Journal of Business and
The online version of this article can be found at:
published online 7 December 2011
2012 26: 65 originallyJournal of Business and Technical Communication
Jon Martin Denstadli, Tom Erik Julsrud and Randi Johanne Hjorthol
Study of the Use of Videoconferencing and Face-to-Face Meetings
Videoconferencing as a Mode of Communication: A Comparative
can be found at:
Journal of Business and Technical CommunicationAdditional services and information for
What is This?
- Dec 7, 2011OnlineFirst Version of Record
- Feb 6, 2012Version of Record >>
by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from by guest on October 11, 2013jbt.sagepub.comDownloaded from
as a Mode of
of the Use of Videoconferencing
and Face-to-Face Meetings
Jon Martin Denstadli
, Tom Erik Julsrud
Randi Johanne Hjorthol
Based on a quantitative survey of Norwegian business travelers, this study
compares their use of face-to-face (FTF) meetings and videoconferences (VCs).
The study finds that access and use of VCs are determined mainly by industry
and the geographical structure of the enterprise. It also finds that VCs and FTF
meetings differ along several dimensions, suggesting that these two modes of
communication fulfill slightly different needs. Based on the survey results, the
authors propose a framework to understand the emerging role of VCs. This
framework would address both relational and task-based dimensions.
videoconferences, media choice, meetings, business travels, social networks
Institute of Transport Economics, Gaustadalleen, Oslo, Norway
Trondheim Business School, Jonsvannsveien, Trondheim, Norway
Tom Erik Julsrud, Trondheim Business School, Jonsvannsveien 82, 7004 Trondheim, Norway
Journal of Business and Technical
ªThe Author(s) 2012
Reprints and permission:
Current trends toward globalization and the functional integration of
dispersed economic activities, an increased number of multiunit companies,
and more project teamwork have made the ability to transmit information
between external business partners and within multiunit companies essen-
tial for enterprises in the postindustrial knowledge economy (Castells,
1996; Dicken, 2007; Drucker, 1994). In turn, these trends are increasing the
spatial distribution of collaborating partners and raising the need for them to
travel long distances in order to meet face-to-face (FTF).
The FTF meeting has long been acknowledged as the most effective way
through which to do business. FTF contact enables business associates to
transmit equivocal information, produce immediate feedback, and build a
personal, authentic, and trustworthy atmosphere (Nardi & Whittaker,
2002; Nohria & Eccles, 1991). These are important activities in business
life that have been proven to be harder to accomplish through information
and communication technologies—even videoconferencing (throughout
this article, we use the abbreviation VC interchangeably to mean videocon-
ferencing or videoconference; Andreev, Salomon, & Pliskin, 2010; Kiesler
& Cummings, 2002; Kraut, Fussel, Brennan, & Siegel, 2002).
VC technology is changing rapidly. It is becoming firmly entrenched
within computer networks—most recently, through a steady influx of inno-
vative communication and service concepts on the Internet and within the
computer industry. Manufacturers of VC equipment now offer flexible
communication services for conference rooms, desktops, and mobile term-
inals that can accommodate different groups and situations. In addition, VC
can save time and costs, which is a strong argument for its implementation
and use (Denstadli, 2004). Increasing concern about the negative impact of
transportation on greenhouse gas emissions may also influence businesses’
decisions on whether to use VC (Aguilera, 2008). Recent volcanic eruptions
have demonstrated the vulnerability of air transport and drawn attention to
the need for alternative ways of business communication.
Despite a growing acceptance of VC in modern organizations, empirical
studies of its implementation and use are rare—particularly, studies that com-
pare VC to FTF meetings. To understand the role of VC in tomorrow’s orga-
nizations and the impact it will have on business travel, we need to develop a
deeper knowledge of how meetings are accomplished in organizations today.
This study explores these issues and raises the following research questions:
What are the most important determinants for business travelers’ access
to and use of VC (company size, industry, position in company, etc.),
and what technological systems do they use?
66 Journal of Business and Technical Communication 26(1)
How do business travelers use VC vis-a`-vis FTF meetings (users, commu-
nication purposes, interorganizational vs. intraorganizational contact)?
What do both users and nonusers consider the main strengths and weak-
nesses of VC?
As we show in the following sections, the use of VC is affected to a large
extent by both the size and the geographical structure of the company. Fur-
ther, we show that VC today fulfills needs that are different from those of
FTF meetings, making a direct substitution unlikely on a larger scale.
Rather, these two important modes of communication seem to have comple-
mentary functions in today’s organizations.
Literature and Theoretical Background
The business meeting is a core activity in postbureaucratic organizations of
all sizes and nationalities (Barley & Kunda, 2001; Heckscher, 1994).
Defined as ‘‘a gathering of three or more people who agree to assemble for
a purpose ostensibly related to the functioning of an organization or group’’
(Schwartzman, 1989, p. 61), meetings are an unavoidable part of modern
working life. For example, top managers estimate that they spend as much
as 60-75%of their time in FTF or telephone meetings (Fulk & Collins-Jarvis,
2001; Kloppenborg & Petrick, 1999). Even though business meetings are
sometimes considered a waste of time, most managers and employees accept
the necessity of regular gatherings.
Meetings serve a number of purposes in organizations. Some purposes
are well acknowledged and accepted; others are more subtle and less recog-
nized. On one hand, meetings are where participants plan projects, coordi-
nate tasks, and solve problems, activities that require participants to reach
agreement and form a common understanding. On the other hand, business
meetings also have a more subtle function: Meetings are where participants
confirm their values and identities and strengthen their personal relation-
ships with one another. As Weick (1995) argued, meetings are forums for
sense making, where participants strive to develop a common understand-
ing of organizational transformations and where they must codevelop orga-
nizational identities. Schwartzman (1989) and others stressed that building
relationships is a crucial goal of most business meetings. As many organi-
zations tend to be moving toward flatter and leaner structures, personal rela-
tions are believed to be more important than ever (Adler & Heckscher,
2006; Cohen & Prusak, 2001)—to promote the social capital of the individ-
ual participants and (in most cases) their organization (Gabbay & Leenders,
Denstadli et al. 67
2001). Business meetings are thus crucial for fulfilling the goals of
individuals as well as the objectives of groups and organizations.
