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The Interactive Influences Of Conflict, Task Interdependence And Cooperation On Perceptions Of Virtualness In Co-located Teams

Eric Stark, Paul Bierly†, Steven R. Harper

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Purpose – This paper aims to explore the interactive influence of conflict, task interdependence and cooperation on individual perceptions of team virtualness levels. The study attempts to provide additional insight regarding how or why virtual structures might develop in teams with co-located team members. Design/methodology/approach – Data were collected from 355 upper-level business students assigned to the same team in four class integrated business courses. Moderated hierarchical regression was utilized in examining the moderating role of cooperation with conflict and task interdependence in predicting virtualness. Findings – Cooperation positively moderates the relationships between relationship conflict and perceived virtualness and between perceived task interdependence and perceived virtualness. In addition, conditional support exists for a cooperation and process conflict interaction in predicting virtualness. Originality/value – Many teams are mandated to be virtual either by management direction, task and resource requirements or by necessity due to being geographically dispersed. However, additional factors may influence the level of virtualness in teams with co-located members. This study provides preliminary evidence that an individual’s experiences in teams influences the individual’s views regarding the virtual structure of his or her team.