Creativity: Research, Application, Theory
As communication technology capabilities have improved and the globalization of the workforce has resulted in distributed teams, organizations have been shifting towards virtual teams and virtual meetings over the last decade. This trend has been accelerated with current work-from-home orders due to COVID-19. Even though virtual collaboration has, in the past, been the focus of multiple studies, there are some surprising gaps in our knowledge. For instance, there are few empirical studies examining the impact of virtual devices and tools on creative problem-solving. While there is a substantial body of research on electronic brainstorming and the use of virtual tools for idea generation, less is known about earlier processes such as problem construction or later processes such as idea evaluation and idea selection. Furthermore, as a dynamic process, creativity and innovation is heavily influenced by the people engaged in the process and their collaborative environment, yet there is a gap in the literature regarding the type of virtual tools used in the process (i.e., audio + video vs. audio alone, or the use of file-sharing technologies). In this paper, we will review the current literature on virtual teams, virtual meetings, and creativity. We will then explore theoretical frameworks such as media richness theory that can help us understand how virtuality and virtual tools may influence team creativity across the dynamic range of the creative problem-solving process. Finally, given the limited research in the domain of virtual team creativity we provide questions to help guide future research. Research questions will help identify those areas where virtual teams may be beneficial for creativity and areas where virtual teams may be likely to perform less effectively on creative tasks.
Reiter-Palmon, R., Kramer, W., Allen, J. A., Murugavel, V. R., & Leone, S. A. (2021). Creativity in virtual teams: A review and agenda for future research. Creativity: Research, Application, Theory, 8, 165-188.
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