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Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. ICT-enabled Collaboration
  5. ICT for Supporting Virtual Collaboration
  6. Trust for Virtual Collaboration
  7. Implications for Designing Collaboration Systems
  8. Conclusion
  9. References

The advent of information and communication technology (ICT) provides opportunities for employees with offices in geographically dispersed locations to communicate, share and collaborate on projects to achieve common business goals. Previous studies on computer-mediated communication and computer-supported cooperative work suggest that the higher utilization of ICT for supporting collaborative work is largely dependent on the business strategy, which promotes trust among parties. Our focus is on understanding the effect of virtual organizing for achieving higher collaboration in virtual settings. We identify the challenges for developing trust in a virtual collaborative environment. We describe how the process for virtual organizing helps promote higher levels of collaboration among parties in geographically dispersed locations. We posit that virtual organizing helps support creating, sustaining and deploying key intellectual and knowledge assets while sourcing tangible, physical assets in a complex network of relationships. Our analysis demonstrates that the real challenge for the management of virtual collaboration is trust and has to be guided by a shared business principle or shared vision. Eight propositions are offered based on this analysis. We conclude that virtual organizing as presented here suggests a set of rules and norms enabling and constraining actions that promote a desired and required higher level of trust. This, in turn, is critical (a) to the development and sustainability of virtual collaboration and (b) to ensure the optimal use of ICT.


Introduction

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. ICT-enabled Collaboration
  5. ICT for Supporting Virtual Collaboration
  6. Trust for Virtual Collaboration
  7. Implications for Designing Collaboration Systems
  8. Conclusion
  9. References

Virtual organizing is increasingly seen as a power concept for understanding the interplay among ICT, organization structure, and geographically dispersed teams working on a common business goal (Venkatraman & Henderson, 1998). It focuses on the importance of knowledge and intellect to create value for organizations. Collaboration denotes communicating and working together across organizational boundaries (Baker, 1992). Virtual collaboration, on the other hand, refers to the use of ICT for supporting the collective interaction among multiple parties involved (Hossain & Wigand, 2003; Kock, 2000). It is suggested in this paper that virtual organizing is an essential prerequisite for ensuring a higher level of virtual collaboration. Therefore, the development and sustainability of virtual collaboration have to be guided by common business goals (Wigand & Imamura, 1997; Wigand, Picot & Reichwald, 1997). This, in turn, will ensure the linkages among ICT, organization structure, and geographical dispersion (Hossain & Wigand, 2003). Figure 1 presents a conceptual framework for building and sustaining virtual collaboration. Here, understanding the implications of common business goals for building trust, which may lead to higher level of knowledge sharing and therefore help build and sustain collaboration.

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Figure 1. A conceptual framework for building and sustaining virtual collaboration

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We suggest that effective virtual collaboration is guided by the principles of virtual organizing. The figure below suggests that a social constructivist approach to understanding the design of virtual collaborative systems is a useful paradigm for the development and sustainability of virtual collaboration. It is suggested in the social construction of technology literature that relevant social groups help shape the technological systems (Bijker, 1997; Park & Hossain, 2003). Therefore, understanding of the relevant social groups in the design process of technological systems will increase the likelihood of successful implementation (Bijker & Law, 1992; Hossain, 2002; Qureshi, 1995). Figure 1 suggests that different social groups may achieve higher collaboration levels through effective communication for addressing problems, deriving solutions and eventually building trust among themselves.

It follows then to inquire as to how we structure organizational virtualness so that higher levels of collaboration may be achieved among geographically dispersed work groups. How may we make optimal use of ICT for supporting collaboration among geographically dispersed groups? We argued above that the social process is critical to understanding how ICT may be used effectively to support geographically dispersed work groups. We emphasized that understanding virtual collaboration requires an understanding of the social structures. This is important because patterns of interaction may emerge from the social structures, their development and influence on the behavior of actors in the social systems. We consider social structures for virtual collaboration, which exist in the minds of human actors, and are being shaped by the world around them (Giddens, 1984).

In this contribution, we first provide a brief introduction for understanding the processes of structuration as they relate to ICT-enabled collaboration. We emphasize here that structuration is important as it integrates the concept of knowledge and social relationships. This relationship among people consequently influences the way knowledge is being shared. Knowledge may be shared between people through face-to-face or through technology, either asynchronously or synchronously (which is known as virtual collaboration). Secondly, we consider ICT-enabled virtual collaboration for examining the underlying relationships between trust and virtual collaboration. We also address the complexities of building trust for supporting virtual collaboration. Finally, we examine the application of structuration theory for understanding the interplay between ICT, virtual collaboration, and trust in designing virtual collaboration systems.

