The Effects of Communicative Genres on Intra-Group Conflict in Virtual Student Teams

The Effects of Communicative Genres on Intra-Group Conflict in Virtual Student Teams

Jung-Lung Hsu (National Central University, Taiwan) and Huey-Wen Chou (National Central University, Taiwan)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/jdet.2009010101
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With increasing convenience and prevalence, the distant communication application has become a promising way for individuals who are eager to cooperate and interact virtually. This study explored the question of whether the collaborative interaction of the virtual teams has any effect on the conflict and network structure of virtual groups. A total of 150 participants were invited and randomly assigned to thirty groups with each group of five subjects. To function like real virtual groups, they were asked to communicate with their members through e-mail. Through genre analysis and social network analysis, nine communicative genres most frequently used in the collaborative groups were identified. Results of correlation analysis suggested that it was the communicative genres, not the network structure, that were associated with intra-group conflict of virtual group. Accordingly, whether the network structure of the virtual group is centralized or decentralized may not be instructors’ or developers’ major concern. Instead, they may wish to focus on a well-designed interface providing needed supports of communicative procedure for coordinating with distant members.

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