Date of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Type

Professional Project

Degree Name

Masters in Leadership Studies


College of Professional Studies


We live in an interconnected world in which physical location has become less of a hindrance to communication, yet newer message transmission media alter not only the process but also the content of creative communication. While temporary virtual teams offer alternatives to solve issues which resist resolution using traditional approaches, virtual team characteristics can limit the ability to create novel and useful solutions. Since creativity is a necessary and significant requirement for success across a wide variety of domains, this poses a serious challenge for those intending to improve organizational creativity through the use of virtual teams and exposes the difficulty of studying creativity in a virtual environment. The author creates a modular online research tool to more effectively study how eight characteristics of virtual teams interact to improve or restrict creativity: depersonalization, time pressure, noise, level of organization, degree of autonomy, range of potential solution categories, expectation, clarity of purpose, and potential personal gain. The design and implementation of the virtual creativity research environment are examined and used to research whether it is possible to improve the creativity of ad-hoc online teams. Qualitative analysis of twenty quasi-experimental groups with total 136 participants determined a statistically significant difference between groups with two selected environments, with an effect size over 2.5. While the ability to control individual environmental elements is within the ability of the research tool created in this study, a multivariate analysis of individual elements was outside the scope of this initial study, but is suggested for further research.

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