ICT-enabled Collaboration

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. ICT-enabled Collaboration
  5. ICT for Supporting Virtual Collaboration
  6. Trust for Virtual Collaboration
  7. Implications for Designing Collaboration Systems
  8. Conclusion
  9. References

What are the distinguishing factors which separate ICT-enabled collaboration in a physical setting from a geographically dispersed setting? Can findings of previous ICT-enabled physical collaboration (e.g., Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) and Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) supported by some level of face-to-face communication) help us to understand virtual collaboration (e.g., CSCW and CMC for supporting geographically dispersed collaboration with no face-to-face communication)? How is the development and sustainability of trust different from ICT-enabled physical collaboration and ICT-enabled virtual collaboration? We address these questions in the following sections.

We define ICT-enabled physical collaboration as technology-based collaborative systems with the presence of some level of face-to-face communication (see Ludwig, 1999). It may also be referred to as electronically supported communication media ranging from telephone to Internet to low-earth orbit satellite cellular technologies that organizations use to support linking individuals in electronically mediated communication (Adhikari, 1998; DiMartino & Wirth, 1990; Hiltz & Turoff, 1992; Kiely, 1993; Niederman & Beise, 1999; Papows, 1998). For example, McLeod's (1992) meta-analysis of twelve studies suggests that electronically supported face-to-face meeting tools such as group support systems influence decision quality, time to reach decisions, participation quality, and degree of task focus. In an empirical study, Fowler and Wackerbarth (1980) found that audio conferencing may be substituted for and can even outperform face-to-face meetings. However, face-to-face communication was found to be more effective than audio conferencing for tasks which rely on interpersonal communication and are more complex in nature (Fowler & Wackerbarth, 1980; Niederman & Beise, 1999).

In a recent empirical study in face-to-face versus virtual team settings, 411 subjects participated, communicating asynchronously via groupware technology. The results suggest that virtual teams are most effective in making decisions (Schmidt et al., 2001). Other studies such as implementing electronic meetings at IBM (see Grohowski et al., 1990), computer systems for facilitating the quality improvement process at the IRS (see DeSanctis et al., 1991), group technologies for supporting teamwork at Texaco (see DeSanctis et al., 1993), Group Support Systems (DeSanctis & Gallupe, 1987), and Retail Technology Consortium (see Palmer, 1996) also demonstrate perceived effectiveness of ICT for supporting teamwork. The claim that ICT is useful for supporting and improving collaborative work has also been addressed in the CSCW and CMC literature (Coleman, 1996; Dyson, 1990; Jirotka et al., 1992; Jude-York, 1998; Warkentin et al., 1997; Townsend et al., 1998). For example, a study of three teams and their use of technology at two large U.S. corporations with global extensions suggest significant improvement in collaborative work processes and business results (Jude-York, 1998). Furthermore, an exploratory investigation of the use of Web-based conferencing indicates that virtual and face-to-face teams had similar levels of communication effectiveness (Warkentin et al., 1997). However, a higher level of satisfaction was reported for the case of face-to-face communication when compared to virtual teams in this exploratory study.

In the Jude-York study, Lotus Notes groupware applications such as TeamRoomTM were used so that remote members could store and work on common documents. This was further supported by a dynamic e-mail system, which allowed for the categorization of stored documents beyond e-mail by enabling an entire group to dialogue electronically, versus participating in sequential information exchange (Jude-York, 1998). This resulted in improvement for (1) building upon each others' work, (2) alignment of individual work around a business plan, and (3) improvement in team communication, coordination and collaboration. However, arguments for the use of ICT for supporting collaborative culture need to account for a decrease in consensus, satisfaction and trustworthiness among parties found in some reports. For example, the results of 18 existing case studies of Lotus Notes use suggest that ICT enhances collaboration only under certain conditions (Karsten, 1999). In line with this analysis, we suggest the following propositions:

Proposition 1:

ICT is effective for supporting collaboration when there is face-to-face communication support.

Proposition 2:

Higher levels of satisfaction in collaboration are the result of face-to-face communication support.

