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  1. 1. Srikar Madhira, Sairam Vakkalanka / International Journal of Engineering Research and Applications (IJERA) ISSN: 2248-9622 www.ijera.com Vol. 2, Issue 5, September- October 2012, pp.1428-1431 Can Computer Mediated communication be effective in globally distributed projects Srikar Madhira*, Sairam Vakkalanka** *(School of Computing, Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, Karlskrona, Sweden-37179) ** (School of Computing, Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, Karlskrona, Sweden-37179)ABSTRACT In distributed projects, proper say two, depending upon the size or the nature of thecommunication and co ordination between teams allocated project [9]. So, in simple words, virtualalways plays a major role in the success of a teams is a group of members present at differentproject. In this global setting, teams can interact locations, who try to communicate with each otherwith each other, either by FTF (Face to Face) and try to work on a project. Virtual teams are alsointeraction or CMC (Computer Mediated known as Distributed teams or geographicallyCommunication). This paper focuses on the dispersed teams [9]. Refer figure1 for teamprocess of computer-mediated communication structures and communication paradigms whichdiscussing its pros and cons. exits in that particular type of team.Keywords - FTF (Face to Face), CMC(Computer Mediated Communication), virtualteams, global software engineering, distributedprojects.I. INTRODUCTION In the recent years, global projects havebecome a day to day term in the software industry.Due to the latest technological updates,globalization is easily achieved and implemented.Conventional teams are replaced by the virtualteams, which allow the organization to process morenumber of dynamic projects simultaneously [7].This results in the application of more number ofhuman resources into the projects. As the Figure1. Team structure and communicationorganizations perform this kind of task distribution paradigmsoperations globally, virtual teams need to interactwith each other using different communication Communication between the virtual teamstechniques [3]. As these teams can be diversified, in is essential for the success of a project. The basicterms of location, there is a problem that FTF motives like co-ordination and trust can only becommunication is not possible. This calls in for an achieved if there is a proper communicationalternative means of communication. In the present happening between the teams. Failure in achievingmodern era, internet is a widely used tool for so would result in loss of trust among the teams,communication and hence, CMC is used as a tool reduction of co-ordination, and ultimately wouldfor communication across virtual teams. We first try result in the failure of the project. Since there isto define and look at the concept of virtual teams, geographical disparity between the teams, it is notthe need for effective communication between the possible to have a face to face interaction betweenteams, and then we try to focus on the CMC and its the teams. This calls in the need for CMC among theeffectiveness. teams. The concept of CMC is discussed in the next section.II. VIRTUAL TEAMS The concept of virtual teams is defined as III. COMPUTER MEDIATEDfollows. Virtual teams refer to the capability of COMMUNICATIONemployees at different locations developing a “The communication that occurs throughproject, to communicate with each other and share computer-mediated technologies (i.e., Email,their work [1]. These teams may be very short in Audio/Video Conference etc.) is called Computerduration, from hours, to very long say weeks, Mediated Communication (CMC) [9]. In othermonths and years [9]. The teams may also be very words, CMC can also be defined as a system whichlarge in numbers more than hundred to very small, 1428 | P a g e
  2. 2. Srikar Madhira, Sairam Vakkalanka / International Journal of Engineering Research and Applications (IJERA) ISSN: 2248-9622 www.ijera.com Vol. 2, Issue 5, September- October 2012, pp.1428-1431is used to intensify the capability of the employees IV. CMC EFFECTIVENESSto communicate effectively through internet [11]. In Now a days, the trend of global projectsgeneral words, CMC refers to the mode of and co-located projects are practiced instead ofcommunication that is possible through internet. traditional projects and teams. This is mainly due toThere are some common traits for CMC. They are the benefits that could be achieved through globalization [5]. So, for achieving the requisites1) “Distant less: Since the infrastructures of communication, co-ordination and control, and tointernet were constructed all around world, minimize the effects of geographical distance, wetheoretically every person could use internet to use the CMC for effective communication. CMC iscommunicate with others regardless of where he is.” the only solution for effective communication across[10] different locations. The different forms of CMC are E-mail, E-chat and text-messaging, video and audio2) “Transparency: Internet is an open platform for conferences etc. CMC is divided into synchronouseverybody, and the message on internet was coded communication and asynchronous communicationin standardized forms such as text, graphics and where text messaging is an example foranimations. So basically every person has the ability asynchronous and E-mail is an example forto receive all messages from internet, unless the synchronous communication [9].message was ciphered.” [10] Factors Which Influence CMC:3) “Non-synchronization: Traditional media have Now, we come to the section where wethe trait of synchronization, which means the discuss about the effectiveness of the Computer-message would be lost when the media content was mediated communication. Since the teams areexpired. The message on TV or broadcasting could distributed globally across different locations, trustjust be kept for a few seconds, and even newspaper and cohesion are the important aspects for thecould survive a few days. But CMC is different, the effective development of a global project. Withoutmessage on internet could be stored and retrieved these aspects, the teams cannot function properly.multiple times, and be saved for years. This trait When we consider the individual aspects, we canmakes users easy to get message regardless of the assess the effectiveness of CMC.time and space limits.” [10] TRUST4) “Interactivity: Most traditional medias lack of Trust relates to the relation between humanfeedback, the one-way communication style let just and human [6]. So in this regard, Face to Facea few people could fully utilize the communication interaction