Parallelism, anonymity, structure, and group size in electronic meetings.
AuthorDennis, Alan Robert.
AdvisorNunamaker, Jay F., Jr.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractAn Electronic Meeting System (EMS) is a computer-based environment that supports group meetings that may be dispersed in space and time. The focus of this dissertation is on EMS meeting rooms containing networked computer workstations that enable groups to meet face-to-face, with computer-supported electronic communication used to support or replace verbal communication. This electronic communication provides anonymity, the ability to work in parallel, and the ability to structure group interaction. This dissertation presents 10 laboratory and field studies using the University of Arizona GroupSystems EMS. The first experiment found 6- and 12-member EMS groups to be more satisfied and to generate more ideas of greater quality than similarly-sized verbally interacting groups. Experiments Two and Three found 9- and 12-member (respectively) EMS groups to be more satisfied and to generate more ideas than similarly-sized nominal groups (i.e., individuals working separately). Experiment Four found 18-member groups to generate more ideas than two 9-member groups, six 3-member groups or 18 individuals; and 12-member groups to generate more ideas than three 4-member groups or 12 individuals. The remaining three experiments examined the separate impacts of anonymity, parallelism, and structure. Parallelism and structure both had significant effects on performance; anonymity did not. The three field studies were conducted to help understand how organizational groups used this technology, and whether there was any evidence to support the theory developed and tested in the laboratory. The first studied 10 operations management groups, the second six small project teams, and the third organizations' use of EMS in the strategic management process. These field studies found EMS groups to perceive EMS support to improve effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction. These effects were stronger for larger groups and for groups that used more electronic communication relative to verbal communication. Parallelism, and to a lesser degree structure, where seen to be important. Anonymity was very important for groups with power and status differences, but had few effects for groups of peers or groups whose members worked together on a regular basis.
Degree ProgramBusiness Administration