Even though FTF meetings are often preferable, different types of
mediated technologies are widely used for work-related communication,
such as the telephone, e-mail, VC, or audioconferencing. The terms telecon-
ference and VC are used interchangeably for meetings with two or more
participants communicating in real time through the use of telemediated
live pictures and sound (Andreev et al., 2010). In most cases, VC systems
also allow for documents and illustrations to be shared and coedited.
VC technology is advancing rapidly, with functionality available on dif-
ferent platforms (mobile telephones, personal digital assistants [PDAs], and
laptops) and networks (Internet protocol, wireless fidelity, etc.). At the same
time, however, the boundaries between mediated meetings and personal
communication systems are becoming blurred and hard to define. Still, the
term videoconference is usually associated with a place-to-place communi-
cation system that is permanently installed in a room or studio. The room-
based VC system is probably the most used form of VC in European and
U.S. businesses. But this system is being challenged by the telepresence
system—a more technically sophisticated form of conferencing with a
higher level of picture and audio fidelity. In addition, audioconferences
with multiple parties are widely available to anyone with access to a mobile
or fixed telephone line. The room-based VC, then, is one of several ways of
arranging meetings between distant collaborators.
The interconnections between mediated meetings, the use of personal
communication media, and business travel are complex and not well under-
stood, but at least for the near future, larger organizations will likely operate
with a combination of FTF and virtual meetings. Andreev, Salomon, and
Pliskin (2010) concluded that ‘‘although teleconferencing is considered
by many as a potential travel substitute, empirical evidence shows that orga-
nizations, for the most part, see teleconferencing as an additional way of
expanding organizational efficiency and productivity, not as a travel-
saving means’’ (p. 10). Thus, rather than one replacing the other, the two
modes of meetings will probably coexist within and across today’s postbur-
eaucratic organizations and serve different communication purposes.
Theories on Media Choice and the Need for FTF Gatherings in
In modern organizations, VC takes place in parallel with traditional FTF
meetings and also in meetings where other technologies are used. Whenever
68 Journal of Business and Technical Communication 26(1)
collaborators who are separated by distance need to talk to each other, they
have to decide on the meeting form. Clearly, VC has both benefits and con-
straints. The factors that influence the choice of media in any given situa-
tion are a much discussed theoretical topic.
One central strand of research suggests that the content or purpose of a
meeting, or the information that is to be exchanged, determines the choice
of media (i.e., FTF or virtual). Media richness theory claims that complex
forms of communication demand rich media, such as FTF contact, rather
than mediated media (Potter, 2004; Short, Williams, & Christie, 1976; Tre-
vino, Lengel, & Daft, 1987). According to these theories, the richness of the
media (i.e., its ability to handle multiple information cues simultaneously,
give rapid feedback, and establish a personal focus) determines the kind
of content it can be used for. While media with low richness can be used
to handle routine tasks, richer media are suited for nonroutine and ambig-
uous communication. If the medium is not rich enough for the content, com-
munication failure is likely to occur. Because VC can handle visual cues
and produce feedback instantly, it is usually seen as a rich medium—
although not as rich as FTF interaction.
Media richness theory has been highly influential among scholars, who
have suggested several improved versions (Carlson & Zmud, 1999; Kock,
2005; McGrath & Hollingshead, 1994; Walther & Parks, 2002). Yet empiri-
cal evidence for media richness theory is not strong; many studies have
found that relatively narrow media (i.e., text based or voice only) can be
used to successfully communicate messages that have a high level of equi-
vocality (Fulk & Collins-Jarvis, 2001; Walther & Parks, 2002). And the the-
ory has frequently been criticized for its technologically deterministic bias,
that is, for its supposition that each medium has predetermined effects on
users and their environment.
Another central theoretical approach sees choice of media as being
influenced more by social norms and habits than by content of the com-
munication and bandwidth of the technology. According to the social
influence model (Fulk, Schmidtz, & Steinfield, 1990), choice of media
in organizations depends not only on features of the media but also on
the individual’s past experiences with the media and the influence of oth-
ers. Social influence theory may be seen as part of a larger set of con-
structivist approaches that relate choice of technology to social
processes rather than to technical qualities (Bijker & Law, 1992; Silver-
stone & Haddon, 1996). According to these approaches, use of VC is
strongly affected by the norms and attitudes that other users hold toward
this medium rather than by its actual technical qualities. Thus, these
Denstadli et al. 69
approaches expect that the use of VC would differ widely across
organizations and departments with different norms for its use.
Both theories (i.e., media richness and social influence) address factors
affecting the choice of VC and other media in a given organizational
setting. But to understand the use of such media, we should also look at
theories about regular FTF meetings. Because of the increasing number
of workers who must travel for FTF business meetings, this issue has come
to the forefront in several theoretical contributions (Asheim, Coenen, &
Vang, 2007; Faulconbridge & Beaverstock, 2010; Larsen, Urry, & Axhau-
sen, 2008; Storper & Venables, 2004). In a recent stream of research, the
necessity for modern workers to build and sustain personal relationships is
stressed. Urry (2007) and others (e.g., Mok, Carrasco, & Wellman, 2009;
Rettie, 2010) have emphasized the importance of relationships and individ-
ual social networks as driving forces behind business travel. Means of
transportation and media are used in concert as network capital to keep
network-oriented organizations together. The multicultural orientation of
modern organizations and their focus on project work seem to motivate their
use of FTF meetings. This recent research echoes several earlier studies on
social capital development that highlight the value of personal relationships
(Adler & Kwon, 2002; Cohen & Prusak, 2001; Lin, 2001; Nahapiet &
Sumantra, 1998). Thus, according to this theoretical approach, the use of
VC will be moderated by a growing need for modern professionals to build
personal relationships and networks with other professionals in their field.
