The Interplay of Work Group Structures and Computer Support

by Tora K. Bikson, John D. Eveland

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When members of task groups communicate through computers instead of traditional means, much about the group could change: group structure, intensity of communication, interaction across physical barriers, and the work process. This Note probes these issues by reviewing a year-long field experiment among active workers and retirees planning a company's retirement policy. The study shows many effects of computer communication. Among other findings, the study shows that computer communication can help reduce barriers to social interaction in distributed work groups and can broaden leadership roles.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.