Merrill E. Warkentin is an associate professor of MIS in the College of Business Administration, Northeastern University in Boston, MA. His research, primarily involving IT management, knowledge engineering, computer security, and electronic commerce, has appeared in such journals as Decision Sciences, MIS Quarterly, Expert Systems, ACM Applied Computing Review, Journal of Computer Information Systems, and The Journal of Intelligent Technologies. Dr. Warkentin has served as an associate editor and guest editor of several journals, and as a consultant to numerous companies and organizations. He has also been a featured speaker at over 100 industry association meetings and is currently a national lecturer for the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). He received his Ph.D. in MIS from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Virtual Teams versus Face-to-Face Teams: An Exploratory Study of a Web-based Conference System*
Article first published online: 7 JUN 2007
Volume 28, Issue 4, pages 975–996, October 1997
How to Cite
Warkentin, M. E., Sayeed, L. and Hightower, R. (1997), Virtual Teams versus Face-to-Face Teams: An Exploratory Study of a Web-based Conference System. Decision Sciences, 28: 975–996. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5915.1997.tb01338.x
The authors wish to thank the Special Focus Editor and the reviewers for their thoughtful critique of the earlier versions of this paper. We also wish to acknowledge the contributions of the Northeastern University College of Business Administration and its staff, which provided the web server and the Meeting Web™ software used in these experiments.
- Issue published online: 7 JUN 2007
- Article first published online: 7 JUN 2007
- Received: May 21, 1996. Accepted: July 14, 1997.
- Computer Conference;
- Computer-mediated Communication Systems (CMCS);
- Virtual Teams;
- and World Wide Web.
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.