Objective Communication Patterns Associated With Team Member Effectiveness in Real-World Virtual Teams

Lisa O’Bryan, Tim Oxendahl, Xu Chen, Daniel McDuff, Santiago Segarra, Matthew Wettergreen, Margaret E. Beier, Ashutosh Sabharwal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We explore the relationships between objective communication patterns displayed during virtual team meetings and established, qualitative measures of team member effectiveness. Background: A key component of teamwork is communication. Automated measures of objective communication patterns are becoming more feasible and offer the ability to measure and monitor communication in a scalable, consistent and continuous manner. However, their validity in reflecting meaningful measures of teamwork processes are not well established, especially in real-world settings. Method: We studied real-world virtual student teams working on semester-long projects. We captured virtual team meetings using the Zoom video conferencing platform throughout the semester and periodic surveys comprising peer ratings of team member effectiveness. Leveraging audio transcripts, we examined relationships between objective measures of speaking time, silence gap duration and vocal turn-taking and peer ratings of team member effectiveness. Results: Speaking time, speaking turn count, degree centrality and (marginally) speaking turn duration, but not silence gap duration, were positively related to individual-level team member effectiveness. Time in dyadic interactions and interaction count, but not interaction length, were positively related to dyad-level team member effectiveness. Conclusion: Our study highlights the relevance of objective measures of speaking time and vocal turn-taking to team member effectiveness in virtual project-based teams, supporting the validity of these objective measures and their use in future research. Application: Our approach offers a scalable, easy-to-use method for measuring communication patterns and team member effectiveness in virtual teams and opens the opportunity to study these patterns in a more continuous and dynamic manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHuman Factors
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • communication analysis
  • computer-supported collaborations
  • speech production and recognition
  • team collaboration
  • team communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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