The complexity of knowledge work and communication across knowledge divides

[German title: Die Komplexität von Wissensarbeit und Kommunikation über unterschiedliche Wissensstufen hinweg ]

Caroline Haythornthwaite
Information, Communication & Society 
Publisher:   Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group 
Issue: Volume 9, Number 6 / December 2006 
Pages: 761 – 780 

Abstract: Working together has always been a challenge but recent trends in who works with whom, on what, and across what regions, cultures, disciplines and time zones have conspired to increase the complexity of team work, and in particular the complexity of knowledge work and communication across knowledge divides. Drawing from literature and examples of practice obtained during research on distributed, collaborative teams, this paper examines constraints to collaborative practice. It is argued that crossing knowledge divides requires articulating often invisible, taken-for-granted knowledge-based asset specificities that constrain what is recognized and accepted as practice in the different fields or occupations involved in the collaboration. Different types of specificities are discussed as examples to stimulate recognition and articulation of distributions in practice. The paper then discusses ways of recognizing domain constraints on the way to articulating divides and achieving collaboration across distributions in knowledge, practice and technology.

Keywords: Interdisciplinarity, distributed knowledge, asset specificities, collaboration

Read the article online.

© Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group

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