Proposition 3:

Building trustworthy relationships among agents is dependent on the level of face-to-face communication support.

Proposition 4:

A higher level of collaboration is dependent on the rules and resources for supporting the interaction between public and private spaces for collaborative work.

Geisler and Rogers (2000) suggest six basic characteristics for ICT-enabled successful collaboration. These characteristics were then used as a model for understanding the design collaboration for projects ranging from software engineering to mechanical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Figure 2 presents a cyclical process for design collaboration characteristics. It is further suggested in this study that two important issues—public and private spaces of individual work requires interweaving so that privacy and collaboration may be achieved (Cornell & Balogna, 1992; Fischer et al., 1992; Geisler & Rogers, 2000). What then are the characteristics that differentiate physical collaboration from virtual collaboration? We discuss this in the next section.

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Figure 2. A cyclical process for design collaboration characteristics

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ICT for Supporting Virtual Collaboration

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. ICT-enabled Collaboration
  5. ICT for Supporting Virtual Collaboration
  6. Trust for Virtual Collaboration
  7. Implications for Designing Collaboration Systems
  8. Conclusion
  9. References

Is virtual collaboration related to the application of ICT for supporting geographically dispersed collaboration with no face-to-face communication? Virtual teams may be differentiated from physical teams by time, space, and culture (Grantham, 1996; Paré & Dubé, 1999; Speier & Palmer, 1998). Therefore, these variables have the potential to influence communication, development of trust and types of ICT required for supporting work activities. However, the direct relationship between the magnitude of physical distance and the tendency to use electronic mediation needs careful examination (Allen, 1977; Churchill & Bly, 1999; Grantham, 1996; Hart, 1999; Kraut et al., 1988; Niederman & Beise, 1999; Warkentin et al., 1997).

We define virtual collaboration as ICT-enabled collaboration for geographically dispersed groups with no or very little face-to-face communication. Townsend et al. (1998) suggest that the virtual workplace relates to geographical dispersion of essential employees who are assembled using a combination of telecommunications and information technologies to accomplish an organizational task. By creating a virtual collaborative workspace, organizations may also realize the competitive synergy of teamwork, as well as exploit the benefits of ICT (Harasim, 1993; Igbaria et al., 1999; Kock, 2000; Sproull & Kiesler, 1991). Townsend et al. (1998) further assert that there are five key considerations for organizations moving from face-to-face communication to virtual collaboration: (1) the increasing prevalence of flat or horizontal organization structures; (2) increased interorganizational cooperation, as well as competition; (3) increased accommodation to the changes in workers' expectation of organizational participation; (4) the shift from production to service or knowledge work environments; and, (5) the increasing globalization of trade and corporate activity.

Churchill and Bly's (1999) investigation suggests that the text-based MUD (multi-user domain) is effective in supporting collaboration among dispersed groups. They note further that MUDs are powerful in filling the valuable communication niche for dispersed workgroups for both synchronous and asynchronous networks. It can be seen as a multi-user, end-user extensible, low bandwidth, distributed network accessible environment designed to support collaboration among non-collocated individuals (see Curtis, 1995). MUDs were further found to be more reliable than technologies such as media services (Bly et al., 1993), video conferencing (Finn et al., 1997), and distributed 3-D graphical environments (Churchill & Snowdon, 1998). MUD-based collaboration takes place within interconnected rooms wherein other users and texts are located. Table 1 presents the result of interviews and their characteristics with regard to the use of MUD for collaboration (Churchill & Bly, 1999).

Table 1.  Interviews and their characteristics of MUD for collaboration
Name & Job TitleMUD ExperienceComments
Jerry, computer scientist3 or 4 weeksLikes the space, uses it to coordinate with Marv
Marv,computer scientist3 or 4 weeksLikes the space, uses it to coordinate with Jerry
Brad,Systems engineerPower MUD userUses for broadcast messages
Rob, senior computer scientistOnly used Once/twiceLikes email, doesn't like cliques, technology needs improvement
Doris, computer scientistRegular: programsHas multiple characters and uses for social and work purposes
Lucy, Postdoc fellowRegular: Does not programUses a lot for collaboration, doesn't use for social purposes
Lily, research project leaderRegular: meets with variety of peopleUses for multiple purposes, chat and work
Bert, Research scientistOnly used once/twiceDoesn't interact socially, worried with the social aspects and has problems with the technology as it stands

