Interacting on a video-mediated stage: The collaborative construction of an interactional video setting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - To explore the relevance of Goffman's theatrical metaphor to describe video-mediated interactions. Design/methodology/approach - Grounded in four waves of observational data of MBA students interacting by videoconference in the context of a distributed course between Europe and Asia, with the students working in virtual teams on a consulting project. Findings - People in video-mediated contexts adjust and evolve the well-established routines we have developed for interacting in everyday communication in order to build a "stage" for interaction. The stage does not only refer to a spatial frame of reference, but that it also refers to a shared social context, a" place" that participants collaboratively construct. Research limitations/implications - The paper is based on observations of MBA students, and not teams of professionals in an organization. Practical implications - The observations suggest that although people often blame the technology for frustrating or negative experiences and hoping for the development of better technology, practitioners aiming to support communication in video-mediated settings should focus on building a stage and developing practices to support the interactional order. They should focus on the construction of a shared social context, a "sense of place". Originality/value - The use of Goffman's theatrical metaphor to study video-mediated interactions. A suggestion for being innovative about the use of technology and avoid simply replicating face-to-face interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-169
Number of pages18
JournalInformation Technology and People
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006


  • Communication
  • Communication technologies
  • Face-to-face communications
  • Video

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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