Insights From Prior Studies
The VC market has grown substantially during the past 20 years, increasing
fivefold in the period from 1991through 2006 (Denstadli & Gripsrud, 2010)
to reach a total value of $1.06 billion. Research has demonstrated that
intraorganizational contact has been a prime motivator for the use of VC
(e.g., Denstadli, 2004; Lu & Peeta, 2009), implying that the technology has
served mostly as a communication tool for large, multiunit companies. High
investment and user costs have made this technology less feasible for
smaller companies. But many of the newer VC platforms are simpler and
less costly than are the traditional room-based ones. Although large (multi-
unit) companies are still more likely to use VC, desktop and Web-based
systems have expanded the VC market to the point that the technology has
become more affordable to small- and medium-sized companies.
Despite substantial growth in sales and in the rate of diffusion of VC
technology, empirical studies in business communication have shown that
70 Journal of Business and Technical Communication 26(1)
FTF meetings are still unavoidable in many situations. While much of the
earlier literature on VC was optimistic about its potential to reduce business
travel (for a review, see Geels & Smith, 2000), recent studies have been more
cautious in this regard. They suggest that factors such as task complexity and
the particular type of knowledge involved make copresence unavoidable for
many business meetings in today’s knowledge-driven economy (Aguilera,
2008; Kiesler & Cummings, 2002; Handy, 1995; Nohria & Eccles, 1991).
Researchers have observed several interaction patterns, including neutrality,
complementarity, and modification (e.g., Haynes, 2010; Mokhtarian &
Meenakshisundaram, 1999; Salomon, 1986). Thus, the question is not simply
about whether VC can substitute for FTF meetings but is rather about what
factors influence the choice between VC and FTF meetings.
Lu and Peeta (2009) have stressed the context of the meeting as the key
factor influencing the choice between VC and FTF gatherings (i.e., those
that would require participants’ air travel). The results from their survey
indicate that VC is chosen for contexts such as information exchange, man-
agement, and training and consulting whereas FTF meetings are chosen for
contexts such as negotiations, marketing demonstrations, and business dis-
cussions. A Swedish study has indicated that virtual meetings may be best
for ‘‘follow-up and information tasks’’ as well as for short and repetitive
meetings (Arnfalk & Kogg, 2003, p. 865). Corresponding results were
reported by Lian and Denstadli (2004), who found that VCs have less com-
plex content than do FTF meetings, which often involve informal and
As these prior studies suggest, a closer understanding of the practices of
VC and FTF meetings will lead to a better understanding of the two com-
munication modes and their future impact on work and organizations. In the
following sections, we present the method and data and then the results for
our study that examines these practices.
Method and Data
We collected data for this study byasking business air passengers to com-
plete an Internet survey.
During 2-week periods in December 2009 and
January 2010, respectively, we recruited our respondents at Gardermoen
airport in Oslo by approaching passengers on selected flights at the depar-
ture gate to ask them whether they were traveling on a business trip. We
handed a leaflet to those who responded positively that explained that the
Institute of Transport Economics was conducting a survey on business
travel and the use of information and communication technology. To avoid
Denstadli et al. 71
any possible self-selection bias of users, we did not mention the term
videoconferencing. We asked these prospective respondents to log on to our
Web-site to complete the survey. Although we recruited passengers at both
the domestic and the international terminals, only those working in Norway
were included in the survey. As an incentive to take part, respondents could
enter a raffle with the opportunity to win 10,000 NOK (about $1,600). We
recruited respondents during peak hours (7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 3:00
p.m. to 6:00 p.m.) on weekdays (Monday through Friday), when the number
of business passengers is the largest. We prepared a sample plan to
determine which flights we would survey in order to obtain a representative
sample with respect to destination and airline.
We approached 14,949 business passengers on these selected flights. Of
these passengers, 1,068 passengers refused and 13,881 accepted the leaflet
we offered to them. The survey Web-site was open for 3 weeks after the final
recruitment week, during which time we received 1,411 usable responses
(10.2%of the passengers receiving leaflets). The low response rate calls into
question the representativeness of the sample and consequently any conclu-
sions that may be drawn based on the data. To check for possible sample bias,
we compared the age, gender, and travel-purpose distribution of our respon-
dents with that of the respondents in the 2009 Norwegian Air Travel Survey
(NATS). TheNATS is the most representative survey of Norwegian air travel,
including information on more than 130,000 passengers traveling on sched-
uled flights to and from Norwegian airports in 2009 (22,000 of whom were
business passengers departing from Gardermoen airport). Comparing our
Web-survey sample with the latter group, we found that our results overrepre-
sent the views and characteristics of business passengers in the higher age
groups (over 50 years) and underrepresent those of the youngest age groups
(under 30 years). The gender balance of the sample closely matches that of the
NATS, and the travel-purpose distribution is similar across surveys.
Our Web survey comprised questions about the respondents (age, gen-
der, education, occupation, and position) and their workplace (size, branch,
location, single or multiunit company). It asked whether they had access to
VC equipment in the workplace and about their experiences with using VC.
In addition, it asked respondents to provide information on the latest VC
they had attended as well as on the business meeting they were traveling
to attend or were returning home from attending when we recruited them
to do the survey. These latter questions asked about the purpose, partici-
pants, scheduling, and duration of that meeting. A final question in the sur-
vey asked the respondents to give their opinions on VC and business travel.
On average, the respondents took 12 minutes to complete the survey.
72 Journal of Business and Technical Communication 26(1)
Table 1 lists the key characteristics of our survey respondents. Nearly 3
of the 4 respondents were men—reflecting the gender imbalance in business
travel (Denstadli & Rideng, 2010). Almost 80%of respondents held a uni-
versity degree, confirming that those who use air travel for business tend to
be college educated. Moreover, 55%are in a managerial or supervisory
position in the company (other position comprises respondents whose job
tasks do not involve managerial duties). Half of the respondents work in
a company with 100 or more employees, which in Norway is considered
a large enterprise. These characteristics correspond fairly well with figures
on business travel in the NATS.
Table 1. Characteristics of the Respondents
Primary/secondary/high school 22
Up to 30 years 9
30 to 49 years 51
50 years and over 40
Position in company
Top/middle management 40
Project manager 7
Other position 45
Number of employees in company
100 or more 50
Type of industry
Oil, gas 11
Public administration 22
Banking and insurance 5
Other private services 32
Manufacturing industries 14
Other industries 16
Type of company
Single-unit company 23
Multiunit company 77
Denstadli et al. 73
Our first research question asks about the most important determinants for
VC access and use. Our survey results show that 68%of the respondents
have access to one or more VC systems at their workplace (see Table 2).
