Trust in Computer Mediated Communication

Trust in Computer Mediated Communication

Ardis Hanson, Sheila Gobes-Ryan
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch205
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Explicit and tacit knowledge are critical components in organizations. Explicit knowledge, such as organizational norms, routines, and ‘ways of knowing’, traditionally is created in a shared physical ‘place’ or from objects within an organization, such as written policies and procedures. In contrast, tacit knowledge is defined as operational knowledge, decision-making judgment in the absence of data, or discrete interpersonal skills in individuals. Tacit knowledge is difficult to quantify and to transfer from one individual to another, from one individual to a group, or from one group to another. This becomes a major obstacle in the creation of teams, since teams have a range of diverse memberships and structures, and use a variety of technologies with which to work and to innovate.

Raghuram, Tuertscher, and Garud (2010) identified a number of challenges related to trust, cohesion, and technology as teams transcend place, time, space, and culture. Teams may be physically collocated teams, blended teams, or virtual teams (Hanson, Engel, & Gobes-Ryan, 2010). The defining difference is whether the team is physically collocated, located across physical and virtual spaces, or located only in cyberspace (For the purposes of this article, the use of the phrase virtual teams may also include blended teams). In addition to project tasks and milestones, teams also contain a social structure that links the individual team members in such a way that successful completion of each member's job is necessary to achieve larger goals and desired outcomes for the team and the organization. Thomas, Bostrum, and Gouge (2007) suggest as virtual relations increase, organizations will want to know how to make these relationships more effective and to develop common work practices around ICT use. Hence, the location of team members and the methods of communication open to them may affect the team’s ability to collaborate effectively. Successful collaboration is associated with trust, and to an equal extent, power. For virtual teams, the question is how to create a collaborative environment conducive to communication when members have access to each other through networked technologies.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Trust: “Assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something” or “one in which confidence is placed.

Informal Communication: Peer-oriented, spontaneous, and strongly interactive communication, helps to build social relationships. Used frequently by virtual teams.

Community Of Practice: A situated learning environment in which 1) members are brought together by joining in common activities and 2) by what they have learned through their mutual engagement in these activities ( Wenger, 1998 ).

Media Richness Theory: The ability of a communication medium to accurately reproduce the information sent over it.

Formal Communication: Strategic and structured communication that follows organizational rules and formats.

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