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Group task performance and communication technology: a longitudinal study of computer-mediated vs face-to-face work groups


Small Group Research


Organisational Behaviour

Publishing details

Small Group Research 1993 Vol 24:3 p 307-333

Authors / Editors

Hollingshead A B;McGrath J E;O'Connor K M

Publication Year



This article explores the effectiveness of two theoretical models in predicting the effects of computer-mediated communication and task type on group task performance. The first model (task as moderator) predicts that the type of task on which the group is working moderates the effects of communication medium on task performance over time. The second model (change as moderator) predicts that cumulative experience and certain kinds of changes imposed on the group moderate these effects. The relationship between technology and task performance appeared to be more dependent on experience with the technology and with group membership than on the type of task on which the group was working. Results also suggested that the newness of the medium and not the newness of the group led to poorer task performance for computer groups in some weeks. Although there were no differences in performance between computer groups and face-to-face groups for generate and decision-making tasks,face-to-face groups performed better on negotiation and intellective tasks than did their computer-mediated counterparts. Results supported all of the predictions of the second model but only partially supported the first model. These findings have important implications for future research and practice.

Available on ECCH


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