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Article
Publication date: 21 March 2016

Chirag Shah

Online collaboration – a required method for many problem-solving situations in today’s work environments – has many aspects that are not clearly understood or explored…

Abstract

Purpose

Online collaboration – a required method for many problem-solving situations in today’s work environments – has many aspects that are not clearly understood or explored. One of them is how work styles, specifically leadership styles, within a seemingly homogeneous teams with no prior role assignments affects the process and outcomes of collaboration. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the aspect of online collaboration to learn how different leadership styles that may emerge impact collaborative work.

Design/methodology/approach

The work described here employs a user study involving 84 participants in 42 pairs, working in one of the three conditions across two sessions. The three conditions are defined based on the amount and the kind of awareness provided to the team members: no awareness of personal or team progress (C1), awareness of personal progress (C2), and awareness of both personal and team progress (C3). The log and chat data from the sessions where these teams work in collecting relevant information for two different topics are collected and analysed.

Findings

Quantitative and qualitative analyses indicate the difference among the three conditions with respect to these two leadership styles. Specifically, it is found that those with the team awareness provided to them (C3) exhibited the least amounts of leadership, keeping the team relatively symmetric. The democratic nature of such teams also fostered more diverse searching behaviour and less need for communication.

Originality/value

The work reported here is a first attempt to shed light on two kinds of connections: individual and team awareness to leadership style, and leadership style to diversity of information exploration.

Details

Aslib Journal of Information Management, vol. 68 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-3806

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1999

Karin Olesen and Michael D. Myers

Discusses the use of information technology to facilitate communication and collaboration. In this action research project a groupware product called Lotus NotesTM was…

Abstract

Discusses the use of information technology to facilitate communication and collaboration. In this action research project a groupware product called Lotus NotesTM was implemented to facilitate communication and collaboration amongst the senior management team. Although there was a real need for change, and the project received strong support from senior management on the basis that it would enable radical changes in coordination within the workgroup, these radical changes did not occur. The authors analyse the reasons for failure, and suggest that the project failed because of institutional forces which inhibited dramatic changes in work habits.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

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Book part
Publication date: 26 June 2006

Markus Reihlen and Torsten Ringberg

Computer-mediated knowledge transfer has been at the forefront of consultancy research. The underlying idea is that individual knowledge can be externalized into…

Abstract

Computer-mediated knowledge transfer has been at the forefront of consultancy research. The underlying idea is that individual knowledge can be externalized into disembodied symbols and codes, which can then be disseminated and accessed electronically within and across organizations. Although the process of externalization and transfer of knowledge has been investigated from various theoretical perspectives (positivism, social constructionism, pluralism), little research has addressed the role of cognition in computer-mediated knowledge transfer. Based on a case study within an international technical consulting firm, we argue that the success or failure of computer-mediated knowledge transfer is influenced to a large degree by embodied mental frames, social networks, and individuals’ creative and explanatory use of artifacts in real-world situations.

Details

Professional Service Firms
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-302-0

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Article
Publication date: 5 June 2009

Víctor M. González, Bonnie Nardi and Gloria Mark

An ensemble is an intermediate unit of work between action and activity in the hierarchical framework proposed by classical activity theory. Ensembles are the mid‐level of…

Abstract

Purpose

An ensemble is an intermediate unit of work between action and activity in the hierarchical framework proposed by classical activity theory. Ensembles are the mid‐level of activity, offering more flexibility than objects, but more purposeful structure than actions. The paper aims to introduce the notion of ensembles to understand the way object‐related activities are instantiated in practice.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents an analysis of the practices of professional information workers in two different companies using direct and systematic observation of human behavior. It also provides an analysis and discussion of the activity theory literature and how it has been applied in areas such as human‐computer interaction and computer‐supported collaborative work.

Findings

The authors illustrate the relevance of the notion of ensembles for activity theory and suggest some benefits of this conceptualization for analyzing human work in areas such as human‐computer interaction and computer‐supported collaborative work.

Research limitations/implications

The notion of ensembles can be useful for the development of a computing infrastructure oriented to more effectively supporting work activities.

