Virtual Team Work

Group Decision Making in 3D Virtual Environments

Alexander P. Schouten*, Bart van den Hooff, Frans Feldberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

This study investigates how three-dimensional virtual environments (3DVEs) support shared understanding and group decision making. Based on media synchronicity theory, we pose that the shared environment and avatar-based interaction allowed by 3DVEs aid convergence processes in teams working on a decision-making task, leading to increased shared understanding between team members. This increases team performance. An experiment was conducted in which 70 teams of three participants had to decide on a spatial planning issue. The teams interacted using synchronous text-based chat, a 3D virtual decision room, or were present in the virtual environment (VE) mirroring the spatial planning task. Results revealed that in the virtual decision room and the VE, shared understanding was higher than in the text-based chat condition. This led to higher task performance in terms of consensus, satisfaction, and cohesion. Our results show that 3DVEs offer potential for team collaboration over more traditional text-based collaboration technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-210
Number of pages31
JournalCommunication Research
Volume43
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016

Keywords

  • virtual teams
  • 3D virtual environments
  • virtual worlds
  • computer-mediated communication
  • team collaboration and decision making
  • COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION
  • GROUP SUPPORT-SYSTEMS
  • SHARED MENTAL MODELS
  • BEHAVIORAL REALISM
  • SOCIAL PRESENCE
  • RICHNESS
  • WORLDS
  • REPRESENTATION
  • PERFORMANCE
  • COMPLEXITY

Cite this

Schouten, Alexander P. ; van den Hooff, Bart ; Feldberg, Frans. / Virtual Team Work : Group Decision Making in 3D Virtual Environments. In: Communication Research. 2016 ; Vol. 43, No. 2. pp. 180-210.
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title = "Virtual Team Work: Group Decision Making in 3D Virtual Environments",
abstract = "This study investigates how three-dimensional virtual environments (3DVEs) support shared understanding and group decision making. Based on media synchronicity theory, we pose that the shared environment and avatar-based interaction allowed by 3DVEs aid convergence processes in teams working on a decision-making task, leading to increased shared understanding between team members. This increases team performance. An experiment was conducted in which 70 teams of three participants had to decide on a spatial planning issue. The teams interacted using synchronous text-based chat, a 3D virtual decision room, or were present in the virtual environment (VE) mirroring the spatial planning task. Results revealed that in the virtual decision room and the VE, shared understanding was higher than in the text-based chat condition. This led to higher task performance in terms of consensus, satisfaction, and cohesion. Our results show that 3DVEs offer potential for team collaboration over more traditional text-based collaboration technologies.",
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author = "Schouten, {Alexander P.} and {van den Hooff}, Bart and Frans Feldberg",
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Virtual Team Work : Group Decision Making in 3D Virtual Environments. / Schouten, Alexander P.; van den Hooff, Bart; Feldberg, Frans.

In: Communication Research, Vol. 43, No. 2, 03.2016, p. 180-210.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AB - This study investigates how three-dimensional virtual environments (3DVEs) support shared understanding and group decision making. Based on media synchronicity theory, we pose that the shared environment and avatar-based interaction allowed by 3DVEs aid convergence processes in teams working on a decision-making task, leading to increased shared understanding between team members. This increases team performance. An experiment was conducted in which 70 teams of three participants had to decide on a spatial planning issue. The teams interacted using synchronous text-based chat, a 3D virtual decision room, or were present in the virtual environment (VE) mirroring the spatial planning task. Results revealed that in the virtual decision room and the VE, shared understanding was higher than in the text-based chat condition. This led to higher task performance in terms of consensus, satisfaction, and cohesion. Our results show that 3DVEs offer potential for team collaboration over more traditional text-based collaboration technologies.

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