The role of face-to-face meetings in technology-supported self-organizing distributed teams

Kevin Crowston, James Howison, Chengetai Masango, U. Yeliz Eseryel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations


We examine the role of face-to-face meetings in the context of technology-supported self-organizing distributed (or virtual teams), specifically Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) development teams. Based on a qualitative inductive analysis of data from interviews and observations at FLOSS conferences, we identify a variety of settings in which developers meet face-to-face, and we point out the activities performed in these settings and the benefits obtained. Contrary to conventional wisdom about distributed teams, FLOSS developers generally do not meet face-to-face until the project is well under way. An additional benefit of face-to-face meetings is time away from a regular job and speed of interaction for certain kinds of tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-203
Number of pages19
JournalIEEE Transactions on Professional Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007



  • Face-to-face meetings
  • Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) development
  • Technology-supported self-organizing distributed teams
  • Virtual teams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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