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Connecting Across Miles and Wires: Examining Collaborative Capital Development in Virtual Spaces

Collaborative Capital: Creating Intangible Value

ISBN: 978-0-76231-222-1, eISBN: 978-1-84950-351-8

Publication date: 22 July 2005


Collaborative capital, or the capacity to work effectively with others toward shared goals and outcomes, reflects an accumulation of both skills and resources by individuals or groups. Traditionally, these skills and resources represented products of experiences in face-to-face task or interest groups. More recently, reflective of organizational trends to collaborate more often across both geographical and organizational boundaries, these experiences have been mediated by technologies designed to facilitate collaborative work. Often, however, the people using the technologies already know one another and interact face-to-face periodically. In contrast, in this chapter, we focus on a new technology-enabled social form, the multi-day online conference enabled by iCohere, an emerging groupware technology supporting the conference, to examine how collaborative capital might be built in and among previously unacquainted, globally distributed individuals. Using Erickson and Kellogg's notion of “social translucence” we explore the case of one online conference attended by over 600 participants in 50 countries to identify technologic and social infrastructures conducive to the generation of new collaborative capital through participation in virtual spaces. By design, the technology and conference plan replicated common conference experiences conducive to collaborative capital development, but conference attendees also interacted and participated in ways that transcended the possibilities of a face-to-face conference. We anticipate these findings to be interesting for both managers and project team leaders seeking to foster collaborative capital development with the aid of modern communication and collaboration technologies.


Godwin, L. and Rennecker, J. (2005), "Connecting Across Miles and Wires: Examining Collaborative Capital Development in Virtual Spaces", Beyerlein, M.M., Beyerlein, S.T. and Kennedy, F.A. (Ed.) Collaborative Capital: Creating Intangible Value (Advances in Interdisciplinary Studies of Work Teams, Vol. 11), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 91-113.



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