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July 1, 2022

Messy Work in Virtual Worlds: Exploring Discovery and Synthesis in Virtual Teams

Dossick, Carrie Sturts(1). (2014). Messy Work in Virtual Worlds: Exploring Discovery and Synthesis in Virtual Teams. Lecture Notes In Computer Science (including Subseries Lecture Notes In Artificial Intelligence And Lecture Notes In Bioinformatics), 8683, 134 – 142.

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The challenges of engineering team collaboration—establishing trust, fostering productive informal communication, cultivating knowledge exchange—are often exacerbated in virtual teams by geographical separation as well as team members’ cultural and linguistic differences. Researchers have observed that powerful collaboration in collocated teams is supported by shared visualizations with which the team engages in informal, flexible and active ways. In studying virtual team interactions in a virtual world known as the CyberGRID, we see that just as with AEC collocated teams, shared visualizations were instrumental for the teams as they define, understand, and generate knowledge when working on interrelated tasks. Emerging from this analysis is an empirically supported theory that while avatar-model interaction supports mutual discovery, more messy interactions of brainstorming, knowledge exchange and synthesis requires flexible, active, and informal shared visualizations. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014.


Communication; Flow Visualization; Information Technology; Knowledge Management; Visualization; Building Information Model; Bim; Collaboration; Geographical Separation; Global Virtual Teams; Informal Communication; Linguistic Differences; Virtual Team Interactions; Virtual Worlds