Training effective virtual teams: Presence, identity, communication openness, and conversational interactivity.

Lynnette G. Leonard, Jeffrey Stephen Smith, Lesley Anne Withers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A recent survey of professional communication practitioners (Blythe, Lauer, & Curran, 2014) shows the broad range of technologies they use to collaborate across an equally broad range of topics and communication purposes. Responses to the survey also demonstrate that effective collaboration requires more than versatility in the use of technology. Collaboration requires communication openness and conversational interactivity among work team members. Geographically-distributed virtual teams often find this openness and interactivity difficult to achieve (Jarvenpas, Shaw, & Staples, 2004). Several computer-mediated communication theories suggest the influences of social presence and online identity on team openness and interactivity. The study reported here draws on the insights of these theories to analyze the focus group responses of 200 participants who completed a virtual-team training program. The analysis shows a complex relationship of presence and identity to communication openness and conversational interactivity. A discussion of responses adds to an understanding of the types of training methods that best prepare participants to communicate in geographically-dispersed professional communication teams.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-46
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2015


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