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The Effects of Communication Media and Team Composition in Virtual and Face-to-Face Teams Open Access

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This dissertation explores the effects of communication media and team personality composition on team interactions and outcomes. Three hundred undergraduate students, assigned to teams of three, worked on a decision-making task that had an ideal solution. Teams were equally divided into two communication conditions: face-to-face and virtual (in which teams used a synchronous communication program for all their interactions). No significant differences were found between the two conditions in terms of teams' measured performance, perceived performance, satisfaction, or conflict. However, results underline a complex impact of communication medium on team relationships: task conflict was significantly negatively related to team synergy and uber-synergy in the virtual condition, but not in the face-to-face condition. Moreover, the higher the team's level of neuroticism, the more task conflict the team perceived in face-to-face teams, but not virtually, where the relationship was reversed. Regardless of the communication condition, task conflict in a team negatively impacted perceived performance, satisfaction with the decision-making process, and cohesion. Teams higher in extraversion were more satisfied with the decision-making process than teams lower in extraversion, a relationship partially explained by an increase in participation in the task. Limitations, directions for further research, and implications for practitioners are discussed.

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