is more effective than CMC in buildingmedia. But CMC has a much more abundant trust. “Social presence theory states that CMC lacksfeedback ways, like email, forum, bulletin board the ability to share socio-emotional information andsystem, and blog. These feedback mechanisms let cues needed to develop trust, warmth and othereverybody has same opportunity to use internet.” interpersonal affections, which individuals use to[10] build trust” [2]. But since we mentioned that Face to Face communication increases the costs and reduces In the present context, Computer Mediated time wastage, and also, with the help of tools likeCommunication is the only way through which video and audio conferencing, we can also enable aglobally distributed teams, located at different virtual face to face environment between the teams.geographical areas can communicate with each Hence, CMC is effective in building trust.other. Generally, we can also consider FTFcommunication. But since, it is not the case of COHESIONtraditional teams and virtual teams are spatially Cohesiveness is also a quality which isseparated in terms of distance, FTF meetings are not important in global projects. Interaction between theadvisable as they result in waste of time and also teams is highly essential for the effective cohesionincrease the cost. For example, if a global project is between the teams. Without proper and directcarried out at the sites Sweden and India, if at all a communication, the teams tend to lose the cohesionproblem should arise at the Sweden site, the and co-ordination factor. CMC enables the teams topersonal from India cannot always travel to Sweden. collaborate and communicate with each other.This results in some time wastage and also the travel Instant messaging and also, offline messaging toolscosts account to increase in expenditure. Instead of are present in CMC which help the teams to have athat, the Indian personal can communicate with the continuous track of the work done by other teams. ASwedish personal via CMC, which not only saves research works on this topic also describes thattime, but also can reduce the costs considerably. cohesiveness is achieved at the highest priorityCMC can be used to overcome the time and distance between the employees communicating throughdifferences [4]. The effectiveness of a CMC is video-conference [9][12].discussed in the next section. 1429 | P a g e
  3. 3. Srikar Madhira, Sairam Vakkalanka / International Journal of Engineering Research and Applications (IJERA) ISSN: 2248-9622 www.ijera.com Vol. 2, Issue 5, September- October 2012, pp.1428-1431TASK COMMITMENT communication are motivated enough to cope up Apart from these factors, there are with the task.components like task commitment which are alsoincreased and are at their highest when the VI. CONCLUSIONcommunication is done through video-conferencing Globally distributed projects have becomewhich is a part of CMC [9]. CMC also increases the a trend in the modern day world. Since all theeffective outcomes of virtual teams by enabling organizations strive to internationalize theirteams to collaborate in order to resolve defects [8]. company and to globalize their product, it is a pre-Since, the basic factors of software development on requisite for them to allocate globally distributedglobal projects like trust, cohesion and task projects. We have presented a discussion on one ofcommitment are realized in CMC, we can assume the widely chosen communication paradigms,that it is effective. But this can only be possible if Computer mediated communication (CMC)the team is cohesive. Without the cohesion factor, reporting a complete analysis with advantages andthere cannot be any advantage in the teams shortcomings of its usage in the global scenario.communicating with each other. So CMC will beleast effective in such a case. And also, the basic VII. REFERENCESidea which was considered is that Face to Face [1] A. M. Townsend, S. M. DeMarie and A. R.communication would result in increased costs and Hendrickson, “Virtual teams: technologytime wastage in the cases of globally distributed and the workplace of the future.” Academyteams. So taking this factor into consideration, CMC of Management Executive 12, 17-29is effective in this regard. 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For example, if the sites Journal of Management 27, 235-254are in Sweden and Poland, the employees can (2001).directly participate in a meeting because the distance [5] E.Ó Conchúir , H. Holmström, P.J.is less and that would be very much effective. But if Agerfalk, B. Fitzgerald, “Exploring thethe sites are at Sweden and India, face to face Assumed Benefits of Global Softwaremeetings would result in wastage of time and Developmentz.”, Proceedings of IEEEincrease in expenditure. In such a case, CMC would ICGSE06be the best alternative for effective communication. [6] J. K. Rempel., J. G. Homes, and M. P.The introduction of CMC was one of the main Zanna, "Trust in close relationships".reasons that distributed teams took over the Journal of Personality and Socialtraditional teams and hence, globalization has Psychology, vol 49, 1985, pp. 95-112.become a common verse in the recent days. Though [7] Linda M. L. 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Also, CMC depends on various factors like global virtual teams.”, Academy ofeffective tools for video and audio conferencing, Management Journal 44, 1251-1262internet connection of the required standard, (2001).personal who can handle the tools effectively and so [9] N. Ehsan, E. Mirza, and M. Ahmad,on. So, CMC is an effective tool for distributed “Impact of computer-mediatedprojects provided that, the geographical distance is communication on virtual teams’large and the teams participating in this type of performance: An empirical study,” in 1430 | P a g e
  4. 4. Srikar Madhira, Sairam Vakkalanka / International Journal of Engineering Research and Applications (IJERA) ISSN: 2248-9622 www.ijera.com Vol. 2, Issue 5, September- October 2012, pp.1428-1431 Information Technology, 2008. ITSim 2008. International Symposium on, 2008, vol. 3, pp. 1–8.[10] Wu X. M.,” Research of the Means of Computer Mediated Communication.” , Taipei, Taiwan: Research Center of Internet Communication, National Cheng Chi University, 2001[11] Wu Z.Q., “Computer Mediated Communication: From Media Selection to Human Relations,Proceedings of 1996 Conference of Communication Ecology.”, Taipei, Taiwan: National Chung Cheng University, 1996[12] V. Sairam, E. Ranjith , “Influence of team familiarity on team performance in distributed teams”, International Journal of Modern Engineering Research (IJMER), Vol.2, Issue.4, July-Aug, pp-2549-2551, ISSN: 2249-6645,2012 1431 | P a g e