The Spatial, Temporal, and Configurational Characteristics of Geographic Dispersion in Teams

MIS Quarterly, Vol. 31, No. 3, pp. 433-452, September 2007

51 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2011

See all articles by Michael Boyer O'Leary

Michael Boyer O'Leary

Georgetown University - Department of Management

Jonathon N. Cummings

Duke University; Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Date Written: 2007

Abstract

As organizations operate across greater distances, scholars are increasingly interested in the work of geographically dispersed teams and the technologies that they use to communicate and coordinate their work. However, research has generally not specified the dimensions (spatial, temporal, and configurational) and degrees of team dispersion, nor has it articulated the theoretical connections between those dimensions and important team outcomes. Our Research Essay expands upon previous field and lab studies of dispersed teamwork by presenting a new conceptualization of dispersion as a continuous, multi-dimensional construct, in which each dimension is theoretically linked with different outcomes. We illustrate this new conceptualization with a series of examples from real dispersed teams and present implications for research regarding technology use.

Keywords: geographically dispersed teams, virtual teams, dispersion, distance, configuration, technology use

Suggested Citation

O'Leary, Michael Boyer and Cummings, Jonathon N., The Spatial, Temporal, and Configurational Characteristics of Geographic Dispersion in Teams (2007). MIS Quarterly, Vol. 31, No. 3, pp. 433-452, September 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1739905

Michael Boyer O'Leary (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - Department of Management ( email )

3700 O Street, NW
Washington, NY 20057
United States
202-687-9257 (Phone)

Jonathon N. Cummings

Duke University ( email )

100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

215 Morris St., Suite 300
Durham, NC 27701
United States

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