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"Faultlines, communication media, and identification in virtual teams"

Kevin Rock, Michael Pratt, and Greg Northcraft

 

First Author :

Kevin Rock
Business Administration
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1206 S. Sixth Street, Room 350 Wohlers Hall
M/C 706
Champaign, IL 61820
USA

217-333-2097

k-rock@uiuc.edu

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Second Author :

Michael Pratt
Business Administration
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1206 S. Sixth Street, Room 415 Wohlers Hall
M/C 706
Champaign, IL 61820
USA

217-244-6023

mpratt@uiuc.edu

http://www.business.uiuc.edu/faculty/pratt.html


Third Author :

Greg Northcraft
Business Administration
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1206 S. Sixth Street, Room 470 Wohlers Hall
M/C 706
Champaign, IL 61820
USA

217-333-4519

northcra@uiuc.edu

http://www.business.uiuc.edu/faculty/northcra.html

 
 
Abstract :
 
The presence of faultlines (i.e., pre-existing subgroups in a team) may be particularly problematic in light of a critical challenge already facing virtual teams: fostering team identification. We focus on one particular type of subgroup pre-existing organizational memberships that may serve to splinter a virtual team. In this paper, we examine how subgroup identification strength, physically distributing subgroup members, and communication technology affect this challenge. Results suggest that for individuals who identify strongly with a subgroup, distributing subgroup members helps overcome barriers to team member identification; but when subgroup identification is weak, using a rich communication medium enhances team identification. Implications for managers and organizations are discussed.
 
 
Manuscript Received : 2004
Manuscript Published : 2004
 
 
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