Exploring effectiveness of team communication: Balancing synchronous and asynchronous communication in design teams

A.F.H.J. Otter, den, S. Emmitt

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    44 Citations (Scopus)
    771 Downloads (Pure)


    Purpose – Effective teams use a balance of synchronous and asynchronous communication. Team communication is dependent on the communication acts of team members and the ability of managers to facilitate, stimulate and motivate them. Team members from organizations using different information systems tend to have different understanding, opinions, and rates of adoption and skills levels regarding specific IT tools. The purpose of this paper is to explore the effective use of tools for communication in design teams and the strategies for the use of specific tools. Design/methodology/approach – A review of the potential effectiveness of synchronous and asynchronous communication means and tools for team communication leads to a review of research conducted into the use of two relatively new electronic tools for team communication by design teams in The Netherlands. Findings – The research results revealed that a collective framework for team communication and collaboration using electronic tools was missing. There was also evidence of a lack of understanding by the users of the proper use of the tools, a lack of training, poor management competences to stimulate proper use. There was also evidence that the rivalry of tools tended to hinder, rather than improve, effectiveness of team communication. Research limitations/implications – The findings are limited to the cases investigated; however, they tend to support earlier findings into construction team communication. There is a need for a better collective understanding of team communication, which should be supported with training to develop appropriate skills, both for the use of new technologies and for the use of team rules. Originality/value – The results provide information and advice for design and project managers concerned with improving communications in design and construction projects.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)408-419
    JournalEngineering, Construction and Architectural Management
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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