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Learning to Work in Partially Distributed Teams: An Analysis of Emergent Communication Structures and Technology Appropriation

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4 Author(s)
Rosalie J. Ocker ; Penn State Univ., University Park, PA, USA ; Heidi C. Webb ; S. Roxanne Hiltz ; Ian D. Brown

A partially distributed team is a virtual team, in which two or more co-located subteams use communication technology to collaborate across distance. Due to factors such as globalization and mergers, an increasing number of IT projects are conducted in partially distributed teams (PDTs). However, students lack experience in how to work effectively in such situations. This field study involved more than 500 students from seven U.S. and seven international universities, working together in PDTs. Through the lens of the Fit-Appropriation Model, quantitative and qualitative analyses were conducted regarding three emergent communication structures (hub-and-spoke, moderate network, and high-network) Findings indicate significant differences in terms of communication technology usage and self-reported learning outcomes. The communication structures differed along two appropriation dimensions -- inclusivity and adaptiveness -- which mediated learning outcomes.

Published in:

System Sciences (HICSS), 2010 43rd Hawaii International Conference on

Date of Conference:

5-8 Jan. 2010