Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 19 Number 4 2003 pp. 129-155

Because Time Matters: Temporal Coordination in Global Virtual Project Teams

Massey, Anne P, Montoya-Weiss, Mitzi M, and Yu-Ting, Hung

ABSTRACT: In this study, we explore the nature of team interaction and the role of temporal coordination asynchronously communicating global virtual project teams (GVPT). Drawing on Time, Interaction, and Performance (TIP) theory, we consider how and why virtual team behavior is temporally patterned in complex ways. We report on the results of an experiment consisting of 35 virtual project teams comprised of 175 members residing in the United States and Japan. Through content and cluster analysis, we identify distinct patterns of interaction and examine how these patterns are associated with differential levels of GVPT performance. We also explore the role of temporal coordination mechanisms as a means to synchronize temporal patterns in GVPTs. Our results suggest that successful enactment of temporal coordination mechanisms is associated with higher performance. However, we found that temporal coordination per se is not the driver of performance; rather, it is the influence of coordination on interaction behaviors that affects performance.

Key words and phrases: cluster analysis, computer-mediated communication (CMC), temporal coordination, virtual teams