With all the research and effort put into recreating Star Trek fantasies of communicating via life-like screen images, you’d think people would be more enthusiastic about actually using the amazing videoconferencing technologies out there today! But surprisingly, as mentioned in an earlier post, videoconferencing tools have been painfully slow to gain popularity in the workplace. Today, I’d like to take a closer look at some of those possible reasons.
Sociologists Allan and Thorns (2009) have done a nice job listing previous research investigating the problem.* Some studies found that videoconferencing was seen as too inconvenient, expensive, unreliable, or unnecessary. Other studies discussed the difficulties of reproducing contexts, social cues, social influences, and other important face-to-face interactions. Still others examined the ways organizations convince people to use these media-rich technologies.
Given the wide range of possibilities, an interesting question to ask at this point might be: Is this a problem of technology or a problem of human psychology? Literature suggests that it’s probably a bit of both. Allan and Thorns (2009) concluded Continue reading