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Social Aspects of Virtual Teams

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Abstract:

There has been a transformation from individual work to team work in the last few decades (Ilgen, 1999), and many organizations use teams for many activities done by individuals in the past (Boyett & Conn, 1992 ; Katzenbach & Smith, 1993). In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in computer-mediated groups because of the increases in globalization of business operations leading to geographically dispersed executives and decision makers. However, what seems to be lacking is some focus in terms of problem settings and corresponding tools to support collaborative decision making. The research question of this study deals with the dynamics of virtual teams' members. A model, suggesting that team dynamics can increase the teams' output, is presented, and a methodology to examine the model is illustrated. An experiment was performed, in which subjects, who were grouped into teams, had to share information in order to complete a task. The findings indicate that the social aspect of the virtual team's discussion is negative than the social aspect of the face-to-face team's discussion, and that the virtual team's output is inferior to the face-to-face team's output. The virtual team is a common way of working nowadays, and with the growing use of Internet applications and firms' globalization it will expand in the future. Thus, the importance of the theoretical and practical implementation of the research will be discussed.

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