From pattern to practice: Evaluation of a design pattern fostering trust in virtual teams

Ellen Rusman, Jan Van Bruggen, Ron Cörvers, Peter Sloep, Rob Koper

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    Abstract

    This article describes the implementation and evaluation of a design pattern that fosters trust in mediated collaborative settings. The pattern proposed here should provide a profile with static and/or dynamic information about the participants of a collaborative environment. It aims to foster initial (in the first two to three weeks) trust in situations in which people do not know each other and do not have a chance to meet, but need to collaborate. A simple and low cost implementation of this pattern was realized by conducting a case study with participants of the European Virtual Seminar on Sustainable Development (EVS). They were asked to fill in a template with personal information about themselves. In the EVS, students collaboratively have to address sustainable development problems. Afterwards, students were questioned on the use of this template, called PEXPI, and their impressions of each other during and after the EVS; questionnaires and a semi-structured interview were used. The results show that the implementation of the static profile, derived from the pattern, initially helped students to form an impression of each other. After this initial period, however, students base their impression on factors such as the quality of work-related contributions, behaviour during collaboration (e.g. responsiveness), and communication style. This case study also shows that the pattern could easily be applied and transferred to a new context, as long as the conditions described in the ‘context’-section of the pattern, were met. The case study provided a means for evaluation of the pattern and a source for its refinement.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1010-1019
    Number of pages9
    JournalComputers in Human Behavior
    Volume25
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009

    Keywords

    • Design pattern
    • Trust
    • CSCL
    • Virtual Team
    • Distance education

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