Building More Effective Virtual Teams: An Examination of the Task Variable in Online Group Problem-Solving
Stephen Dundis, Suzanne Benson, Northeastern Illinois University, United States
International Journal on E-Learning Volume 2, Number 4, ISSN 1537-2456 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC USA
The importance of problem-solving and/or decision-making groups, as opposed to individuals, continues to grow, both in work and educational environments. Virtual, or online versions of these groups are assuming an everincreasing role in these settings. The effectiveness of these teams remains somewhat tenuous, in part because of the failure to fully account for a number of different variables in the group process. One of these is the character of the team's mission, or task. In an attempt to further delineate and understand this variable the authors introduce a detailed task typology synthesized from a number of disciplines consisting of six key areas: (1) degree of interdependence, (2) goal complexity, (3) data gathering/distribution demands, (4) information-processing demands, (5) evaluation demands, and (6) situational demands. The limited research findings surrounding these task variables suggest that as they vary or change along a spectrum, group interactional demands change-degree of unified interaction, rates of information exchange, amounts and types of argument/negotiation, and so forth. In turn, these dynamics interact with other variables to alter group performance and member satisfaction. The article concludes by offering initial thoughts for both managers and educators when considering the membership of groups, the communication modality to be used, and their facilitational role in the team's operations.
Dundis, S. & Benson, S. (2003). Building More Effective Virtual Teams: An Examination of the Task Variable in Online Group Problem-Solving. International Journal on E-Learning, 2(4), 24-38. Norfolk, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).
© 2003 Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)
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