Doctoral Dissertation

13.10.2018 M.A. Mitra Raappana (Department of Language and Communication Studies, Communication Studies)


13.10.2018 12:00 — 15:00

Location: Seminaarinmaki , L304
M.A. Mitra Raappana defends her doctoral dissertation in Communication Studies: "Onnistuminen työelämän tiimeissä".

Opponent Docent Janne Matikainen (University of Helsinki) and Custos Professor Maarit Valo (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in Finnish. 


In digitalized contemporary working life virtual teams have become increasingly ubiquitous. Teams are seen as platforms for synergy, productiveness, and efficacy. However, manifold organizational environments, technological developments, and extended working possibilities—as well as conceptual, methodological, and theoretical features—make successful teams complex to outline and examine.

The focus of this doctoral dissertation is in examining working-life teams’ success in the times of digitalization and communication technology expansion. The study embraces a qualitative and inductive research agenda. This dissertation comprises four articles, including one systematic literature review and three empirical research reports.

The empirical studies are based on naturalistic data from Finnish contemporary working life, including one interview dataset from team members (n = 11) and another observable video and audio dataset from virtual meetings (9 meetings from 3 teams). The theoretical background stems from the tradition of small group communication research.

The findings show that teams in working life are goal-oriented, heterogeneous, dynamic, and use technology in their communication varyingly. The concept of a team can refer to an experience of collaboration or to the way in which work is organized. Despite the meaning or form a team gets, teams are goal-oriented. Certain factors in teams’ interaction can strengthen or improve their productivity. The same features, however, can also stall or deteriorate team productivity. The use of technology can be one certain feature.

Furthermore, the findings indicate that the manifold tasks team implements and teams’ capability to recognize and reflect on their interactions are more essential to team interaction than the use of communication technology. Moreover, the use of technology is not a more determinant factor in team success process than any other group communication variable or feature.

To conclude, success in working-life teams is a complex phenomenon, and it should not be simplified to merely achieving certain goals. It should be recognized that every team has the possibility to perform well, but success is not a self-evident characteristic of a team.

Keywords: communication, efficacy, productivity, small group communication, success, task, virtual team, virtual team efficacy, working life, working-life team