Title

Discretionary behaviors of information and communication technology (ICT) supported ad hoc task groups

Date of Award

2001

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Information Science and Technology

Advisor(s)

Robert L. Heckman

Keywords

Discretionary behaviors, Information and communication technology, Task groups, Media choice, Group collaboration

Subject Categories

Library and Information Science | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

This study seeks to describe the discretionary behavior of information and communication technology (ICT) supported ad hoc task groups. Two types of discretionary behaviors were investigated. These were communication media choice (MC) and discretionary collaborative behavior (DCB). Drawing upon frameworks from social information processing approach to media choice and organizational behavioral theories related to organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) and contextual performance, this research investigated: (1) groups' performance of communication MC and DCB over time; (2) the relationships between communication MC and DCB with outcomes and antecedents; and (3) the extent to which communication MC and DCB are related in the study's context. The conduct of this study followed a case study and multi-paradigm design approach. Data were gathered using both qualitative and quantitative approach from 23 student work groups (four-five students each) performing five business-oriented case study analyses throughout a semester course.

The study found that groups' choice making process of communication media use is subjective and complicated in nature. This process evolved over a period of time when the use of face-to-face (FTF) communication media for substantive group work purposes was substituted with the increasing use of ICT. A pattern of group communication emerged when each group was categorized into one of the three communication orientation categories: FTF, Mixed, and Virtual groups. Findings in this study further demonstrated that group communication MC was significantly related to several outcomes variables, cognitive factors and antecedent variables.

The study also provides insights into our understanding of DCB. Two dimensions of DCB emerged from the quantitative analyses. These were helping/civic virtue behavior and sportsmanship. The qualitative data also provide several other behavioral factors related to DCB. Some of these behaviors were related with communication MC.

This research extends our understanding of communication MC and DCB in a context not commonly investigated in the past. They expand theories of communication MC, ICT use in both organization and educational institutions, and behaviors similar to OCB. This study can be considered as a starting point that may initiate several future studies to focus on the specific areas of interest suggested in the findings.

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