The structuration of task-oriented communication in innovative virtual teams

Yi Da Chen, Susan A. Brown

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


With advanced communication technologies, business managers can globally recruit talented members to form virtual teams and collaborate on innovative projects. While virtual teams enjoy superiority in their composition of talents, they also face more collaborative issues resulting from the diversity of members' backgrounds and the limitations of communication technologies. These issues include task conflict, coordination delays, and reduced consensus in group discussions. Formal task interventions, such as imposed temporal coordination mechanisms, have been suggested to mitigate the severity of these collaborative issues in virtual teams. In this study, we aim to investigate the underlying mechanisms through which task interventions compensate the limitations of communication technologies and facilitate the exchange of individuals' perspectives. By adopting the lens of structuration theory and focusing on task-oriented communication, we identify three patterns of taskoriented communication that are essential to the function of innovative virtual teams - the degree to which task-related issues are explored, the level of concern raising or attention switches, and the level of convergence on a common task view - as well as the structural properties of the team-task environment that influence the development of task-oriented communication. We hypothesize that task interventions establish or modify these structural properties of the team-task environment, which in turn shape virtual teams' communication patterns. This study can provide a better understanding of how virtual teams learn to coordinate their task work more effectively by initiating task interventions. The insights gained in this study can suggest the management support that an organization can offer to facilitate the communication of its virtual teams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2012
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2012
EventInternational Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2012 - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: Dec 16 2012Dec 19 2012

Publication series

NameInternational Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2012


OtherInternational Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOrlando, FL


  • Structuration theory
  • Task intervention
  • Task-oriented communication
  • Team-task environment
  • Virtual team

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Library and Information Sciences


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