Relational Development in Computer-Supported Groups
This study examines how group attitudes and outcomes evolve over time with repeated use of a group support system. Social Information Processing (SIP) theory, which suggests that relational intimacy may take longer to develop in computer-supported groups, was used as the basis for testing a temporally bounded model of group behavior. The basic argument underlying this model is that computer-supported groups, given adequate time, will exchange enough social information to develop strong relational links. Thus, while computer support was expected to limit group interactions initially, the model predicted that, over a period of time, such constraints would dissipate. The results show evidence of such shifts among computer-supported groups. Attitudes of GSS users changed over time from highly negative to somewhat positive; outcomes improved more slowly. The turnaround in attitudes of users, toward each other and the interaction process, support the SIP perspective that repeated use of computer support -- despite some inherent initial restrictions -- can help groups affiliate.
|Keywords||Group support systems, social information processing, media richness, affiliation motive in groups, relational development|