It can be seen from Table 1 that MUDs can be effective in supporting collaboration for some members. MUDs work well for supporting the maintenance of existing relationships, irrespective of distance and time, and have the potential for establishing new relationships (Churchill & Bly, 1999). However, it was also found in their investigation that there were problems related to technological limitations and introducing mechanisms, which support the maintenance of relationships across distance. Previous research suggests that informal communication may serve as the glue for ongoing collaborations and social contact among collaborators may help alleviate this (Dooley, 1996; Granovetter, 1982; Grantham, 1996; Kraut et al., 1988; Pickering & King, 1992; Sheehy and Gallagher, 1996; Whittaker et al., 1994). In line with the above discussion, we suggest the following propositions:

Proposition 5:

Communication, trust development, and types of ICT use depend on time, space and culture.

Proposition 6:

Initial face-to-face communication is an essential prerequisite to establishing higher levels of trust among agents working from geographically dispersed locations.

Proposition 7:

The effectiveness of ICT for supporting ongoing collaboration is dependent on informal communication among agents.

However, in the virtual collaborative environment with geographically dispersed groups, traditional social mechanisms for facilitating communication and decision-making are not present. Therefore, members must find new ways to communicate and interact and this has to be guided by business principles which promote trust among parties (Bandow, 1997; Handy, 1995). Trust for managing virtual collaborative relationships is increasingly seen as important in the information systems literature so that optimal use of ICT for supporting collaboration is ensured (Hoffman et al., 1999; Hossain & Wigand, 2002; Jarvenpaa et al., 1998; Jones et al., 2000; Kasper-Fuehrer et al., 2001; Nayak et al., 2001; Ono et al., 2001; Piccoli & Ives, 2000; Ratnasingham & Kumar, 2000; Rittenbruch et al., 1998; Whittaker, 1996). Studies also suggest that an electronic interface is not a substitute for face-to-face communication (Abel, 1990; Sproull & Kiesler, 1991). However, ICT may be used to support further relationships once teams have experienced some level of initial face-to-face communication. This has been documented in Abel's (1990) study where it is suggested that teams and groups require face-to-face communication initially to establish common understanding, but ICT may be used to support future relationships. Trust, an essential prerequisite for developing and sustaining relationships for virtual collaboration is discussed next.

Trust for Virtual Collaboration

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. ICT-enabled Collaboration
  5. ICT for Supporting Virtual Collaboration
  6. Trust for Virtual Collaboration
  7. Implications for Designing Collaboration Systems
  8. Conclusion
  9. References

The expectation by one person, group, or firm of ethical behavior, morally right decisions and actions based upon ethical principles of analysis on the part of the other person or party in an exchange, may be referred to as trust (Hosmer, 1995). Studies suggest that a high level of attention to the development and sustainability of trust is required for ensuring successful business transactions and cooperative work (Fukuyama, 1995; Josang, 1996; Nelson & Cooprider, 1996; Sheppard & Tuchinsky, 1996; Swagerman et al., 2000; Wigand, 1978). Trust may also be based upon the rational appraisal of a partner's reliability and competence, and upon feelings of concern and attraction (Hossain & Wigand, 2002). These factors may help to reduce awkwardness, complexity and uncertainty in social interactions and, therefore, make the collaboration effective.

Trust and interpersonal relationships are seen as essential for understanding the role of communication media in collaborative work (Ratnasingham & Kumar, 2000). Collaboration is seen as most effective and rewarding when the participants trust each other (Axelrod, 1997). It is suggested in a previous study that there are two types of activities: cognitive and emotional faculties must be established for developing trust (Hossain & Wigand, 2002). Cognitive-oriented activities may convey competence and reliability, and thereby increase confidence that a task will be successfully completed. Emotion-oriented activities may create an emotional bond, and help decrease fears of exploitation and increase feelings of mutual support for building trust.

