An Exploratory Study

Elizabeth Koh

National University of Singapore, Singapore
Na Liu

National University of Singapore, Singapore
John Lim

National University of Singapore, Singapore

ABSTRACT

With the advancement of information and communication technology, virtual teams are becoming more popular as geographical constraints in collaboration have become a non-issue. Features of the technology and characteristics ofthe group influence interaction processes and outcomes. Two elements are the focus of this paper. The first is anonymity, which has been made feasible by technology. The other concerns gender. Gender is an important research target, and its role in groupwork must not be overlooked. Both elements have aroused much interest across multiple research fields. The existing literature shows their potential in influencing team collaboration processes, satisfaction, and performance. In this paper, the authors present a process-based interpretation of virtual team collaboration, incorporating the anonym­ity of technology and the gender difference of team members. Using a multiple case study approach, the paper identifies a key set of process variables that shape team performance. The study also examines the interdependencies among the processes. Task-related activity that occurred during team discussion was affected by gender anonymity, and this influenced group performance and members ’ satisfaction toward the collaboration process. Group dynamics, including member awareness, leader emergence, and member’s conformity, are salient process variables that affect the virtual team performance as well.

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-759-3.ch001