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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 6: Conclusions and Managerial Implications

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


Internet users correspond without visible cues about the other group members, the influence of physical appearance – including but not limited to gender, age, physical attractiveness, and race – is not in operation. Feelings of liking, friendship and attraction between group members must have bases other than physical cues, such as similarity, values and interests, and conversational style, which have also been shown to be powerful determinants of friendship and attraction. Thus, liaisons may form on the Internet that would not have formed in the faceto-face world. (McKenna and Green, 2002: 120) 6.1 INTRODUCTION This study investigated the role of CMC in (semi-)dispersed teams. In particular, we focused on the communication processes within three different case studies. Although increasingly popular, virtual teams are still a relatively under-researched organizational form. Several authors have tried to provide guidelines for the effective functioning of such teams. Such guidelines are needed because these new organizational forms can present a myriad of managerial challenges. However, none of the guidelines proposed were embedded in a consistent theory-based understanding of virtual teams. The MRT approach has long been regarded as the main theory in the analyses of computer-mediated communication (CMC) (Daft and Lengel 1986; Rice 1984; Rice and Love 1987; Spears and Lea 1992). In our study we have challenged the conventional perspective as described by MRT which argues that CMC provides a reduced-cues environment, unable to foster emotional, expressive or complex communication. Modern communication technologies have qualities not found in traditional communication media, which...

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