Face-to-face and computer-mediated communication: What does theory tell us and what have we learned so far?

  • Rhoads M
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Information and communication technologies (ICT) have not had the predicted effect of substantially altering work and work-based travel patterns. Some researchers argue that one of the reasons may be the inability of ICT to effectively replicate characteristics of face-to-face communication. To examine the differences between computer-mediated and face-to-face communication, this article explores theories of face-to-face communication and synthesizes lessons from studies of virtual and face-to-face teams and groups. Findings on the comparative production outcomes and performance of virtual versus face-to-face teams are mixed, suggesting that it is not clear whether face-to-face communication is necessarily superior to computer-mediated communication for many collaborative processes. Planning can gain from a better understanding of the advantages and limitations of computer-mediated communication so that it may more effectively implement virtual strategies.

Author-supplied keywords

  • communication in planning
  • telecommuting
  • teleconferencing
  • telework
  • virtual planning
  • virtual teams

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  • Mohja Rhoads

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