Access is greatest for those working in the oil and gas industry—a pioneer-
ing industry with respect to VC in Norway (Denstadli & Gripsrud, 2010).
Company size is also an important determinant for VC access, with 83%
of respondents working for large companies (100 or more employees) hav-
ing access to VC compared to only 46%of those employed in a small enter-
prise (1-19 employees). Similarly, 74%of those working for multiunit
companies have access to VC facilities compared to only 48%of those
employed in single-unit companies.
The conventional meeting room is still by far the most common platform
for VC technology, with 81%of respondents who have access to VC using it
Table 2. Access to Videoconference (VC) and Type of Technical Platform Used
(Multiple Answers Possible)
Type of VC Platform (% of Those Who Have
Access to VC)
Use VC for
All respondents 68 81 36 17 29
Oil, gas 89 94 42 8 13
Public administration 71 87 24 12 20
Banking and insurance 73 91 26 7 18
Other private services 68 70 47 25 42
Manufacturing industries 61 84 31 19 28
Other industries 58 74 31 19 36
Number of employees
1-19 46 45 38 21 46
20-99 61 78 33 17 31
100 or more 83 91 36 16 24
Yes 74 83 37 17 24
No 48 66 27 18 39
74 Journal of Business and Technical Communication 26(1)
in this way. But 36%of the respondents with VC access work in a com-
pany that has adopted VC for PCs, 17%are potentially able to access VC
through portable equipment, and 29%use other types of VC. These
results clearly show that the computer-based conference has moved well
beyond the experimental stage to establish itself as one central way of
conducting electronic business meetings. Results further reveal that the
type of platform varies across company segments. In particular, a rela-
tively high percentage of respondents who work for small firms have
access to VC through their PC, portable platforms, or other types of
VC technology (e.g., Skype). These are simpler and less costly platforms
(some may even be downloaded free of charge) that seem to be targeted
more toward smaller enterprises.
We tested these results statistically, using regression analyses of VC
access and usage according to company size and other respondent and com-
pany characteristics. From these analyses, we drew two models:
Model A: Access—whether the respondent has access to VC technology
in the workplace (dummy-dependent variable)
Model B: Usage—the number of VCs that the respondent who has VC
access has attended during the previous 12 months (count-
We used logistic regression to draw Model A (access) whereas we used gen-
eralized linear regression with Poisson distribution to draw Model B
(usage). Table 3 provides a summary of the results of these analyses.
Overall, industry and multiunit company are the most important vari-
ables in explaining VC access and usage. Respondents employed in
Table 3. Summary of the Results From Regression Analyses of Videoconference
(VC) Access and Usage According to Respondent and Company Characteristics
Independent Variable Model A: Access Model B: Usage
Number of employees þns
Multiunit company þþ
Management position ns þ
University degree þns
Gender ns ns
Note:þindicates significant impact (p< .05); ns indicates not significant impact.
Denstadli et al. 75
multiunit companies have greater access to VC and are more frequent
users than are those employed in single-unit companies. Likewise, the
impact of industry is significant in both models. Compared to respondents
employed in the oil and gas sector, respondents employed in other indus-
tries have less access to VC and are therefore less likely to use the tech-
nology. This finding supports previous findings that oil and gas
companies are the most advanced VC users in Norwegian trade and
industry (e.g., Denstadli & Julsrud, 2003). Company size is significant
in Model A but not in Model B. Our results show that although people
working in larger companies are more likely to have access to VC equip-
ment than are those in smaller companies, the overall usage does not dif-
fer significantly between larger and smaller companies that do have
access. (For this regression analysis, we did not distinguish between dif-
ferent technical platforms.)
The variables for university degree and age demonstrate a significant
impact on Model A, and the management position demonstrates a signifi-
cant impact on Model B. The impact of gender is nonsignificant in both the
models. While VC access is not related to the individual’s position in the
company, results demonstrate that usage is. Respondents who are company
managers (top and middle management) and project managers display sig-
nificantly higher usage than do respondents in nonmanagerial positions.
Univariate tests (not displayed in the tables) reveal that these two groups
attend some 15 VCs per year on average compared to 8 and 9 for supervi-
sors and nonmanagers, respectively.
Virtual Versus FTF Meetings
Respondents provided information on the latest VC meeting they had
attended as well as on the business meeting they were going to or had been
to when we recruited them to take part in the survey.
Purpose of meeting. Table 4 provides a summary of the main purpose of
these meetings. The most common purpose for both the VC and the FTF
meetings was project work of some kind (53%of VC meetings and 30%
of FTF meetings). The purpose of nearly three fourths of the VC meetings
was either information exchange (21%) or project work (53%) whereas the
FTF meetings had a wider range of purposes. Also, board and management
meetings were often arranged as VCs (10%). With the exception of service
tasks, VCs were used for all the same purposes as FTF meetings.
76 Journal of Business and Technical Communication 26(1)
Participation. The types of participants at the last VC and FTF meetings
are shown in Table 5. A majority of the VC meetings were intraorganiza-
tional (70%), including participants from the main office or a satellite
office. The corresponding share for the FTF meetings was 42%. But even
though a high percentage of the VC meetings were of an intracompany
nature, VCs were also used, to a lesser extent, for contacts with customers
(14%) and suppliers (10%). Because the FTF meetings were used for a
wider range of purposes, the types of participants at these meetings tended
to be more varied.
