University of North Carolina at Charlotte

To study the relationship between different forms of virtual presence on group entitativity in scientific collaborations

  • Amount $557,835
  • City Charlotte, United States
  • Investigator Anita Blanchard
  • Initiative Virtual Collaboration initiative
  • Year 2023
  • Program Technology
  • Sub-program Exploratory Grantmaking in Technology

Though there has been an explosive rise in remote work arrangements since the Covid-19 pandemic, there is surprisingly little research on remote teamwork and its impact on creativity, productivity, and worker satisfaction. Meetings are a central feature of such teamwork. As researchers Anita Blanchard and Joseph Allen wrote in a 2022 article, 'Successful meetings lead to productive workgroups but we do not know why or how.' They argue that group identity, or 'entitativity,' can be strengthened through formal meetings alongside informal interactions over lunch or in the hallway. 'Meetings serve as the primary formal occasion in which workgroup entitativity can be maintained or repaired for optimal workgroup performance.' This grant supports an ambitious research project by Blanchard and Allen to empirically assess the degree to which (and which features of) virtual meetings produce stronger group entitativity and to test a hypothesis about whether other mechanisms for informal team awareness might improve the entitativity of virtual, distributed teams. For the latter, they will test whether adoption of, a 2-D virtual workspace where one can engage in informal video chats with remote collaborators, increases entitativity, and then quantify its impact on measures of collaboration success. Their findings promise to advance our knowledge of team science and could inform the design of new systems for virtual team collaboration.

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