . and Practice. The effects of media richness on multilateral negotiations in a collaborative virtual environment.. Does the medium matter? The interaction of task type and technology on group performance and member reactions.. Postmes. E. Tall ships™: A game for building effective teams. Retrieved March 8. G. (2006).. DeMeuse. Retrieved September 13. Thatcher. (2002). American Psychologist. 20. K. (2002). C. J. E.. and Applications. Poster session presented at the Annual meeting of the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology. C.. Short. N. S. Media richness.htm?1=1.. Tan. & Christie.. K. Los Angeles. 39. Behavior and Information Technology. 45.). 13.
(2003). Sankar.. & Mbarika.). Ubon. Cho.). C. Consulting Psychology Journal. Zigurs. 9-16. 2008 from http://hicss. 1008-1022. Group Dynamics: Theory. & Wang. A. I. Turoff.edu/hicss35/hicsspapers/pdfdocments/clcsc03. (2000). Van Knippenberg.. L. Winum. C. M. H. d. Wikia. Information Systems Management. Social decision support systems.net\learning2005\papers\wheeler. Journal of Computer Information Systems. De Dreu. 110 . W.). Leadership in organizations.wikia. Proceedings of the 35th Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences. C.tafe. Y.vidolinq. & Homan. 294 . D. 82-89. and Practice. Supporting the creation of social presence in online learning communities using asynchronous text-based cmc.W. R. 135-151. C. (2005). Xue.2005. and postdiscussion accuracy. From profiles to patterns: A new view of tasktechnology fit. & Khazanchi. 7.301. P. (2003). Proceedings of ACM CHI ’99 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Information technology outsourcing and virtual team. Journal of Applied Psychology. The GAZE groupware system: Mediating joint attention in multiparty communication and collaboration. M. Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Technology in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. A. (2001). Pacific Grove.. satisfaction. (2002). Hiltz. Teamwork online: Effects of computer conferencing on perceived confusion. (2002). R.. Chrobach’s alpha. (2008).. Creating social presence in digital learning environments: A presence of mind? Retrieved December 15. Upper Saddle River. CA: Brooks/Cole Thompson Learning. Retrieved May 19. Social Work with Groups: Using the Class as a Group Leadership Laboratory (5th ed. July 2003. (1999). S.pdf. Retrieved March 25. 2009 http://psychology. Work group diversity and group performance: An integrative model and research agenda. Winter 2004. D. & Coovert. (5th ed. Zastrow. 295 . F. R.hawaii. Z. K. May 1999. Research. A. (2005).. T. 52. C.. Y.Thompson. 2008 from http:\\www. V. Li. 8-13.com (n. Developing a team-based organization: A case study in progress. & Seamon.com/wiki/chronbach’s alpha. Yukl.300. C. Wheeler. N. & Kimble. 25. (2004).pdf. G. Vertegaal. D. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. 89.. S. S.
I improved my teamwork ability through this exercise.      Overall.      Strongly Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Disagree Agree I could easily understand the mission of the team.      If I had to do the same work again.      If I had to do the same work again in a computer mediated team. I was personally satisfied with the computer mediated team decision making process. I would rather join a different computer mediated team.APPENDIX A TEAM DEVELOPMENT SURVEY Gender: Male/Female Class Year: 2011 2010 2009 2008 Please rate the following statements according to the rating scale below by circling the appropriate number to indicate how well you agree with each statement.         Team members recognized and respected individual differences and contributions during the exercise.      It was easy for our computer mediated team members to understand the goal of the planning process.   Team members were committed to the goals and objectives of the team.      I felt I was really part of our computer mediated team.      Team members were open and frank in expressing their ideas and feelings.   111    . the quality of my computer mediated team’s interaction was high. I would rather stay in the same computer mediated team.           I improved my decision-making ability through this exercise.      Overall.      I improved my technical ability through this exercise.
APPENDIX B MATERIAL COST SHEET Team: Part: Orange Rod Purple Rod Blue Rod Red Rod Green Rod Blue Spool Yellow Spool Purple Connector Blue Connector Total Cost Unit Cost $100 $75 $50 $35 $25 $75 $50 $50 $50 Task 1 # Units Total Init Cost Task 2 # Units Total Unit Cost 112 .
APPENDIX C TASK PERFORMANCE WORKSHEET Task 1 Team Type Plan Time 1 Exec Time 1 Height 1 Cost 1 Plan Time 2 Task 2 Exec Time 2 Height 2 Cost 2 113 .
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.