Virtual teams are widely used in the workplace to execute projects. These teams are geographically distributed and use information and communication technologies (ICTs) to enact their collaborative work. However, there may be generational differences in preferences towards specific ICTs that can exacerbate the complexity of distributed virtual teamwork. This study analyzes survey data collected by Construction Industry Institute Research Team 326 to determine how different generations (specifically Millennials and Baby Boomers) prefer 27 specific ICT tools and features when working in virtual teams. The results show that Millennials have significantly different preferences toward roughly a third of the ICTs examined when compared to Baby Boomers. Hence, although the results of this study support the notion of a generational digital divide between the Millennials and the Baby Boomers, this divide is not as uniform as it has been characterized in previous research. This paper contributes a more nuanced understanding of the generational digital divide in the context of engineering and construction workforce virtual teams by attending to specific similarities and differences in preferences for ICTs. The findings of this study will enable virtual team leaders to consider generational preferences when selecting ICT tools and features for their teams in an attempt to improve virtual team performance.
Ferrara, S., Mohammadi, N., Taylor, J., and Javernick-Will, A. (2016). “Toward a More Nuanced Understanding of the Generational Digital Divide in Virtual Teams." Engineering Project Organization Conference. Cle Elum, WA.