Conversational Coherence in Instant Messaging and Getting Work Done

11 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2006

See all articles by Stephanie Woerner

Stephanie Woerner

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Center for Information Systems Research (CISR)

JoAnne Yates

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Wanda J. Orlikowski

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Date Written: November 2006

Abstract

This paper explores the critical role conversational coherence plays in facilitating the ongoing, distributed work of one virtual team as they engage in instant messaging (IM) conversations to communicate, coordinate, and collaborate. In studying the IM conversations of team members over the course of a month, a number of challenges to coherence emerged as they communicated with each other and worked together. These challenges include two previously identified challenges - lack of simultaneous feedback, and disrupted turn adjacency - and two additional challenges: multi-tasking, and authority. We describe the team's responses to these challenges and conclude by discussing implications for research.

Keywords: conversational coherence, instant messaging, IM, virtual team

Suggested Citation

Woerner, Stephanie and Yates, JoAnne and Orlikowski, Wanda J., Conversational Coherence in Instant Messaging and Getting Work Done (November 2006). MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 4630-06, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=952040 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.952040

Stephanie Woerner (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Center for Information Systems Research (CISR) ( email )

Sloan School of Management
5 Cambridge Center, NE25-770
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-452-3222 (Phone)
617-253-4424 (Fax)

JoAnne Yates

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

MIT E52-544
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-7157 (Phone)
617-253-2660 (Fax)

Wanda J. Orlikowski

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

E53-329
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-0443 (Phone)
617-258-7579 (Fax)

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