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Exploring the Notion of Space in Virtual Collaborations: Finding Prerequisites for Success in Virtual Teams
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology.
2010 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Virtual Teams are becoming an increasingly common work form. The ability to connect people with required sets of skills, regardless of their location in the world has been enabled by advances in information technology over the past 20 years. However, as researchers and practitioners have discovered, this new kind of team brings with it number of challenges. This thesis aims to examine the challenges and the opportunities that technology brings to the environment of the Virtual Team and to give hands on advice to researchers and practitioners in the field. The authors have taken an interdisciplinary view on Virtual Teams and Collaborative Virtual Environments. The focus has been on the design of the virtual space as well as early team building activities that support team formation. An extensive literature review examines concepts such as the development of trust, team opacity and shared mental models in respect to the virtual team. In respect to technology, the authors have also looked into research on the transformation of virtual spaces into places, where meaningful activities can been carried out.

The authors recommend anyone considering to assemble a Virtual Team to look at the greater context of the team in respect to the people that will make up the team, the previous history of the team members, the timeline and lifespan of the team and a number of other variables. These recommendations are presented in the form of a framework for understanding the context of the Virtual Team, including its supporting technologies. In certain cases, the team may benefit from engaging in virtual team building activities. For these purposes, the authors have investigated technologies which support interaction in a 3D virtual space where the team member is represented by a virtual persona, an avatar.

The thesis presents an experimental platform, called Teamlink, for conducting virtual ice breaking and team building in a 3D environment, developed in increments at Auckland University of Technology over the past 8 years. Based on the theoretical findings from the review and on an evaluation of previous research conducted on Teamlink the authors give recommendations on future work on Teamlink as well as its suitability as a platform for virtual ice breaking.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010.
Series
UPTEC IT, ISSN 1401-5749 ; 10 001
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-113739OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-113739DiVA, id: diva2:291823
Presentation
(English)
Uppsok
Technology
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2010-02-03 Created: 2010-02-03 Last updated: 2010-02-03Bibliographically approved

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