Since messages posted to the team's conference are categorized as either new topics or replies to specific existing topics, a level of organization to the discussion is provided by the bulletin-board system. Titles of existing topics are visible on the left side of each participant's screen.
We hypothesized that teams using a bulletin-board system would outperform teams interacting using a chat system, who would, in turn, outperform teams interacting face-to-face.
As predicted, teams using the bulletin-board system were significantly better at solving the case than were teams using the chat system (p = 0.02).
To determine whether the superior problem-solving performance of teams using the bulletin-board tool was due to superior information conveyance, superior information processing, or a combination of both, we examined the electronic logs of teams using the bulletin-board system and the chat system, as well as the videotapes of face-to-face teams' discussions.
In teams using the bulletin-board system, relevant uniquely held items were mentioned an average of 7.9 times by members who did not initially possess the item versus 4.3 times for teams using the chat system and 2.6 times for teams meeting face-to-face.