This chapter discusses the findings of a qualitative research study which explored how collaborative technologies facilitate or inhibit the work of 12 virtual workers. Overall, participants perceived collaborative technologies as helpful to facilitating their work but mentioned a number of challenges inherent in each. For example, asynchronous technologies afford the ability to respond at one’s leisure, but this affordance may generate misconceptions when time lags occur. Synchronous technologies such as online meeting tools with video enhance meetings by affording the communication of visual cues but pose the challenge of coordinating the schedules of virtual team members or clients dispersed across global time zones. Participants also revealed that certain technologies were more appropriate for certain tasks. Finally, the chapter relates the results of this study to previous research on technology-enhanced work and lists implications for future research and practice.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Collaborative Technologies: All types of technologies that facilitate communication, collaboration, coordination, and learning at various organizational levels
Virtual Team: An interdependent group of individuals who predominantly use technology to communicate, collaborate, share information, and coordinate their efforts in order to accomplish a common work-related objective