Creativity and Collaborative Technology Use in Virtual Teams - A Creative Synthesis Perspective

Project: Research

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Virtual teams have been increasingly employed by organizations [39][30] for their potential to generate creative ideas (i.e., team creativity), instrumental for organizations to survive and innovate in a competitive world [41]. Team creativity essentially entails that a team connects and synthesizes different elements of knowledge that the team members have [36]. Thus, the process that synthesizes multiple members’ contributing inputs [36] [41], which we refer to as convergence process in our study, is also critical for team creativity development. Unfortunately, we still lack a complete understanding of the nature of the corresponding convergence process in virtual teams [30] and how such convergence can be enhanced. Thus, the first aim of this research is to better understand the convergence processes for creativity development and how it affects team creativity in virtual teams.In distributed teams, members rely heavily or even exclusively on various collaboration technologies (CTs) to perform tasks [29]. Ideally, the CTs are supposed to address the aforementioned challenges, which has been the aim of CT designers [25][92]. Whether various CTs are indeed functional at addressing these challenges and thus beneficial in facilitating the convergence process is an important question to answer for both CT designers and users. However, while CTs have been extensively examined in the team literature [5][23][92], some with focus on creativity-related behaviors such as brainstorming [46] , we know little about how CTs can be used to improve the convergence process. Thus, the third research question is how CT can influence the convergence processes for team creativity development in workplace.To address these research questions, we first leverage the most recent theoretical development in team creativity research, namely the creative synthesis perspective [36], as the theoretical lens to understand the critical convergence process in virtual teams. Then, building on this perspective, we incorporate team knowledge diversity to examine how diversity will influence the relationships between creative synthesis and team creativity. Finally, we identify how CT use could affect the creative synthesis processes by consolidating the existing IS literature on CT.This research intends to contribute to the literature, particularly virtual team creativity, by extending the creative synthesis perspective to examine how creative synthesis affects team creativity in virtual teams under different levels of knowledge diversity. It also intends to contribute by examining how team collective use of collaboration technology features can influence the creative synthesis process underlying team creativity development.


Project number9042847
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/20 → …