Team Decision Making in Computer-Supported Cooperative Work: How Initial Computer-Mediated or Face-to-Face Meetings Set the Stage for Later Outcomes


  • We thank the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. This research is supported in part by the Collaboration and Knowledge Interoperability program of the Office of Naval Research, grant nos. N000140210535 and N000140610031, and the Innovations in Organizations program of the National Science Foundation, grant no. 0092805.

Corresponding author.


The success of teams working together over multiple meetings may depend on how processes develop at initial meetings. Computer-mediated tools, in particular, may hinder team process development which may set the stage for shortcomings later. One recommendation is to hold the initial team meeting face to face. Herein, we examine social processes over time and whether computer-mediated teams completing their first session face to face can offset the shortcomings in process development and outcomes in their second session. Using longitudinal data we test the differences in, and relationships among, processes and outputs across teams that met twice as computer mediated, twice as face to face, or as mixed media (first as face to face and second as computer mediated). Results indicate computer-mediated teams reported lower participative decision making than face-to-face teams after the first session and the disparity continued at the second session. Mixed-media teams, however, had improved participative decision making over pure computer-mediated teams in the long run. Further, mixed-media teams reported team satisfaction similar to pure face-to-face teams and delivered a task performance between that of pure computer-mediated and pure face-to-face teams. Interestingly, mixed-media teams experienced increased conflict over time, while conflict in pure media teams decreased. Our results suggest that practitioners may want to require an initial face-to-face session (i.e., more than just a meet and greet) to prepare members to work together in the future.