A comparison of laboratory and field research in the study of electronic meeting systems

Alan R. Dennis, Jay F. Nunamaker, Douglas R. Vogel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


Research into the use of Electronic Meeting Systems (EMS) has rapidly increased over the past few years. However, EMS laboratory experiments have often drawn very different conclusions about the effects of EMS use than have EMS field studies-conclusions that at first appear inconsistent. By examining the differences in the design of prior EMS studies, we attempt to better understand the factors that affect the use of EMS technology. It is our contention that these differences in findings are not inconsistent, but rather they reflect different situations that researchers have studied. We identify 24 potentially important differences in organizational contexts, group characteristics, tasks, and EMS environments. In planning future research, EMS researchers need to make explicit design decisions for each of these aspects, and to consider how those choices may affect research results. An analysis of these differences suggests several approaches to enhance the design of future laboratory experiments and field studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-135
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Management Information Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990


  • Decision support systems
  • Electronic meeting systems
  • Research methodologies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Information Systems and Management


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