Virtual team collaboration: building shared meaning, resolving breakdowns and creating translucence

Bjørn, Pernille and Ngwenyama, Ojelanki 2009, Virtual team collaboration: building shared meaning, resolving breakdowns and creating translucence, Information systems journal, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 227-253, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2575.2007.00281.x.

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Title Virtual team collaboration: building shared meaning, resolving breakdowns and creating translucence
Author(s) Bjørn, Pernille
Ngwenyama, OjelankiORCID iD for Ngwenyama, Ojelanki
Journal name Information systems journal
Volume number 19
Issue number 3
Start page 227
End page 253
Total pages 27
Publisher Wiley
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2009-05
ISSN 1350-1917
Summary Managing international teams with geographically distributed participants is a complex task. The risk of communication breakdowns increases due to cultural and organizational differences grounded in the geographical distribution of the participants. Such breakdowns indicate general misunderstandings and a lack of shared meaning between participants. In this paper, we address the complexity of building shared meaning. We examine the communication breakdowns that occurred in two globally distributed virtual teams by providing an analytical distinction of the organizational context as the foundation for building shared meaning at three levels. Also we investigate communication breakdowns that can be attributed to differences in lifeworld structures, organizational structures, and work process structures within a virtual team. We find that all communication breakdowns are manifested and experienced by the participants at the work process level; however, resolving breakdowns may require critical reflection at other levels. Where previous research argues that face-to-face interaction is an important variable for virtual team performance, our empirical observations reveal that communication breakdowns related to a lack of shared meaning at the lifeworld level often becomes more salient when the participants are co-located than when geographically distributed. Last, we argue that creating translucence in communication structures is essential for building shared meanings at all three levels.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2575.2007.00281.x
Field of Research 080606 Global Information Systems
0806 Information Systems
1503 Business And Management
Socio Economic Objective 970110 Expanding Knowledge in Technology
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2008, Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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