Studies on the sustainability of virtual collaboration suggest that trust is critical to ensuring the optimal use of ICT to support the exchange among business partners (Bandow, 1998; Bos et al., 2002; Gefen, 2002; Josang, 1996; Karahannas & Jones, 1999; Kasper-Fuehrer et al., 2001; McKnight et al. 2000; Nayak et al., 2001; Ono et al., 2001; Ratnasingham & Kumar, 2000; Staples & Ratnasingham, 1998; Whittaker, 1996). It is suggested that the social exchange systems in which individuals, groups or organizations operate is critical to the development and sustainability of trust in an on-line or virtual environment (Hossain & Wigand, 2002; Wellman, 1996). This is important as effective collaboration is seen to be largely dependent on the trust relations among different interest groups (Abdul-Rahman & Hailes, 1997; Fukuyama, 1995; Hossain & Wigand, 2002). In line with this, we suggest the following proposition:

Proposition 8:

Successful business transactions and cooperative work result from higher levels of trust among the participants.

Blau (1964) proposes that distrust is expected in economic relations but has a negative impact on social behavior. Thibaut and Kelley (1959) and Blau (1964) further suggest that trust-building is a gradual process requiring a cumulative commitment to a relationship. So, how do we build trust in a virtual environment where opportunity for face-to-face communication is minimal or perhaps nonexistent?Wigand (1977), Wigand and Imamura (1997), Wigand, Picot and Reichwald (1997) and Scott and Lane (2000) suggest that common business goals or a shared vision is considered to be a prerequisite for ensuring the optimal use of ICT for supporting information exchange among business partners in an inter-organizational network. It is also evident from the previous studies on ICT, trust and collaboration that understanding social systems is a powerful mechanism for the development and sustainability of trust (Hossain & Wigand, 2002).

Studies further suggest that trust is temporal and fragile for groups with no face-to-face communication, which are culturally divided, or have no common past or plans for future collaboration, making CMC tools less effective (see Jarvenpaa & Leidner, 1998, 1999; Jarvenpaa et al., 1998; Jones & Bowie, 1998; Meyerson et al., 1996). Cohen's (1997) study on a system called Prairie (a project undertaken by Accenture's center for Strategic Technology Research-CSTaR) indicates that facilitating and encouraging accidental communication among parties was found to be effective for alleviating this problem. Prairie consists of several support mechanisms for facilitating informal communication so that people can create a common identity as a means to develop trust. This approach to developing trust is very similar to the concept of a common business goal or shared vision for promoting inter-organizational trust (see Hossain & Wigand, 2002; Scott & Lane, 2000; Wigand, 1977; Wigand & Imamura, 1997; Wigand, Picot & Reichwald, 1997). We suggest here that exploring the underlying relationships between ICT, virtual collaboration and trust requires an understanding of the structure, the systems and their structuration. We next discuss structuration theory, its development and application for understanding virtual collaboration .

Implications for Designing Collaboration Systems

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. ICT-enabled Collaboration
  5. ICT for Supporting Virtual Collaboration
  6. Trust for Virtual Collaboration
  7. Implications for Designing Collaboration Systems
  8. Conclusion
  9. References

We suggest that the implications for this analysis are threefold: (1) supporting physical collaboration through ICT; (2) designing ICT-enabled virtual collaboration; and (3) building and sustaining trust for ICT-enabled virtual collaboration.

First, we proposed that physical collaboration through ICT refers to the use of technology-based systems for supporting collaboration when face-to-face communication is available (i.e. groups situated in one physical location). Ludwig (1999) also suggests that ICT for supporting collaborative work is optimal with the existence of opportunities for face-to-face communication. We argued here that understanding the relationship of collaborative information technologies and changes in work and organization is critical to ensuring the optimal use of ICT for supporting collaboration (Karsten, 1999). Therefore, introduction of ICT needs to be supported by the social process. This social process in turn helps understand group behavior, which is essential for supporting technology-enabled group processes (Orlikowski & Baroudi, 1991; Orlikowski et al., 1995; Qureshi, 1995). Specifically, many organizations fall into the trap of taking technology for granted and believing that the introduction of ICT helps increase communication and thus increase productivity. For example, empirical studies of technology utilization for collaboration suggest that a common misconception in introducing Lotus Notes and similar technologies was that it would positively influence collaboration and problem-solving behavior (Davenport, 1993; Steinfield, 1992; Vandenbosch & Ginzberg, 1997).

Four essential conditions therefore must be met in order to ensure optimal use of ICT for supporting collaboration. The conditions are: (1) understanding the need to collaborate; (2) user understanding of the use and utility of ICT for supporting collaboration; (3) appropriate support for the adoption, implementation, and post-implementation phase; and, (4) an organizational culture for supporting collaboration. These conditions may be referred to as the social factors which guide the successful implementation of technological systems. Studies further suggest that the nature of work process and technology utilization is influenced by these social factors (Orlikoski & Baroudi, 1997).

