Abstract

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the acceptance of virtual team collaboration as a replacement for face-to-face collaboration. Unlike face-to-face collaboration, virtual collaboration has different factors like technology mediation influencing communication that affects a team’s processes. However, there is a lack of rigorous research that assesses the impact of virtual teaming on the engineering design process. Therefore, the current study investigates the effect of virtual team collaboration on design outcomes by means of the MILANO (Model of Influence, Learning, and Norms in Organizations) framework. To tailor MILANO for virtual collaboration, this paper first presents an empirical study of human design teams, that shows how the model parameters for face-to-face collaboration (like self-efficacy, perceived influencers, perceived degree of influence, trust and familiarity) must be modified. The empirical study also shows the positive impact of effective communication on conflict resolution, task cohesion and the model parameters listed above. The simulation results for both virtual and face-to-face collaboration show how design outcomes differ with collaboration mode.

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