Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Is a teleconference just as good as being there? This claim has been made, but is there research to substantiate it? A review of the literature indicates some basis for this claim. Research has identified some situations and tasks which seem to be able to be addressed just as effectively over the phone as face-to-face; however, there are other situations and tasks which are not as effective done over the phone. In addition to this ambiguity, none of the research attempts to determine how satisfied participants were in their use of teleconferencing in solving tasks. This research study is designed with two purposes in mind. The first is to determine if there is a significant difference in time between groups completing a problem-solving task via teleconference and groups working face-to-face. The second is to determine if there is a significant difference in the level of satisfaction between participants working via teleconference and those working face-to-face. The research involved ten groups working in each mode of communication. A problem-solving task using numbers and requiring all participants to share information was used. The first measurement was how long it took each group to complete the task. The second measurement involved completing a survey which addressed both group and individual satisfaction. T-tests were used to compare the results between groups. Results of this study showed that face-to-face groups completed the task over twice as quickly as groups working via teleconference. There was a significant difference between groups on this measure. On the measure of satisfaction, there was not a significant difference in the level of satisfaction of the participants between the two groups. Regardless of what research indicates, business will continue to use teleconferencing on an ever-increasing basis — especially as business becomes more global. Additional research may be needed to gather more detailed information on tasks which can be difficult to complete over the phone. There is also room for more research in the area of participant satisfaction. In this, as in past research, participants have nothing with which to compare their experience. It may be that after experiencing both modes, there may be significant differences in the level of satisfaction or in preference of one mode over the other.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Communication and the Faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences University of Nebraska at Omaha In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts. Copyright 1991, Robert C. Foster