It is also noted here that collaboration support systems such as CMC (i.e. email and other computerized conferencing) is usually text-based, asynchronous and has limited social presence (Wellman et al., 1996). Therefore, understanding the relationship between technology and human behavior is seen as critical for ensuring a higher level of user participation (Galegher & Kraut, 1992; Kelly et al., 2002; Wellman et al., 1996). Systems failure due to the lack of understanding of these social factors during the systems implementation phase has been documented in many research studies (see Clark, 1996; Cornell & Balogna, 1992; Fischer et al., 1992; Geisler & Rogers, 2000; Hirschheim, 1985; Olson et al., 1993; Orlikoski & Robey, 1990; Walsham & Han, 1991) and this is also applicable to the case of geographically dispersed collaboration (Hiltz & Turoff, 1978, 1992; Ludwig, 1999).

Second, it is suggested here that designing ICT-enabled virtual collaboration for groups in a geographically dispersed location has to be guided by the social process. Traditionally, face-to-face meetings and geographic proximity to other workgroup members have supported the ICT-enabled collaboration (Allen, 1977; Hart, 1999; Patti et al., 1997; Pinto et al., 1993). Studies on CMC tools suggest that audio and video technologies have the potential to be as effective as face-to-face communication, provided that the social process guides collaborative system design (Bos et al., 2002; Davenport & Pearlson, 1998; Wellman, 1996). The emphasis on social process in designing technological systems helps in understanding messy, complex and problem-solving components, which are both socially constructed and society-shaping (Hughes, 1987; Orlikowski & Gash, 1994; Palen & Salzman, 2002). Therefore, each component of the system has to be designed to interact with the characteristics of the others (Bijker et al., 1987; Hossain et al., 2002). That is, understanding social structures, systems and their structuration is critical to the development and sustainability of collaborative relationships (Giddens, 1984).

Finally, we addressed trust building strategies for ICT-enabled virtual collaboration so that the use and utility of ICT may be optimal. This follows from the preceding sections where we noted that the structuration process is a powerful way to frame the opportunities and challenges for the development of sustainable trustworthy relationships among agents and their agency. Therefore, understanding social systems under which individuals operate deserves careful attention as ICT may be used to allow or support work in separate locations (Castelfranchi & Tan, 2002). We further have to acknowledge that the relationships with others in their groups are not the same due to the reduced or non-existent face-to-face contact (Grundy, 1998; Handy, 1995; Nohria & Eccles, 1992). Several empirical studies on the trust development process suggest that video and audio conferencing groups are nearly as good as face-to-face contact provided that participants engage in various getting-acquainted activities (e.g., text chat) over a network (Bos et al., 2002; Rocco, 1998; Zheng et al., 2002). However, the use of ICT such as video and audio for building trust is considered to represent slower progress towards full cooperation and is vulnerable to opportunistic behavior (Das & Teng, 1998).

Conclusion

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. ICT-enabled Collaboration
  5. ICT for Supporting Virtual Collaboration
  6. Trust for Virtual Collaboration
  7. Implications for Designing Collaboration Systems
  8. Conclusion
  9. References

We conclude that ICT-enabled virtual collaboration would be effective with the existence of face-to-face communication support and would lead to higher levels of satisfaction in collaboration. We noted that building trustworthy relationships among agents is dependent on the level of face-to-face communication support. However, with regards to virtual collaboration (i.e. lack of face-to-face interaction), we conclude that the rules and resources for supporting the interaction between public and private spaces for collaborative work would be effective for ensuring the optimal use of ICT. It is also important to note that time, space and culture would have implications for the level of communication, trust development, and types of ICT used. Moreover, it is suggested that initial face-to-face communication is an essential prerequisite in establishing higher levels of trust among agents working from a geographically dispersed location. We suggested that the integration of knowledge and social relationships is important and may be supported through the structuration process. Finally, we conclude that these relationships among people consequently influence the way knowledge is being shared through face-to-face or through ICT, either asynchronously or synchronously.

References

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. ICT-enabled Collaboration
  5. ICT for Supporting Virtual Collaboration
  6. Trust for Virtual Collaboration
  7. Implications for Designing Collaboration Systems
  8. Conclusion
  9. References
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