Planning. An advantage of VCs is that they can be convened promptly
whereas FTF meetings often entail booking travel tickets or hotels and
Table 4. Main Purpose of the Respondents’ Latest Videoconference (VC) and
Face-to-Face (FTF) Meetings
Main Purpose VC (%) FTF (%)
Conference/seminar 1 17
Education/course 6 13
Project work 53 30
Information exchange 21 6
Negotiation/discussion 3 6
Marketing/sale/product demonstration 3 5
Service — 4
Consultancy 1 5
Board meeting and management meeting 10 7
Other 2 7
Total 100 100
Table 5. Participants in the Latest Videoconference (VC) and Face-to-Face (FTF)
Meetings (Multiple Answers Possible)
Participants VC (%) FTF (%)
Customers 14 29
Supplier/contractor 10 18
Main/satellite office in the company 70 42
Public authorities in Norway 7 17
International authorities/organizations 1 3
Consultants 7 11
University, academic experts 5 12
Other 5 11
Denstadli et al. 77
taking the time to travel. Our results show that whereas almost half of all the
VC meetings were planned within 1 week, less than 20%of the FTF meet-
ings involved such a short planning time (see Table 6).
Because a VC can be convened promptly, it seems like a reasonable
replacement for an FTF meeting. But only 6%of the respondents stated that
they had considered having the meeting as a VC rather than traveling to
meet FTF. The reasons that they mentioned most for opting for an FTF
meeting were that the particular type of meeting they were holding was not
suitable for a VC (66%) and that they wanted more social contact with their
meeting partners (59%; see Table 7).
In 18%of the reported VCs, the respondents had considered meeting
FTF instead (see Table 8). In one fifth of the project meetings and one
fourth of the board meetings, respondents had considered meeting FTF.
Their main reason for not traveling to do so was to save time and costs.
This finding indicates that there is an overlap between travel and meet-
ings and that in at least some cases, VC was used to avoid business
travel. At the same time, most decisions for VCs were made without con-
sidering the FTF alternative, suggesting that VC is generally used as an
Table 6. Planning Time for the Latest Videoconference (VC) and Face-to-Face
Planning Time VC (%) FTF (%)
The same day 5 —
1-3 days before 18 5
3-7 days before 26 14
1-2 weeks before 20 22
2-4 weeks before 14 24
1 month or longer before 17 35
Total 100 100
Table 7. Reason For Setting Up a Face-to-Face (FTF) Meeting as Opposed to a
Videoconference ([VC] Multiple Answers Possible)
VC was not suitable for this type of meeting. 66
We wanted more social contact with the meeting partner. 59
The meeting partner did not have access to VC. 7
The quality of the VC was not good enough. 3
78 Journal of Business and Technical Communication 26(1)
independent communication tool, adding to the traditional form of meet-
ing and available systems for mediated communication.
Duration. The results showed significant differences in the duration of the
two modes of business meetings (see Table 9). In general, FTF meetings
were more than three times as long as VCs, with an average duration of
about 5 hours. The most time-consuming FTF meetings were for the pur-
poses of conferences and service. In contrast, VCs on average lasted less
Table 9. Purpose and Mean Duration of Last Videoconference (VC) and Face-
to-Face (FTF) Meeting
Duration of Last Meeting (Hours)
Purpose of Meeting VC SD FTF SD
Conference/seminar 1.0 0.7 5.9 2.5
Education/course 1.7 1.1 5.6 1.7
Project/work 1.6 1.4 5.4 2.0
Information 1.1 0.9 4.8 2.0
Negotiation/discussion 1.5 1.6 4.0 2.0
Marketing/sale/product demo 1.7 1.5 4.2 2.6
Service – – 6.3 3.3
Consultancy 2.2 2.4 5.0 2.1
Board/management meeting 2.1 1.3 5.2 1.7
Other 1.4 0.7 5.6 5.2
Total 1.5 1.3 5.2 2.4
Table 8. Purpose for Last Videoconference (VC) and Whether Respondents Had
Considered Meeting Face-to-Face (FTF)
Consider Meeting FTF?
Purpose for VC Yes (%) No (%) Total (%)
Training or education 5 95 100
Project team meeting 20 80 100
Information exchange 10 90 100
Negotiations 19 81 100
Marketing/sales meeting 47 53 100
Board meeting/other managerial meeting 25 75 100
Other 20 80 100
All 18 82 100
Denstadli et al. 79
than 2 hours, the most time-consuming being consultancy (averaging 2.2
hours) and board meetings (averaging 2.1 hours).
Respondents’ Attitudes About the Advantages and
Disadvantages of VC
To determine the respondents’ attitudes toward VC use, our survey
asked them whether they agreed or disagreed with statements about
the advantages and disadvantages of VC. The statements about the
advantages of VC meetings can be sorted into two groups: (a) improves
efficiency in exchanging information and making decisions and (b)
saves time and the environment and reduces strain. The statements
about the disadvantages of VC relate to its negative social aspects (see
The results for the two groups of statements about the advantages of VC
show that respondents with VC access at their workplace are significantly
more positive than are those without access. Those with VC access agree
more than do those without such access that VC meetings improve effi-
ciency in the decision-making process, in the handling of information, and
in contacting collaborating partners. The results also show that more people
with VC access think that VC use reduces the inconvenience of travel and
helps to reduce environmental strain.
Those with VC access disagree more often about the negative social
aspects of VC than do those without, but for several of these factors, the
majority of respondents with experience and equipment agree about the
social deficiency of VC meetings. The majority agree that VC is a poor sub-
stitute for personal meetings, is not suitable for meeting with unknown peo-
ple, and is a more difficult scenario in which to develop contacts.
