Refining virtual cross-national research collaboration: drivers, affordances and constraints

Lokhtina, Irina orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5223-3779, Colombo, Laura, Amelia, Citra, Löfström, Erika, Tammeleht, Anu, Sala-Bubare, Anna, Jazvac-Martek, Marian, Castelló, Montserrat and McAlpine, Lynn (2022) Refining virtual cross-national research collaboration: drivers, affordances and constraints. Journal of Work-Applied Management . ISSN 2205-2062

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The study aims to explore and explain the affordances and constraints of two-mode virtual collaboration as experienced by a newly forming international research team.

This is self-reflective and action-oriented research on the affordances and constraints of two-mode virtual collaboration. In the spirit of professional development, the authors (nine researchers at different career stages and from various counties) engaged in a joint endeavour to evaluate the affordances and constraints of virtual collaborations in light of the recent literature while also researching the authors' own virtual collaboration during this evaluative task (mid-January–April 2021). The authors used two modes: synchronous (Zoom) and asynchronous (emails) to communicate on the literature exploration and recorded reactions and emotional responses towards existing affordances and constraints through a collective journal.

The results suggest both affordances in terms of communication being negotiable and evolving and constraints, particularly in forming new relations given tools that may not be equally accessible to all. Journaling during collaborations could be a valuable tool, especially for virtual collective work, because it can be used to structure the team supported negotiation and discussion processes, especially often hidden processes. It is evident that the role of a leader can contribute to an alignment in the assumptions and experiences of trust and consequently foster greater mutual understanding of the circumstances for productive team collaborations.

The findings of this study can inform academics and practitioners on how to create and facilitate better opportunities for collaboration in virtual teams as a rapidly emerging form of technology-supported working.

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