Adaptations that Virtual Teams Make so that Complex Tasks Can Be Performed Using Simple E-Collaboration Technologies
Dorrie DeLuca (University of Delaware, USA), Susan Gasson (Drexel University, USA) and Ned Kock (Texas A&M International University, USA)
Copyright: © 2009
Using the theoretical lens of compensatory adaptation theory, this study examines how organizational problem-solving teams adapt to lean media and effectively communicate. We examined several successful virtual teams using a bulletin board as their primary communication medium to perform complex process improvement tasks in their natural business environment. Although some established theories predict failure using lean media, savings from use of simple e-collaboration technologies provide motivation for conduct of virtual teams. Compensatory adaptation theory argues that e-collaboration technologies often pose obstacles to communication, and yet also lead to better team outcomes than the face-to-face medium. This study provides support for that theory. Members of the virtual teams reported adapting their communication to be more focused, clear, precise, neutral, concrete, concise, persuasive, considerate, and complete in order to overcome the obstacles posed by media of low richness. As a result of those adaptations, the teams perceived better quality and achieved success of the team outcome.