In sum, the results show that, compared to the respondents who did not
have VC access, those with VC experience tended to have more positive
attitudes toward VC and were more likely to disagree with statements
emphasizing the negative social aspects of VC. At the same time, most of
the respondents believed that VC is a tool for improving decision making,
saving time, and reducing travel stress. Among VC users, the strongest
arguments for VC are the opportunities it affords to reduce stress due to
travel, reduce environmental strain, and save time. The results show that the
main disadvantages of VC are that it is not suitable for meetings between
participants who do not know one another and that it makes developing con-
80 Journal of Business and Technical Communication 26(1)
Table 10. Responses to Statements About Videoconferencing (VC) According to VC Access
Improves Efficiency Disagree (%) Neither Agree nor Disagree (%) Agree (%)
VC makes decision processes more efficient Have VC 13 27 60
Do not have VC 12 33 55
All 12 29 59
VC gives better flow of information Have VC 18 34 48
Do not have VC 16 39 45
All 17 36 47
VC improves contact with collaborating partners Have VC 23 27 49
Do not have VC 22 34 44
All 23 29 48
Saves time and the environment and reduces strain
VC saves time Have VC 19 3 77
Do not have VC 3 10 87
All 2 6 92
VC reduces the strain connected with traveling Have VC 2 4 94
Do not have VC 6 10 84
All 3 5 92
VC saves the environment and climate Have VC 3 5 92
Do not have VC 4 9 87
All 3 6 90
Table 10 (continued)
Improves Efficiency Disagree (%) Neither Agree nor Disagree (%) Agree (%)
Negative social aspects
VC is a poor substitute for personal meetings Have VC 30 18 52
Do not have VC 22 20 58
All 27 19 54
VC is not suitable for meetings with people I don’t know Have VC 18 12 70
Do not have VC 13 18 69
All 16 14 70
VC makes it more difficult to develop contacts Have VC 23 23 55
Do not have VC 18 26 56
All 21 24 55
Does not suit my type of work Have VC 54 24 22
Do not have VC 27 21 53
All 45 23 32
Note: Some rows in the table add up to 99% or 101% due to the rounding up of decimals.
The data in this survey have given us the opportunity to look more closely at
the use of VC among a sample of Norwegians who were traveling on busi-
ness. The findings have provided us with a clearer picture of the role that
this technology and such meetings play in working life today and of how
VC interrelates with regular FTF meetings. In discussing the findings fur-
ther, we suggest a framework for understanding the situations that motivate
VC and FTF business meetings. Finally, we discuss the implications of the
results for further research.
Is VC Technology for Everyone?
A new wave of technologies and services has made VC available on plat-
forms other than traditional room-based ones and, as we have seen, has had
some impact on the overall access and use of such VC media. Even though
the room-based facility is still the most widely used VC platform in busi-
nesses, Internet protocol–based and mobile VC now have a strong foothold.
With the advent of Internet protocol–based con ference systems (e. g., Skype
and instant messaging) and the distribution of VC computer programs (e.g.,
Netmeeting and Cucmee), VC is generally much more available for business
users now thanit was just a few years ago. Yet, there are markeddifferences in
access and use in the business market as a whole. The technology is still most
common in larger multinational companies in the areas of engineering, tech-
nology development, banking, and finance. An interesting question is whether
the uptake of new VC technologies will change this picture in the coming
years. Our results show that microenterprises and small-to-medium enterprises
are the most active adopters of alternative ways of using VC.
Our results also show that VC is used most frequently by top and middle
managers, reflecting earlier investigations of the use of VC in work organi-
zations (Denstadli & Julsrud, 2003). Yet project managers too are frequent
users, and the results indicate that VC is used more as a working tool for
projects than for board and management meetings. At least for the larger
enterprises, VC appears to be a working tool for collaboration on geographi-
cally distributed intraorganizational projects.
How are FTF Meetings and VCs similar?
In one way, VC and FTF meetings are similar—both cater to a variety of
types of business meetings (i.e., internal staff meetings as well as meetings
Denstadli et al. 83
with external partners). VC is even used for meetings with customers and
clients. Still, our study found some striking differences between VC and
FTF meetings. First, VC is a stronger component of internal meetings. In
this way, our study replicates some earlier investigations on the use of
VC systems in organizations (Arnfalk & Kogg, 2003; Denstadli & Julsrud,
2003; Lu & Peeta, 2009).
VC is generally preferred to FTF meetings when the meeting participants
already know each other or have perhaps met FTF on former occasions. But
this study reveals that a high number of project-based meetings also are held
as VCs. In addition to FTF management meetings, VC is often used to com-
municate in teams and groups, and project work is the most common pur-
pose of VCs. These findings, perhaps, suggest how VC relates to the
growing use of distributed and virtual teams in many modern organizations
(Duarte & Snyder, 2001; Hinds & Kiesler, 2002). Moreover, results have
shown that VCs save time, both in planning and in the duration of the meet-
ing itself. In today’s organizations, VC often takes place in situations
that call for emergency meetings because it circumvents the more elaborate
and time-consuming process of setting up an FTF meeting that participants
must travel to attend.
Although the uses of VC and FTF meetings clearly overlap, VC appears
more oriented toward ad hoc gatherings to work on geographically distrib-
uted projects because it saves time and reduces the strain of business travel-
ing for managers in larger (dispersed) organizations. This finding indicates
that these two modes of communication—FTF and VC—are motivated by
nonhomogeneous needs in the organizations.
What Determines Preferred Modes of Communication?
As this study shows, VC and FTF represent two alternative modes of com-
munication in a large number of organizations. This situation raises the
question as to what motivates an organization to arrange a VC rather than
an FTF meeting and vice versa. Existing theories have pointed at commu-
nication content as an important factor determining the potential use of VC
as well as at social norms embedded in organizations. From a more organi-
zational point of view, the value of physical meetings in developing social
relations and social capital has been discussed as a potential barrier to using
Based on empirical data presented here, we argue that both content and
social relationships are important. A majority of the respondents who use
VC agree that with VC it is more difficult to develop new relationships and
84 Journal of Business and Technical Communication 26(1)
that VC is not suited for meetings in which participants do not already know
each other. This finding strongly suggests that social considerations affect
the decision to set up a VC or an FTF meeting. The respondents also see
communication tasks as important, however, and many find that VC does
not match well with their particular tasks (see Table 10). But the fact that
many feel that VC makes the communication process more efficient sug-
gests that this way of meeting would have qualities that make it beneficial
for particular tasks.
Thus, both communication content and the need for developing social
relations are important motives in deciding whether to use VC. In addition,
we have documented that the use of VC is affected by organizational time
and space constraints. VCs are often spurred by the participants’ lack of
time for traveling and a dispersed organizational structure. Figure 1 illus-
trates how relational and task-related dimensions (i.e., content) as well as
time and travel constraints motivate choices for using VC or FTF meetings.
The desire to develop new relationships and to handle tasks with high ambi-
guity will increase the tendency to prefer an FTF meeting, particularly if
travel constraints are low. On the contrary, the need for communicating
about low-ambiguity tasks and sustaining or exploiting preexisting relation-
ships will increase the tendency for selecting VC, particularly if the travel
Building new ties
of weak ties
Figure 1. Relational and task-related dimensions that motivate choices for
videoconferencing (VC) or face-to-face (FTF) business meetings.
