According to a report released by Global Workplace Analytics in 2013, the number of employees who telecommute has increased by 80% since 2005, which equates to approximately 25 million people. As the number of virtual teams has increased, so has the use of instant messaging within businesses. But how have these new communicative situations affected previously existing interactional norms? Erika Darics explores this question in her article “The Blurring Boundaries Between Synchronicity and Asynchronicity: New Communicative Situations in Work-Related Instant Messaging” from International Journal of Business Communication.
Instant messaging is one of the most popular communication technologies in virtual teams, enabling interactions to intertwine whole working days, thus creating the sense of copresence for team members who are geographically dispersed. Through close linguistic analyses of naturally occurring data from a virtual team, this article discusses the implications of two novel communicative situations enabled by instant messaging: presence information and the persistence of transcript. The preliminary findings of this study indicate that these new communicative situations require the flouting or rethinking of previously existing interactional norms and that communicative practices employed by the team members are not yet conventionalized/normalized, the expectations and interpretations of interactional rituals and timing vary highly, even within the same virtual team.
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