Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Michael Coovert, Ph.D.


Virtual, Helping, Group, Team, Implicit


Organizations today are increasingly encouraging employees to engage in pro-social behaviors at work, though this effort may be hindered by the increasing reliance on computers to mediate workplace interpersonal interactions. While much research has been directed at computer-mediated teams performing highly interdependent tasks, there is a need to examine the effect of computer mediation on individual vs. collective identification and cooperation for employees in less overtly interdependent tasks. This study examined the role of group members' conscious and non-conscious identity level in the relationship between physical context and cooperation with a work group. 50 groups of 4 participants each worked in either a face-to-face or computer-mediated workspace to complete puzzles. The study hypotheses were tested using mediated hierarchical modeling. Unexpectedly, computer mediation was related to higher levels of cooperation and was unrelated to participants' identity level. An interaction between prior ability and cooperation was found, with more capable group members cooperating more, but only in the computer-mediated context. Implications for research and practice on the role of computer technology at work are discussed.