Case Activity: Virtual vs. Face-to-face Interaction
People interact with each other to exchange ideas and different types of interaction are used. Virtual interaction involves the use of information technology to link people separated by a distance (Sara, Hilliary & Perola, 2007). On the other hand, face-to-face interaction is the direct interaction of people. People use this means of interaction when they are not separated by a greater distance. However, Virtual interaction has gained more popularity in modern days than face-to-face interaction (Koch, 2001).
Pros of face-face over virtual interaction
Face-to-face interaction allows people to exchange ideas without distortion of the intended message. The parties involved in the interaction process are able to understand each other more easily because the sender provides the actual information. On the contrary, virtual interaction provides room for distorting the intended message. In this case, the receiver of message may interpret different meaning from the intended message (Warkentin & sayeed, 1997).
Warkentin and Sayeed (1997) opined that face-to-face interactions are more effective compared to virtual interactions within an organization. People take time to learn how to communicate using virtual systems while face-to-face are natural and all people can exchange ideas through face-to-face interactions. Virtual interactions mostly use computers and in some cases not all people are computer literate. This creates a barrier which would not have been experienced while using face-to-face interactions (Warkentin & sayeed, 1997).
Through face-to-face interaction people within an organization are able to know each other at personal level. This reduces conflicts which may be brought about by differences in culture, language or any other aspect. This system allows people to solve their differences and they are able to use organizational diversity to create unity. Virtual interactions, on the other hand do not allow people to interact personally and this causes many conflicts to be experienced within the organization (Warkentin & Sayeed, 1997).
Pros of virtual over face-face interaction
People separated by distance can interact more easily by the use of virtual interaction. In fact, virtual interaction has turned the world into a global village. As such, people from different places can interact and exchange ideas more easily. On the other hand, face-to-face interaction does not allow people to interact easily especially when they are separated by a large distance (Warkentin & sayeed, 1997).
Virtual interactions are faster than face-to-face interactions especially when people are separated by distance. Within an organization, it becomes easier to use virtual communication because it reduces the time spent in delivering message. With the development of Enterprise Resource Planning, managers can monitor and interact with different stakeholders from a central place. This technology has improved organizational performance because business activities are easily transacted without involving too many people (Koch, 2001).
In modern days, technology has simplified things within the organization and people can perform various tasks by the use of virtual systems. Virtual interactions have improved organizational performance by allowing people to perform multiple tasks at the same time. For instance, a manager can write an email while attending to other office tasks. On the contrary, face-to-face interactions allow people to perform one task at a time. For instance an office message delivering message cannot multi-task by performing other activities at the same time (Koch, 2001).
Virtual interaction is gaining more popularity because in the modern world people are seeking means of interaction which link them to many people all over the world. This does not mean face-to-face interaction has lost meaning because people separated by small distances tend to prefer this means of interaction.
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