Teams and technology Interactions over time

Gerardine DeSanctis, Marshall Scott Poole, Gary W. Dickson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In a longitudinal field study we tested several hypotheses of adaptive structuration theory, which predicts the impacts of advanced information technologies on work teams. We observed 47 technical and administrative work teams in a large, multinational energy company. The teams varied in their structural properties-team size and geographical dispersion-and in their degree of interaction with one another. We tracked the extent to which the teams used advanced information technologies, and we assessed the impacts of technology use practices on teams' views of the quality of their coordination and their overall group effectiveness. The teams in our study had access to a range of traditional and advanced technologies, and we observed the impacts of team structural properties on technology use practices and outcomes across a three-year period. Use practices varied between the two types of teams. We found that, early on introduction of technology, team size, geographic dispersion, and meeting frequency predicted advanced technology use by administrative teams. Larger administrative teams reported more comfort with technology use, and they were more likely to use the technology to dominate one another rather than to collaborate. These effects diminished over time, however, and the influence of team structure and interaction patterns on advanced technology use were not clearcut. Use practices, which we label "appropriation," impacted perceptions of coordination quality, especially in the case of technical teams. The most consistent pattern was that use of technology to dominate rather than to collaborate was negatively related to outcomes. Surprisingly, teams with relatively high use of advanced technologies grew in their use of the technology for domination purposes over the course of our study. Our findings suggest the need for more in-depth study of technology use practices in teams over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationResearch on Managing Groups and Teams
PublisherJAI Press
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)0762306629, 9780762306626
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameResearch on Managing Groups and Teams
ISSN (Print)1534-0856

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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