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Effects of Geographic Distribution on Dominance Perceptions in Computer-Mediated Groups


This study examined how the geographic distribution of group members affected dominance perceptions in a field experiment involving 65 computer-mediated groups communicating over a 2-week period. Dominance perceptions were more extreme when group members did not share a geographic location (distributed groups) than when they did (collocated groups). Collocated groups showed greater convergence between self and partner dominance perceptions than distributed groups, suggesting more symmetrical perceptions. More symmetrical groups exhibited more attraction and cohesion than less symmetrical groups. These results lend some support to recent models of computer-mediated communication that take into consideration the social psychological processes involved in distributed work and run counter to studies suggesting status equalization in mediated group collaboration.

J. Pena
J.B. Walther
J.T. Hancock
Communication Research, 34, 313-331
Publication Date
June 1, 2007