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Computer-mediated communication, communication apprehension, anxiety, virtual teams, longitudinal, performance, evaluation, Media Synchronicity Theory (MST), CMC anxiety
Research has identified a unique individual characteristic that influences behavior in a computer-mediated communication (CMC) environment, CMC anxiety. While prior work demonstrates CMC anxiety’s impact on CMC use, it does not specifically address how CMC anxiety impacts use and interaction behaviors. Further, prior work has not explored the impact of CMC anxiety on use and performance over time. To address these issues, we surveyed and observed the interactions of 22 virtual project teams (consisting of 110 individuals) over a span of four months. The results indicate that individuals high in CMC anxiety have lower quantity and quality of participation, demonstrated by their sending fewer total messages and task-oriented messages in particular. In addition, they contribute to team performance less by providing fewer novel ideas. To compensate, we find that CMC anxious individuals do send relatively more socially oriented messages. Ultimately, CMC anxious individuals are rated by their team members as performing worse than their less anxious counterparts. Additionally, participation quality and quantity and perceptions of performance by CMC anxious team members do not significantly improve, even with repeated interactions over CMC.
IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication
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