Challenges in Virtual Collaboration

Challenges in Virtual Collaboration: Videoconferencing, Audioconferencing, and Computer-Mediated Communications

Lynne Walnfan
Paul K. Davis
Copyright Date: 2004
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 128
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  • Book Info
    Challenges in Virtual Collaboration
    Book Description:

    A summary of the research literature on how the processes and outcomes of virtual, or mediated, collaborations are affected by the communication medium (videoconferencing, audioconferencing, or computer-mediated conferencing); a discussion of ways to mitigate problems in such collaboration; and a suggested strategy for choosing the most effective medium, including face-to-face communication and hybrid systems, as a function of task and context.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4070-1
    Subjects: Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xi-xviii)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-xx)
  8. Acronyms
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-3)

    An increasingly critical aspect of activity in modern workplaces isvirtual collaboration, by which we mean (drawing upon a related definition by Gibson and Cohen, 2003) collaboration by people working together who are interdependent in their tasks, share responsibility for outcomes, are geographically dispersed, and rely on mediated, rather than face-to-face (FTF), communication.

    Virtual collaboration occurs in a telecommunications network, each node of which contains one or more people. The nodes may be connected by any of several communication media, notably videoconferencing (VC), audioconferencing (AC), and computer-mediated communication (CMC).

    Such virtual collaboration is important in a wide range of settings...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Definitions and Methodology
    (pp. 4-12)

    Table 2.1 characterizes VC, AC, and CMC in simple terms. In VC, participants face a video image of another member or multiple images of other members. They may also use common graphics, such as a shared briefing or a shared whiteboard. In AC, participants are on the telephone with one or a number of other people. They may also use computer displays to see shared briefings or whiteboards. VC and AC may include subgroups meeting FTF in the same room. CMC is typically text-based, although it increasingly includes drawings, photos, and other images such as happy faces or “emoticons.” CMC...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Virtual Versus Face-to-Face Collaboration: A Survey of the Literature
    (pp. 13-64)

    Having defined types of virtual collaboration in terms of different forms of mediated communication, we now discuss how we will describe effects reported in the literature. We are interested in how the nature of collaboration affects both group processes and outcomes. What happens to group dynamics when one or more collaborator is in a different location or shares an affiliation such as country, company, or university? Is the quality of discussion higher or lower, and by what measure? Does communication mode affect people’s influence on one another? What other effects might occur, e.g., the likelihood of consensus or opinion change?...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Mitigating Problems and Exploiting the Benefits of Mediated Communication
    (pp. 65-74)

    In this chapter, we discuss techniques to mitigate adverse media effects while leveraging benefits the media can offer. It is generally held that certain task types lend themselves better than others to CMC. Information exchange seems to be almost as effective in CMC as in FTF, and brainstorming is improved with CMC. Conversely, FTF seems best for tasks requiring interpersonal exchange, such as when the decision requires complex thinking or negotiations, or when problems are ill defined.¹ Since FTF meetings are in person and improve cohesiveness, they are probably best for generating and checking commitment to a course of action....

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Where Next?
    (pp. 75-80)

    As adoption of communications technology to improve productivity continues, our understanding of the technology’s adverse effects must keep up. Some of the more obvious adverse effects, such as reduced participation and deindividuation, can be observed and mitigated. However, more-subtle effects may go unnoticed until the downstream consequences of group decisions appear. Problems may arise, for example, within the increasingly networked intelligence community that is being called for in light of the previously poor communications among agencies, and also in military operations, which already depend heavily on CMC, AC, and—at high levels—VC.

    To illustrate how technology continues to introduce...

  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 81-106)