Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Title

IIE Annual Conference. Proceedings


5 pp.

Conference Name

IISE Annual Conference & Expo 2023, May 19-23, New Orleans, Louisiana


Communication is a critical process that facilitates team members' coordination, expertise exchange, decision-making, and, consequently, team elfectiveness. A focus on effective communication is critical in virtual teams due to their lack of face-to-face interactions and social presence. Communication becomes challenging in remote settings, and specific skills emerge as more essential to success. It is known that effective teams rely on planning, execution, and interpersonal skills to be successful. Still, the specific impact of these skills on virtual team effectiveness is not well understood. Additionally, conflict can emerge as a significant barrier to collaboration for remote teams that can hinder their communication. This paper examines the role of teamwork skills and emergent conflict as predictors of the frequency of communication in virtual engineering project teams. Previously vahdated measures were used to assess teamwork skills and emergent conflict in a sample of virtual teams. The sample included 101 graduate engineering students working in 32 fully virtual project teams of size 3-4 to complete a semester project on systems analysis and design. Results indicate that skills associated with mission analysis and strategy formulation were the strongest predictors of the frequency of communication, while relationship conflict was associated with low levels of communication. These findings are relevant to organizations that rely on virtual team-based structures by identifying critical levers and barriers to team communication. These findings can be used to identify targets for virtual team training, including a focus on strategic planning and mission analysis, as well as conflict management strategies to prevent and resolve relationship conflict in virtual settings.


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Included with the kind written permission of the copyright holders.


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0000-0003-4348-7798 (Pazos), 0000-0002-1453-2353 (Cima)

Original Publication Citation

Pazos, P., & Cima, F. (2023). Enablers and barriers of communication in virtual engineering teams: The role of teamwork skills and emergent conflict. In K. Babski-Reeves, B. Eksioglu, D. Hampton (Eds.), IISE Annual Conference. Proceedings (pp. 1-5). Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers.