Are Virtual Teams More Just? An Investigation of How Reducing Social Categorization Can Increase Female Participation in Male-Dominated Teams.
Triana, Mary C.
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Organizations use work teams to solve complex problems in innovative ways. As such, an abundance of diverse ideas, suggestions, and information should help organizations generate quality products and remain competitive. Yet, there is research which shows that women do not participate as much as men in face-to-face team interactions. Women often get fewer speaking turns than men, they speak for shorter lengths of time, and they are interrupted more often than men. As a result, women?s ideas may often be overlooked in work settings. This is problematic, because women make up 46 percent of the United States workforce, and not being active participants in meetings could results in underutilization of roughly half of the firm?s human capital. This study investigated whether the order of face-to-face and virtual communication used by virtual teams could be used as one means of increasing inclusion and participation of women in male-dominated teams. Results from 82 teams confirmed that women felt more included in the team when they communicated virtually first and then face-to-face as opposed to face-to-face first and then virtually. Findings supported a four-stage model where the medium of communication influences feelings of inclusion which influences participation (both self-reported and objective). Participation, in turn, influences perceptions of interpersonal justice, satisfaction with the team, and ratings received from team members. An objective measure of participation and team performance ratings from five independent raters also show that the more equally team members participate and the higher the team?s total communication volume, in both total speaking turns and words spoken, the higher the team?s ratings and the more creative the team?s output was judged to be.