The Effects of Communication Modality on Performance and Self-Ratings of Teamwork Components

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Abstract

Based on McGrath and Hollingshead’s adaptation of media richness theory and a model of team performance, a laboratory study was designed to compare the effects of three communication modalities of increasing richness on a complex psychomotor/intellective task (i.e., audio only, shared workspace, face-to-face). When teams worked face-to-face, they reported teamwork behaviors to a greater extent than when they worked via audio, and team members perceived their performance to be greater when face-to-face than when using audio alone. The use of a shared workspace enhanced some aspects of perceived team processes, such that distributed teams reported teamwork behaviors to a greater extent than when using audio alone. Teams also committed fewer errors when using a shared workspace than when using audio alone. Practical implications and limitations are discussed.

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