Advances in information technologies facilitate new organizational forms and new ways of structuring work, such as the use of distributed teams. In distributed environments, individuals have many choices of communication modes for use with colleagues. Previous research has primarily addressed the need for richness of a medium to ìfitî the characteristics of the communication task being performed. There has been little research on when and how different communication technologies are used in the performance of specific communication-based work processes (e.g., information gathering, relationship development). Using an interpretive case study approach, and guided by a hermeneutic perspective, texts from interviews of 40 individuals working in distributed teams in two organizations were analyzed. Analysis was conducted in three stages: (1) key patterns of meanings expressed by each employee, (2) key patterns of meaning that emerge across organizations, and (3) broader conceptual and managerial implications from the analysis. Some initial individual patterns include the relationship between media choice and the specific communication-based work process performed, and the influence of the type of team structure in which the communication-based work process is embedded on the choice. Findings at all stages of analysis will be discussed.
Watson-Manheim, Mary and Belanger, France, "An In-Depth Investigation of Communication Mode Choices in Distributed Teams" (2002). ICIS 2002 Proceedings. 91.