|dc.description.abstract||Technological advances have an ever-increasing impact on society. Globalization and the changing structures of organizations have created virtual work groups that are distributed across space and time. Collaboration among workers is vital to ongoing organizational activities and project-based activities. Not only do global companies increasingly rely on virtual teams to conduct short- and long-term projects, but supply-chain planning and collaborative decision making rely heavily on collaborative commerce. Internet collaboration technologies have changed the work environment and there is more competition in the international marketplace. However, Internet-based collaboration is still in its infancy. The 2003 SARS epidemic also underscores why it is important for companies to seek a non face-to-face communication channel and environment.
Most past research results did not find significant evidence to conclude the effectiveness of virtual teams. In addition, most research was conducted in a traditional face-to-face meeting environment. However, a Web-based collaborative tool lets virtual teams work anytime and anywhere. There were also conflicts or contradiction of research results from past research. The performance of virtual teams was rarely seen to be better than that of traditional face-to-face groups. A recent study on virtual teamwork revealed satisfactory results on virtual team performance in terms of creativity. Based on these aforementioned reasons, we used the same Web-based collaborative tool, TeamSpirit, to simulate the virtual environments for virtual teams to work on a decision-making task. Our study identified and explored the relationship between communication mode and team performance, the relationship between communication style and team interaction, the relationship between team interaction and team performance, and the effect of team interaction on the relationship between communication mode and team performance.
Research results revealed that communication style is positively related to the team interaction, team interaction is partially positively related to team performance, and there is no significant evidence to conclude the mediation effect of team interaction on the relationship between communication style and team performance. Yet, results showed that, in certain circumstances, the performance and outcome satisfaction of virtual teams were better than that of traditional face-to-face teams. This indicated that use of an appropriate collaboration tool and proper support for the group process might have a positive influence on virtual team performance, making it at least the same as that of face-to-face teams. The outcome satisfaction of virtual team members could also be increased. These findings can be applied to real cases so that companies can overcome the problems or limits caused by time and location, allowing them to compete in the international marketplace and cope with environmental difficulties.
In terms of academic contribution, we concluded that the performance, process satisfaction, and outcome satisfaction of virtual teams could be as good as those of traditional face-to-face teams as long as there was an appropriate Web-based collaboration tool and proper support for the group process. This finding can be applied to real cases with different types of assigned tasks and further studies can focus on exploring relationships among various variables in the team effectiveness model. In terms of managerial contribution, we concluded that the introduction of virtual teams, virtual teamwork, and the Web-based collaboration tool would be of paramount importance in the evolution from electronic commerce to collaborative commerce. In terms of technical contribution, we concluded that the application of ideas or concepts from other disciplines could lead to more satisfactory research results since, in our study, we embedded the CPS (creative problem solving) technique into the development of the collaboration tool used in our research. Feedback from meeting participants and observations made during the experimental process can contribute to the development of new features for the collaboration tool, such as ink-input.||en_US|