Emergent Roles in Computer-Mediated Synchronous Virtual Groups

AbstractUnderstanding how the emergence of roles affects virtual group outcomes is important for organizations that increasingly use virtual work for decision-making and other tasks. Using role theory and speech act theory, this paper describes two studies conducted to understand the emergence of communication roles and their impacts on virtual group dynamics. Study 1 explores the emergence of roles in computer-mediated decision-making groups, using chat transcripts from a lab experiment. Study 2 further explores and validates the emergence of these roles, using a text mining technique to automate speech act analysis, and tests how these roles affect group perceptions of trust, communication, and performance. The paper concludes with a discussion of implications for practice and future research on the effects of emerging roles and their interactions.

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