Impact of collaborative technologies on knowledge sharing in distributed work environments

[German title: Der Einfluß von gemeinschaftlich nutzbaren Technologien auf die Wissensteilung in auseinanderliegenden Arbeitlsumgebungen]

France Bélanger, Christopher D. Allport (2008)
Collaborative technologies in knowledge telework: an exploratory study
Information Systems Journal 18 (1), 101–121.

Abstract: Knowledge workers in distributed work environments require substantial communication with colleagues and supervisors to perform their work activities, and collaborative technologies, like groupware, continue to improve the potential for such communication. This study investigates how an improvement in collaborative technology among a group of knowledge teleworkers impacts their communication patterns. The study focuses on one communication-based work process: knowledge sharing. The research involves a 6-month exploratory longitudinal case study of a group of teleworkers where a new groupware technology was implemented. The results indicate that while there are fewer instances of communication among group members after the technology is implemented, communication becomes more centralized around the district manager. These results suggest that increased collaborative technologies result in an adjustment between explicit and tacit knowledge sharing, as the availability of a centralized and updateable database reduces workgroup communications. However, consistent with structuration theory, telework group members do use communication technologies to address their most apparent needs and concerns. Other potential explanations and implications of these findings are discussed.

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© Blackwell Publishing, Inc.

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