Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Business Administration

Date of Defense

12-9-2014

Graduate Advisor

Dinesh Mirchandani, Ph.D.

Committee

Lederer, Albert

Rottman, Joseph

Joshi, Kailash

Abstract

With the increasing geographic dispersion of project teams and the evolution of collaboration technologies, organizations are increasingly facilitating synchronous and asynchronous collaboration amongst dispersed team members using information technologies. While the facilitating role of collaboration technologies to enhance the outcomes of project teams has been examined in prior research, little, as of yet, is known about the influence of a project team member’s task characteristics and extent of usage of collaboration technologies on that member’s project task outcomes. This study drew upon media richness theory to examine the impacts of a project team member’s task characteristics and extent of usage of collaboration technologies on that member’s task outcomes. It hypothesized that characteristics of a team member’s project-related task such as uncertainty, equivocality, interdependence, and differentiation influenced the member’s perceptions of task outcomes such as knowledge sharing, satisfaction, and productivity. These outcome perceptions were moderated by usage of collaboration technologies and this moderation effect was stronger for synchronous technologies as compared to asynchronous technologies. To test the hypotheses, a survey questionnaire was used to collect data from project team members of multiple organizations. The analysis of the data revealed that task uncertainty, equivocality, interdependence, and differentiation significantly influenced task knowledge sharing, satisfaction, and productivity and these task outcomes were positively moderated by usage of collaboration technologies. However, contrary to expectation, this moderation effect was stronger for asynchronous technologies as compared to synchronous technologies. Task knowledge sharing, satisfaction, and productivity were improved when using asynchronous technologies with equivocal tasks. Task productivity was improved when using asynchronous technologies with interdependent tasks. On the other hand, synchronous technologies did not significantly improve task knowledge sharing, satisfaction, or productivity. These results partially support media richness theory and indicate that project team members do not always choose the mode of communication based on matching task characteristics and outcomes to the medium. This dissertation contributes to extant literature by extending media richness theory to the context of usage of collaboration technologies by project teams and discusses several implications for research and practice.

Included in

Business Commons

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