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Communication and Cooperation in the Virtual Workplace

Teamwork in Computer-Mediated-Communication

Gaby Sadowski-Rasters, Geert Duysters and Bert M. Sadowski

This innovative book explores the structure, growth and effectiveness of virtual communities in computer-mediated environments. In spite of initial enthusiasm, much uncertainty remains about the prospects of virtual teams and the technology that supports their collaboration. This book seeks to confront these issues and offers a unique insight into the realities of virtual working.
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Chapter 2: How to Study Virtual Communication

Gaby Sadowski-Rasters, Geert Duysters and Bert M. Sadowski


2.1 CASE STUDY APPROACH Although classical studies of CMC and MRT have been criticized on many different grounds, there is still a vast and growing body of literature that adheres to this tradition. In an attempt to overcome the main criticisms of the classic theories we aim to provide a more balanced and less biased view on the use of text-based communication. In this study we try to overcome most of the critiques as presented, as mentioned above. We conclude that a longitudinal case study approach in a real-life setting will provide us with practical and scientific findings that are more insightful than the outcomes of the experimental studies that were criticized in our previous chapter. In order to be able to provide a longitudinal real-life description of the case, we decided to monitor closely a specific virtual team, all the way from its initial start-up phase towards the end of the project. This provides a unique perspective which makes it possible to observe whether the team will gradually adapt to the usage of CMC once the team has been granted sufficient time to develop its own processes. For our research we have chosen to follow a longitudinal case study approach which aims to gain insight into a (social) system or empirical problem within its real-life context (Yin 1994). Case studies are particularly effective when a large amount of variables that cannot be manipulated have to be dealt with, and when little information about a...

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