Managing Interruptions in Virtual Collaboration: an Empirical Study in the Textile Business
- FANG SIYAN
Given the distributed nature of modern organizations, the use of technology-mediated teams is a critical aspect of their success. These teams use various media that are arguably less personal than face-to-face communication. One factor influencing the success of these teams is their ability to develop an understanding of who knows what during the initial team development stage. However, this development of understanding within dispersed teams may be impeded because of the limitations of technology-enabled communication environments. Past research has found that a limited understanding of team member capabilities hinders team performance. As such, this article investigates mechanisms for improving the recall of individuals within dispersed teams. Utilizing the input-process-output model to conceptualize the group interaction process, three input factors—visual artifacts (i.e., a computer-generated image of each team member), team size, and work interruptions—are manipulated to assess their influence on a person's ability to recall important characteristics of their virtual team members. Results show that visual artifacts significantly increase the recall of individuals' information. However, high-urgency interruptions significantly deteriorate the recall of individuals, regardless of the visual artifact or team size. These findings provide theoretical and practical implications on knowledge acquisition and project success within technology-mediated teams.