The influence of virtuality on social networks within and across work groups: A multilevel approach

Ayoung Suh, Kyung Shik Shin, Manju Ahuja, Min Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


We examine how the virtuality of work context influences individuals' social networks within and across work groups. Given this purpose, we develop a multilevel research framework that explores the effects of different levels of virtuality on one's intra-group tie strength and extra-group network range based on the computer-mediated communication theory, the proximity theory, and the social network theory. The results of the hierarchical linear modeling indicate that the individual-level virtuality (use of personal and communal communication technologies) significantly influences one's intra-group tie strength and extra-group network range. Moreover, the results show that the effects of individual-level virtuality on social networks vary depending on the group-level virtuality, such as geographic/temporal dispersion and technological support. By illuminating how individuals' social networks can be developed through the appropriate use of personal and communal communication technologies in the context of a virtual group, this study provides useful insights into the mechanics that underlie effective virtual work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-386
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of Management Information Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
MAnju AhujA is a professor of computer information systems at the university of Louisville. She previously held faculty positions at the Kelley School of Business, Indiana university, Florida State university, and Pennsylvania State university. She is involved in research related to virtual and outsourcing software development teams, online communities, mobile technologies, and effect of IT on work–life balance. her publications have appeared in MIS Quarterly, Management Science, Information Systems Research, Organization Science, Communications of the ACM, Journal of Management, European Journal of Information Systems, Journal of the Association for Information Systems, and Small Group Research, among other outlets. She is an associate editor at MIS Quarterly and has recently served in this role at Information Systems Research and other journals. She has received three National Science Foundation grants totaling $1,095,000 for her research on IT workforce issues. her research has been cited by publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Strategy+Business, and Computerworld.

Funding Information:
Acknowledgement: This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea grant funded by the Korean government (NRF-2010-330-h00003).


  • Computer-mediated communication
  • hierarchical linear modeling
  • multilevel analysis
  • social networks
  • virtuality


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