Challenges in Virtual Collaboration. Videoconferencing, Audioconferencing, and Computer-Mediated Communications
RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CA
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This report was developed as part of a larger project on aids to high-level national-security decision making. It discusses the effects of the medium of collaboration face-to-face, videoconferencing, audio-conferencing, or computer-mediated conferencing on group processes and outcomes. Virtual collaborations are collaborations in which the people working together are interdependent in their tasks, share responsibility for outcomes, are geographically dispersed, and rely on mediated, rather than face-to-face, communication to produce an outcome, such as a shared understanding, evaluation, strategy, recommendation, decision action plan, or other product. This report summarizes the research literature on how the processes and outcomes of virtual collaborations are affected by the communication medium, discusses how problems in such collaboration can be mitigated, and suggests a strategy for choosing the most effective medium as a function of task and context. The focus is on interactive collaborations in real or near-real time.
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