UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA
Organizations are restructuring into collaborative systems in order to address complex problems by combining expertise distributed across business functions, knowledge specialties, and geographic locations. Often times these systems face complex and multifaceted goals requiring distinct teams to coordinate their efforts and compile crucial information distributed across a network of teams (i.e., multiteam system). This project will render an understanding of the requisite motivational, cognitive, affective, and behavioral dynamics that enable virtual organizations to function effectively.
This research tests components of a theoretically-based model of virtual organizational effectiveness grounded in multiteam systems theory and network theory. Methods include meta-analytic integration, field research on emergency response systems, and laboratory experimentation. Meta-analysis will be used to identify core principles linking virtuality features (e.g, synchronicity) and structural characteristics (e.g, nature of distribution) to essential behavioral (e.g., information sharing), motivational (e.g, efficacy), affective (e.g, cross-team trust), and cognitive (e.g, transactive memory) dynamics. Field methods will be used to examine the most pressing practical problems, and their relation to network features, in multiagency coordination structures operating in highly complex virtual settings. Laboratory experimentation will evaluate standardization of communication norms and pre-disaster network formation in enabling the coherent functioning of virtual organizations.
Findings from this multidisciplinary, multimethod investigation will contribute insights to the literatures on virtual teams and multiteam systems (e.g., intra-organizational and interorganizational level). These findings will ultimately improve the functioning of a variety of virtual organizations operating in emergency response and recovery, military, and academic research. In particular, this knowledge will inform needed alterations to the design, leadership, training, policy, and feedback systems in such organizations.