Originality/value

The paper shows that the value of the notion of ensembles is to close a conceptual gulf not adequately addressed in activity theory, and to understand the practical aspects of the instantiation of objects over time.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2006

Philip Brey

This paper addresses social and ethical issues in computer‐mediated education, with a focus on higher education. It will be argued if computer‐mediated education is to be…

Abstract

This paper addresses social and ethical issues in computer‐mediated education, with a focus on higher education. It will be argued if computer‐mediated education is to be implemented in a socially and ethically sound way, four major social and ethical issues much be confronted. These are: (1) the issue of value transfer in higher education: can social, cultural and academic values be successfully transmitted in computer‐mediated education? (2) the issue of academic freedom: are computer‐mediated educational settings conducive for academic freedom or do they threaten to undermine it? (3) the issue of equality and diversity: does a reliance on computer networks in higher education foster equality and equity for students and does it promote diversity, or does it disadvantage certain social classes and force conformity? (4) the issue of ethical student and staff behaviour: What kinds of unethical behaviour by students and staff are made possible in computer‐mediated education, and what can be done against it? Existing studies relating to these four issues are examined and some tentative policy conclusions are drawn.

Details

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-996X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1998

Philippa Levy

Computer‐mediated communication (CMC) is becoming firmly embedded into library work through the use of electronic mail, and it is likely that computer‐supported…

Abstract

Computer‐mediated communication (CMC) is becoming firmly embedded into library work through the use of electronic mail, and it is likely that computer‐supported collaborative working, using e‐mail and other forms of computer‐conferencing and groupware products, will have a key role to play in the development of integrated digital libraries across sectoral, national and international boundaries. This review paper draws on a literature survey which was undertaken as part of British Library funded research into the use of e‐mail in academic libraries between 1995‐1997. It aims to provide a digest of some influential perspectives from the literature which are likely to be of relevance to managers, team leaders and systems staff in information services who are interested in optimising the use of text‐based CMC across and between library organisations, and within teams.

Details

Program, vol. 32 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0033-0337

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2000

Jill M. Purdy, Pete Nye and P.V. (Sundar) Balakrishnan

Our need to understand the impact of communication media on negotiation is growing as technological advances offer negotiators more communication options. As access to…

Abstract

Our need to understand the impact of communication media on negotiation is growing as technological advances offer negotiators more communication options. As access to technologies such as computer chat and videoconferencing increases, negotiators are choosing to use or to avoid these media without knowing the impact of their choices on negotiations. This research assesses objective and subjective negotiation outcomes, such as profit and outcome satisfaction, across four communication media with varying levels of media richness (face‐to‐face, videoconference, telephone, and computer‐mediated communication). A conceptual framework is offered to illustrate how media richness impacts objective and subjective outcomes. Results suggest that media richness affects required bargaining time, outcome satisfaction and the desire for future negotiation interaction. Thus, the communication media for negotiations should be chosen with care.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1995

S. FOWELL and P. LEVY

Changes in teaching and learning in higher education, combined with rapid developments in electronic communications and resources, point to a new role for the information…

Abstract

Changes in teaching and learning in higher education, combined with rapid developments in electronic communications and resources, point to a new role for the information intermediary. This can be identified as a new professional practice which is termed ‘networked learner support’ by the authors of the paper and which is closely associated with the support of learning through computer‐mediated communication. The paper examines the background to this emergent practice, and offers a preliminary model for its development. The model involves practitioners' participation in collaborative networked learning, as a means of exploring and developing relevant resource knowledge and support strategies. Fundamental to the model is the view that the new practice needs to be defined from within the profession, and must be capable of taking into account and responding to the specific demands of local circumstances.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 51 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1999

Jacqui Gush

This paper sets out to examine the potential and limitations of computer mediated communication (CMC) in an educational context, and to relate this to an early pilot…

Abstract

This paper sets out to examine the potential and limitations of computer mediated communication (CMC) in an educational context, and to relate this to an early pilot project run in the 1996/97 academic year at Bournemouth University on two courses to serve the needs of students out on their work placement year. The purpose and use of CMC in this context is evaluated and the findings present an opportunity to discuss the benefits and limitations of the use of this technology in this context with a view to suggesting how the use of CMC could be extended in the future.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 41 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 1997

Philippa Levy

This article discusses the use of computer‐mediated communication (CMC) within the library and information world and suggests that participation in “virtual communities”…

Abstract

This article discusses the use of computer‐mediated communication (CMC) within the library and information world and suggests that participation in “virtual communities” may become an increasingly significant dimension of information work. Participation in “virtual community” can, for instance, be related to the delivery of a variety of services to users within all sectors, to computer‐supported collaborative work within information services, and to both informal and formal activities for professional updating, learning and development. The article identifies some concepts and issues in these areas as a means of introducing the papers in the VINE 109, which each address aspects of the “virtual community” topic.

Details

VINE, vol. 27 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0305-5728

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