Teams: Virtualness and Media Choice

Jonathan W. Palmer and Cheri Speier
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 3, Number 1, Fall 1998, pp. 27.

Abstract: This paper describes a research framework defining “virtualness” by the degree of work-cycle synchronicity and differences in member location and culture. This framework is extended into a research model investigating relationships among work, team virtualness, and communication processes. Various facets of communication are examined, including task and media fit and communication effectiveness.

A discussion of an ongoing exploratory study within a single organization is presented. Case descriptions, survey data, and communication logs are used to better understand the relationships between teams that vary as to their degree of virtualness and communication. The findings suggest significant differences among teams, which vary in their degree of virtualness with respect to their perceptions of task and media fit, social context factors, and team effectiveness. Within our sample, teams with greater virtualness are associated with less trust, less cooperation, and more conflict-management problems.

Key Words and Phrases: Communication, media choice, virtual teams.