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A Review of Key Issues in IT-mediated Collaboration. SAONEE SARKER lecture notes have been developed from Nunamaker et al. 1991, Dennis et al. 2008, Sarker and Sarker 2009, Sarker and Sahay 2006, and Sarker et al. , Forthcoming 2010. Discussion Outline. Background What is collaboration?

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A review of key issues in it mediated collaboration

A Review of Key Issues in IT-mediated Collaboration

SAONEE SARKER

lecture notes have been developed from Nunamaker et al. 1991, Dennis et al. 2008, Sarker and Sarker 2009, Sarker and Sahay 2006, and Sarker et al. , Forthcoming 2010


Discussion outline
Discussion Outline

Background

  • What is collaboration?

  • What are different contexts in which collaboration occurs?

  • What are complexities associated with collaboration?

  • What are some relevant IT/media characteristics that can help address these complexities?

  • What are the key ingredients of effective collaboration?

    An Emerging Facet of Collaboration -- Agility

  • How can globally distributed teams be agile?

    Concluding Remarks



Collaboration
Collaboration

  • A group of individuals working together…

  • Among knowledge workers, successful collaboration often involves/requires:

    • Communication and coordination

      • conveyance and (more importantly) convergence

    • Shared focus

    • Shared frame of reference

    • Shared norms

    • Shared identity – formation of “groupness”, mutuality

    • Relevant pooled skills

  • Communication <> Collaboration

    • For complex, interdependent tasks, the group has to “develop” to a stage where collaboration occurs.



What type of task did you work on what would have happened if the task was different
What type of task did you work on? you have participated in.What would have happened if the task was different?


A typology of group tasks from strauss 1999
A Typology of Group Tasks you have participated in.(from Strauss 1999)





Contexts of Collaboration to complete a task?

Same Time

Same

Place

Different

Place

Different Time


Same Time to complete a task?

Videoconferencing between

New York and Boston

Live Meetings

in Electronic

Meeting Facility

Same

Place

Different

Place

WSU faculty with different

teaching schedules

co-authoring a journal paper

Distributed IS development

Involving participants situated in Seattle, Copenhagen, and

Hyderabad

Different Time


What are the complexities associated with collaboration? to complete a task?

WHAT TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS CAN HELP ADDRESS THE COMPLEXITIES?


Selected collaboration complexities
Selected Collaboration Complexities to complete a task?

  • Failure to Remember

  • Information Overload

  • Conformance Pressure

  • Evaluation Apprehension

  • Free Riding, Social Loafing

  • Air Time Fragmentation

  • Attenuation Blocking

  • Domination

  • Sole Task Focus


Some collaboration technology features
Some Collaboration Technology Features to complete a task?

  • Group Memory/Reprocessability

  • Anonymity

  • Parallelism

  • Immediacy of Feedback/Transmission velocity

  • Multiplicity of Cues

  • Rehearsability

  • Shared Space (substituting for shared place)

  • Transparency/visibility

  • Sociality

  • Applications

    • e-Calendaring, e-Voting, e-timers, and e-reminders


Comments are shared with others
Comments are to complete a task?shared with others


Comments may be displayed on shared screens
Comments may be to complete a task?displayed on shared screens


Create a Folder to complete a task?


Invite Participants to complete a task?


Create an agenda
Create an Agenda to complete a task?


Electronic brainstorming
Electronic Brainstorming to complete a task?


Topic Commenter to complete a task?


Casting your ballot
Casting your ballot to complete a task?


Mapping tech properties to complexities addressed
Mapping Tech Properties to Complexities Addressed to complete a task?

  • Group Memory/Reprocessability

  • Anonymity

  • Parallelism

  • Transparency/visibility

  • Sociality

  • Immediacy of Feedback/Transmission velocity

  • Shared Space (substituting for shared place)

  • Multiplicity of Cues

  • Rehearsability

  • Applications

    • e-Calendaring

    • e-Voting

    • e-timers and e-reminders

  • Failure to Remember

  • Information Overload

  • Conformance Pressure

  • Evaluation Apprehension

  • Free Riding, Social Loafing

  • Air Time Fragmentation

  • Attenuation Blocking

  • Domination

  • Sole Task Focus


Collaboration complexities in distributed settings
Collaboration Complexities in to complete a task?Distributed Settings

  • Problems arising from geographical separation

    • Limited human connection due to lack of physical situatedness

    • Ineffective communication due to lack of well accepted norms

    • Suspicion arising from the inability to verify actions

  • Problems arising from different cultural contexts

    • Mismatch in language

    • Misunderstandings arising from dissimilar conversational/ writing styles

    • Uncertainty caused by remote members switching to native language in meetings

    • Confusions related to the differences in festivals and holidays

    • Different work ideologies


Collaboration complexities in distributed settings1
Collaboration Complexities in Distributed Settings to complete a task?

  • Problems arising from ‘clock time’ differences and subjective interpretations

    • Mismatches in the physiological and social rhythms in different time zones.

