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Keywords:

  • Collaboration;
  • Computer Conference;
  • Computer-mediated Communication Systems (CMCS);
  • Internet;
  • Virtual Teams;
  • and World Wide Web.

ABSTRACT

Many organizations are forming “virtual teams” of geographically distributed knowledge workers to collaborate on a variety of workplace tasks. But how effective are these virtual teams compared to traditional face-to-face groups? Do they create similar teamwork and is information exchanged as effectively? An exploratory study of a World Wide Web-based asynchronous computer conference system known as Meeting Web™ is presented and discussed. It was found that teams using this computer-mediated communication system (CMCS) could not outperform traditional (face-to-face) teams under otherwise comparable circumstances. Further, relational links among team members were found to be a significant contributor to the effectiveness of information exchange. Though virtual and face-to-face teams exhibit similar levels of communication effectiveness, face-to-face team members report higher levels of satisfaction. Therefore, the paper presents steps that can be taken to improve the interaction experience of virtual teams. Finally, guidelines for creating and managing virtual teams are suggested, based on the findings of this research and other authoritative sources.