Denstadli et al. 85
constraints are high. Figure 1, then, depicts how these two distinct modes of
communication, FTF and VC, tend to fulfill slightly different needs in
today’s business life.
This article has reported the findings from our study of 1,411 Norwegian
business air travelers’ use of VC at business meetings. These findings have
certain limitations: Since the response rate was only 10%, we do not know
how well the findings represent business air travelers even though they
match the NATS sample on important characteristics. Also, this sample
of business travelers does not necessarily reflect the larger basis of employ-
ees in business organizations in Norway. For instance, the data comprise
information from business air travelers only. We have no information on
those business people who do not indulge in air travel—a group that may
include people who use telecommunication to replace business trips. In that
respect, this group is particularly interesting and is worth specific attention
in future research.
Our study indicates that VC is a central choice for meetings with partners
and collaborators located at remote sites. As we have seen, the use of this
form of meeting is significant, particularly in large organizations with multi-
ple locations. Even though room-based systems are still predominant, new
technical platforms for VC based on third-generation mobile telecommunica-
tion and regular Internet protocol networks are often preferred by smaller
organizations. Further adoption of these systems may change how VC is used
and, on a larger scale, how meetings are conducted in the modern workplace.
Even though a number of theories have been concerned with the impact
of new electronic media on organizational communication, few studies
have explicitly compared the way VC and FTF meetings are used in modern
organizations. By conducting a systematic comparison of these two modes
of meetings, we have found that VC and FTF meetings seem to operate
complementarily in collaborations over distance. Even though VC may
be used for a variety of purposes, it is currently used mainly as a tool for
collaboration in intraorganizational (distributed) projects and managerial
meetings. Thus, the benefits of VC—in relation to saving time and reducing
travel-related stress—do not seem to be making FTF meetings redundant in
modern work organizations. FTF meetings provide opportunities for devel-
oping new business connections and engaging in informal conversations—
crucial motives for choosing FTF meetings and (in turn) business travel. As
such, many FTF meetings probably cannot readily be replaced by VC, and a
86 Journal of Business and Technical Communication 26(1)
large share of VC is not initiated as an alternative to an FTF business
Many previous studies on the use of VC in organizations have looked at
opportunities to substitute VC for FTF meetings on a larger scale and
thereby reduce the cost of business travel (Andreev et al., 2010; Mokhtar-
ian, 2003). Our findings, however, indicate that most companies tend to use
both VC and FTF meetings. Future study in this area should be about devel-
oping a better understanding of how the two meeting modes serve comple-
mentary functions over time and of the factors that motivate decisions to use
one over the other.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the
research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/
or publication of this article.
1. Note that we received all the necessary approvals to do human subjects research.
2. We have not considered here whether norms in organizations are important for
VC use because our data do not provide such information. Yet, it seems likely
that the norms of organizations and collaborators will affect user frequency.
Adler, P. S., & Heckscher, C. (2006). Towards a collaborative community. In
C. Heckscher & P. Adler (Eds.), The firm as a collaborative community
(pp. 11-105). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Adler, P. S., & Kwon, S. (2002). Social capital: Prospects for a new concept. Acad-
emy of Management Journal,27, 17-40.
Aguilera, A. (2008). Business travel and mobile workers. Transportation Research
Part A,42, 1109-1116.
Andreev, P., Salomon, I., & Pliskin, N. (2010). Review: State of teleactivities.
Transportation Research Part C,18, 3-20.
Arnfalk, P., & Kogg, B. (2003). Service transformation: Managing a shift from busi-
ness travel to virtual meetings. Journal of Cleaner Production,11, 859-872.
Asheim, B., Coenen, L., & Vang, J. (2007). Face-to-face, buzz, and knowledge
bases: Sociospatial implications for learning, innovation, and innovation policy.
Environment and Planning C–Government and Policy,25, 655-670.
Denstadli et al. 87
Barley, S. R., & Kunda, G. (2001). Bringing work back in. Organizational Science,
Bijker, W. E., & Law, J. (1992). General introduction. In W. E. Bijker & J. Law
(Eds.), Shaping technology/building society: Studies in sociotechnical change.
Cambridge, MA: MIT press.
Carlson, J. R., & Zmud, R. W. (1999). Channel expansion theory and the experimen-
tal nature of media richness perception. Academy of Management Journal,42,
Castells, M. (1996). The rise of the network society; the information age: Economy,
society and culture. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Cohen, D., & Prusak, L. (2001). In good company: How social capital makes
organizations work. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Denstadli, J. M. (2004). Impacts of videoconferencing on business travel: The
Norwegian experience. Journal of Air Transport Management,10, 371-376.
Denstadli, J. M., & Gripsrud, M. (2010). Face-to-face by travel or picture: The rela-
tionship between travelling and video communication in business settings. In
J. V. Beaverstock, B. Derudder, J. Faulconbridge, & F. Witlox (Eds.), Interna-
tional business travel in the global economy (pp. 217-238). Farnham, England:
Denstadli, J. M., & Julsrud, T. E. (2003). Videoconferencing in Norwegian industry
and commerce: Increased use, less travel? Oslo, Norway: Institute of Transport
Denstadli, J. M., & Rideng, A. (2010). Norwegian air travel survey 2010. Oslo,
Norway: Institute of Transport Economics.
Dicken, P. (2007). The global shift: Mapping the changing contours of the world
economy. London, England: SAGE.
Drucker, P. (1994). Post-capitalist society. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
Duarte, D. L., & Snyder, N. T. (2001). Virtual teams: Strategies, tools and
techniques that work. Chichester, England: Wiley.
Faulconbridge, J. R., & Beaverstock, J. V. (2010). Geographies of interpersonal
business travel in the professional service economy. In D. Hislop (Ed.), Mobility
and technology in the workplace (pp. 87-101). London, NY: Routledge.