    • Confusions regarding reference to time and time adjustments

    • Unproductive waits for other side to respond with clarifications/feedback

    • Unsympathetic/suspicious interpretations of time lapses (e.g. silence, missing deadlines)


Mapping tech properties to complexities in distributed settings
Mapping Tech Properties to Complexities in Distributed Settings

  • Immediacy of Feedback/Transmission velocity

  • Reprocessability

  • Shared Space (substituting for shared place)

  • Sociality

  • Multiplicity of Cues

  • Transparency

  • Rehearsability

  • Applications

    • e-Calendaring

    • e-Voting

    • e-timers and e-reminders

  • Limited human connection

  • Suspicion

  • Mismatch in languages/misunderstandings

  • Confusion due to different festivals/holidays

  • Confusions regarding reference to time and time adjustments

  • Delay in response/feedback from other side


Beyond the Traditional complexities of Collaboration in distributed Settings: How can globally distributed teams be agile?


A possible global is development scenario
A distributed Settings: How can globally distributed teams be agile? Possible Global IS Development Scenario

Site 2

Roles,

competencies,

maturity

Country 2

Site i

Specific roles,

competencies,

maturity

A project environment where speed of delivery is essential and changes/ crises can occur any time, with or without prior notice

Vendor i

Vendor j, k

Site 1

Specific roles, competencies, maturity

  • Geographical and temporal distances

  • Technology-mediated communication

Site j

Specific roles,

competencies,

maturity

Country 1

Client Reps

Country 3


What is agility
What is Agility? distributed Settings: How can globally distributed teams be agile?

  • Ability to “detect new techniques” and adapt those to the organization (Lui and Piccoli 2006, p. 123)

  • Incorporating both the “sensing and response capabilities” of the firm (e.g., Overby et al. 2006; Sambamurthy et al. 2003)

  • “Innovative response to an unpredictable change” (van Oosterhout et al. 2007, p. 53)

  • Some say ISD agility arises from the use of different agile methods a (e.g., Scrum, XP) and practices such that organizations and ISD project teams are able to handle change

  • To summarize, involves “creation,” “proaction,” “reaction,” and “learning” (Conboy and Fitzgerald 2007)


Types of Agility in Distributed ISD Settings distributed Settings: How can globally distributed teams be agile?

32


Conclusion thinking ahead
Conclusion…… Thinking Ahead distributed Settings: How can globally distributed teams be agile?


Mobile collaboration
Mobile Collaboration distributed Settings: How can globally distributed teams be agile?

  • Members with spatial, temporal, and contextual mobility

    • Corporate cruisers/wanderers

    • Globe trotters/visitors

    • Road warriors/travelers

  • How can MCTs with capabilities such as portability, location-awareness, reachability, ability to “fill in dead spots” help?


First dimension of the grid
First dimension of the Grid distributed Settings: How can globally distributed teams be agile?

  • Degree of Mobility of Group Members

    • Low (occasional “wandering” an “visiting” for short durations– members are mostly corporate cruisers or corporate wanderers)

    • High ( high volume of “traveling,” and “visiting” for extended durations by members– one or more members are road warriors or globetrotters)


Second dimension of the grid
Second Dimension of the Grid distributed Settings: How can globally distributed teams be agile?

  • One key dimension of categorizing groups is by their “temporal scope” (McGrath 1984)

    • Refers to the length of time during which a group will be in existence

      • Some groups may exist for a long duration, therefore, requiring less time for building social relationships and “getting to know each other” (e.g., volunteer organizations)

      • Other groups may be in operation for only a short time, assembled together quickly to perform a task, thereby needing extra emphasis on developing a “bond” or “working relationship” quickly (e.g., project teams) (e.g., DeFillippi 2002)


Third dimension of the grid
Third Dimension of the Grid distributed Settings: How can globally distributed teams be agile?

  • Time Pressure under which the group performs (Saunders 2000; Bourgeois and Eisenhardt 1988)

    • High (teams in high time pressure are extremely task-focused, engaged in “several simultaneous activities” at the same time (Esbjornsson and Ostergren 2002).

    • Low


The group collaboration technology grid
The Group Collaboration Technology Grid distributed Settings: How can globally distributed teams be agile?


The group collaboration technology grid contd
The Group Collaboration Technology Grid (contd.) distributed Settings: How can globally distributed teams be agile?

  • Cell H

    • Low Temporal Scope

    • High and intense Time Pressure

    • High extent of mobility of group members

    • Members will need to collaborate even while “traveling” or “visiting” other locations

    • Features of mobile technologies (e.g., reachability, portability, and accessibility) will enable the group members to communicate and collaborate even while in a state of high mobility


The elements underlying effective collaboration
The Elements Underlying Effective Collaboration… distributed Settings: How can globally distributed teams be agile?

  • Result of managing a complex socio-technical process, IT alone cannot be the solution

  • Appropriate technologies/technological features must be utilized (“task-technology fit,” “culture technology fit”)

    • US-Chinese systems development teams using IM effectively

  • Matching norms and work practices appropriated

    • requires careful development of team with large number of members and handling complex interdependent tasks

    • Incentive systems, leadership, trust, knowledge transfer…

  • Larger human concerns such as WLB and collaboration ethics addressed


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