CEC Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)

Department

College of Engineering and Computing

Advisor

Yair Levy

Committee Member

Laurie Dringus

Committee Member

Nitza Geri

Abstract

In the digital domain, virtual teams within organizations and corporations are becoming common. Restructuring an organization or corporation is vital because competition and globalization are increasing. In this era of globalization, distributed working groups need to develop a competitive advantage in these ever-changing environments. Historically, teams had experienced problems stemming from geographical and temporal limitations. With the increase of technology in telecommunications, organizations are increasingly forming virtual teams, which have become critical to the survival of nearly any corporate entity.

Virtual teams have some of the same problems that regular teams have. One of the key challenges is the method of forming teams, while such challenge is exacerbated in digital environments. Despite the difficulties, the digital environment has made successful team development all the more challenging. The variation in people's skills makes the formation of teams even more difficult. This is why organizations cannot determine in advance if a virtual team will be a success.

To evaluate the success of team formation in a virtual setting, this research study assessed the role of different computer-mediated communications (CMC) levels employed (no-CMC/face-to-face, online learning system, online learning system + social networking site) on the success of team formation measured by the level of task performance (TP), team cohesiveness (TC), computer skills (CS) and social bond (SB), while assessing the differences on such relationships when controlled for demographic information such as gender, age, education level, academic major, as well as academic year. Empirical data was collected from students at the Medical Sciences Campus in the University of Puerto Rico with 140 usable records.

Using three teams and 140 participants, the results indicated that there is a statistically significance difference in the role of CMC levels employed (no-CMC/face-to-face, online learning system, online learning system + social networking site) on the level of perception of CS in team formation. Significant differences were also found in the role of CMC levels employed on the levels of TP, when controlled for gender. In addition, there is a significance difference in the role of CMC levels employed (no-CMC/face-to-face, online learning system, online learning system + social networking site) on the levels of CS, when controlled for education, academic major and academic year. The outcomes of the study contributed to the body of knowledge for both practice and research, to help organizations identify ways to support effective team formations in virtual environments.