Fulk, J., & Collins-Jarvis, L. (2001). Wiredmeetings: Technological mediation of orga-
nizational gatherings. In F. M. Jablin & L. L. Putnam (Eds.), The new handbook of
organizational communication (pp. 624-663). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Fulk, J., Schmidtz, J., & Steinfield, C. W. (1990). A social influence model of
technology use. In J. Fulk & C. W. Steinfield (Eds.), Organizations and commu-
nication technology (pp. 117-140). Newbury Park, CA: SAGE.
Gabbay, S. M., & Leenders, A. J. (2001). Social capital of organizations: From social
structure to the management of corporate social capital. In S. M. Gabbay &
88 Journal of Business and Technical Communication 26(1)
A. J. Leenders (Eds.), Social capital of organizations (pp. 1-20). Oxford, UK:
Geels, F. W., & Smith, W. A. (2000). Failed technology futures: Pitfalls and lessons
from a historical survey. Futures,32, 867-885.
Handy, C. (1995). Trust and the virtual organization: How do you manage people
whom you do not see? Harvard Business Review,73, 40-50.
Haynes, P. (2010). Information and communication technology and international
business travel: Mobility allies? Mobilities,5, 547-564.
Heckscher, C. (1994). Defining the post-bureaucratic type. In C. Heckscher &
A. Donnelon (Eds.), The post-bureaucratic organization: New perspectives on
organizational change (pp. 14-62). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Hinds, P., & Kiesler, S. (2002). Distributed work. Cambridge, MA: MIT press.
Kiesler, S., & Cummings, J. N. (2002). What do we know about proximity and
distance in work groups? A legacy of research. In P. Hinds & S. Kiesler (Eds.),
Distributed work (pp. 57-82). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Kloppenborg, T. J., & Petrick, J. A. (1999). Meeting management and group
character development. Journal of Managerial Issues,11, 166-179.
Kock, N. (2005). Media richness or media naturalness? The evolution of our bio-
logical communication apparatus and its influence on our behavior. Toward
e-communication tools. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication,
Kraut, R., Fussel, S. R, Brennan, S. E., & Siegel, J. (2002). Understanding effects of
proximity on collaboration: Implications for technology to support remote colla-
borative work. In P. Hinds & S. Kiesler (Eds.), Distributed work (pp. 137-163).
Cambridge, MA: MIT press.
Larsen, J., Urry, J., & Axhausen, K. (2008). Coordinating face-to-face meetings in
mobile network societies. Information, Communication & Society,11, 640-658.
Lian, J. I., & Denstadli, J. M. (2004). Norwegian business air travel: Segments and
trends. Journal of Air Transport Management,10, 109-118.
Lin, N. (2001). Social capital: A theory of social structure and action. New York,
NY: Cambridge University Press.
Lu, J. L., & Peeta, S. (2009). Analysis of the factors that influence the relationship
between business air travel and videoconferencing. Transportation Research
Part A,43, 709-721.
McGrath, J. E., & Hollingshead, A. B. (1994). Groups interacting with technology:
Ideas, evidence, issues and an agenda. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Mok, D., Carrasco, J. A., & Wellman, B. (2009). Does distance still matter in the age
of the Internet? Urban Studies,46, 2747-2783.
Mokhtarian, P. L. (2003). Telecommunications and travel: The case for complemen-
tarity. Journal of Industrial Ecology,6, 43-57.
Denstadli et al. 89
Mokhtarian, P. L., & Meenakshisundaram, R. (1999). Beyond tele-substitution:
Disaggregate longitudinal structural equation modeling of communication
impacts. Transportation Research Part C,7, 33-52.
Nahapiet, J., & Sumantra, G. (1998). Social capital, intellectual capital and the orga-
nizational advantage. Academy of Management Journal,23, 242-266.
Nardi, B., & Whittaker, S. (2002). The place of face-to-face communication in dis-
tributed work. In P. Hinds & S. Kiesler (Eds.), Distributed work (pp. 83-111).
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Nohria, N., & Eccles, R. G. (1991). Face-to-face: Making network organizations
work. In N. Nohria & R. Eccles (Eds.), Networks and organizations: Structure,
form, and action (pp. 288-308). Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Potter, J. (2004). Theory of media literacy: A cognitive approach. Thousand Oaks,
Rettie, R. (2010). Mobile phones as social capital. Mobilities,3, 291-311.
Salomon, I. (1986). Telecommunications and travel relationships: A review. Trans-
portation Research Part A,20, 223-238.
Schwartzman, H. (1989). The meeting: Gathering in organizations and commu-
nities. New York, NY: Plenum.
Short, J. A., Williams, E., & Christie, B. (1976). The social psychology of the tele-
communications. London, England: John Wiley.
Silverstone, R., & Haddon, L. (1996). Design and domestication of information and
communication technologies: Technical change and everyday life. In
R. Silverstone & R. Mansell (Eds.), Communication by design: The politics of
information and communication technologies (pp. 45-72). Oxford, UK: Oxford
Storper, M., & Venables, A. (2004). Buzz: Face-to-face contact and the urban
economy. Journal of Economic Geography,85, 351-70.
Trevino, L. K., Lengel, R. H., & Daft, R. L. (1987). Media symbolism, media rich-
ness, and media choice in organizations. Communication Research,14, 553-574.
Urry, J. (2007). Mobilities. Cambridge, UK: Polity.
Walther, J. B., & Parks, M. (2002). Cues filtered out, cues filtered in. In M. Knapp &
J. A. Daly (Eds.), Handbook of interpersonal communication (pp. 529-563).
Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Weick, K. E. (1995). Sensemaking in oganizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Jon Martin Denstadli is a senior research economist at the Institute of Transport
Economics. He has worked extensively with travel behavior in enterprises and has
special competence in quantitative research methods.
90 Journal of Business and Technical Communication 26(1)
Tom Erik Julsrud holds a doctoral degree in sociology. He works as a research
scientist at the Institute of Transport Economics in Oslo and as an associate profes-
sor at Trondheim University College.
Randi Johanne Hjorthol is a chief research sociologist at the Institute of Transport
Economics. Her research on various topics in travel behavior and mobility spans
more than 25 years, and she has published extensively in academic journals and
Denstadli et al. 91