Is collaboration during videoconferencing encounters a meaningful experience? An ‘embodied’ affordance approach to explore challenges and opportunities

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As videoconferencing encounters have become ‘business as usual’, team members are forced to increasingly actualize technological affordances to be able to interact and collaborate to reach goals. Affordance research on virtual collaboration has neglected one fundamental dimension of the experienced relationship between humans and technology, the materiality of the ‘space between’, through which the situated practices become inherently meaningful. Thereby, this study endeavored to enquire the emerging experience of the human (body)-technology relationship, and its implications for relational aspects of collaboration. Empirical results indicate that due to lack of resonance of bodily movements to the things to which it attends, members are experiencing weakened intrinsic temporal dimensions of conversation in the virtual space, conducive of frustration and lack of trust in the technology. The higher level of distraction and disengagement that follows is suppressing ‘triggered attendance’ and spontaneous initiation of social interaction, two main antecedents of sharing and collaboration. Findings enrich knowledge on the body-emotions-technology relations in the novel context, while disentangling implications for aspects of work.