Advertisement

AI & SOCIETY

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 183–192 | Cite as

Tension between perceived collocation and actual geographic distribution in project teams

  • Renate Fruchter
  • Petra Bosch-Sijtsema
  • Virpi Ruohomäki
Original Article

Abstract

This paper describes an exploratory comparative study of knowledge workers and their challenges in high tech global project teams. More specifically we focus on the tension between perceived collocation and actual geographical distributed project work as a function of: (1) the demand to distribute and shift attention in multi-teaming, (2) virtuality i.e. number of virtual teams participants engage in, (3) the continuous adjustment and re-adjustment to new places they perform their activity, and (4) the collaboration technologies they use. We present the methodology for data collection that included semi-structured interviews, surveys, and on site shadowing of the project participants, and discuss the findings from the data analysis. The study is based on the bricks-bits-interaction framework. It is at the intersection of the design of physical spaces, i.e., bricks; rich digital information and collaboration technology (ICT) content, mobile devices and network infrastructures, i.e., bits, and emergent work practices, process, and new ways people behave in communicative events using the affordances of ICT augmented physical, virtual spaces and digital content, i.e., interaction.

Keywords

Global teamwork Collocation ICT Interaction Work place and space Multi-teaming Virtuality 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study is part of the joint Stanford-Helsinki University of Technology research project ProWork: Workplace Management that is sponsored by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (TEKES), ProWork project company partners, and the PBL Lab at Stanford University.

References

  1. Allen TJ (1977) Managing the flow of technology. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  2. Armstrong D, Cole P (2002) Managing distances and differences in geographically distributed work groups. In: Hinds P, Kiesler S (eds) Distributed Work. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 167–186Google Scholar
  3. Bosch-Sijtsema PM, Ruohomäki V, Vartiainen M (2009) Knowledge work productivity in distributed teams. J Knowl Manage 13(6):533–546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Carmel E (1999) Global Software Teams: Collaborating Across Borders and Time Zones. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle RiverGoogle Scholar
  5. Chudoba K, Wynn E, Lu M, Watson-Manheim MB (2005) How virtual are we? Measuring virtuality in a global organization. Inform Syst J 15(4):279–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cramton CD (2001) The Mutual knowledge problem and its consequences for dispersed collaboration. Organ Sci 12(3):346–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Eisenhard KM (1989) Building theories from case study research. Acad Manage Rev 14(4):532–550CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Espinosa JA, Carmel E (2003) Modeling coordination costs due to time separation in global software teams. In: Proceedings of International Workshop on Global Software Development, part of the International Conference on Software Engineering Work in Portland, Oregon, USA, May. Paper available at http://gsd2003.cs.uvic.ca
  9. Fruchter R (2001) Bricks & Bits & Interaction. In: Terano T, Nishida T, Namatame A, Ohsawa Y, Tsumoto S, Washio T (eds) Lecture Notes on Artificial Intelligence (LNAI) 2253. Springer Verlag, Berlin, pp 35–42Google Scholar
  10. Griffith TL, Sawyer JE, Neale MA (2003) Virtualness and knowledge in teams: managing the love triangle of organizations, individuals, and information technology. MIS Q 27(2):265–287Google Scholar
  11. Hinds PJ, Bailey DE (2003) Out of sight, out of sync: understanding conflict in distributed teams. Organ Sci 14(6):615–632CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hofstede G (1980) Culture’s consequences: International differences in work-related values. Cross-cultural research and methodology series, vol. 5. Sage, Newbury ParkGoogle Scholar
  13. Hofstede G (1991) Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. McGraw-Hill books, LondonGoogle Scholar
  14. Jin Y, Levitt R (1996) The virtual design team: a computational model of project organizations. J Comput Math Organ Theor 2(3):171–195 (Fall 1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Levitt R, Kunz J (2002) Design your project organization as engineers design bridges. CIFE Working Paper #73, August 2002Google Scholar
  16. Lu M, Watson-Manheim MB, Chudoba K, Wynn E (2006) Virtuality and team performance: understanding the impact of variety of practices. J Glob Inform Technol Manage 9(1):4–23Google Scholar
  17. Martins LL, Gilson LL, Maynard MT (2004) Virtual teams: what do we know and where do we go from here? J Manage 30(6):805–835CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Maznevski ML, Chudoba KM (2000) Bridging space over time: global virtual team dynamics and effectiveness. Organ Sci 11(5):473–492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. O’Leary M, Cummings J (2002) The spatial, temporal, and configurational characteristics of geographic dispersion in teams. Paper presented at the Academy of Management Conference, Denver, COGoogle Scholar
  20. Olson GM, Olson JS (2000) Distance matters. Human Comput Inter 15:139–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Powell A, Piccoli G, Ives B (2004) Virtual teams: a review of current literature and directions for future research. Data Base Adv Inform Syst 35(1):6–36Google Scholar
  22. Thompson JD (1967) Organizations in action. Social Science bases of administrative theory. Mc.Graw-Hill Book company, New York, pp 51–65Google Scholar
  23. Watson-Manheim MB, Chudoba K, Crowston K (2002) Discontinuities and continuities: a new way to understand virtual work. information. Technol People 15(3):191–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Yoo Y, Alavi M (2004) Emergent leadership in virtual teams: what do emergent leaders do? Inform Organ 14(1):27–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Renate Fruchter
    • 1
  • Petra Bosch-Sijtsema
    • 2
  • Virpi Ruohomäki
    • 2
  1. 1.Project Based Learning LaboratoryStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.BIT: Work Psychology and LeadershipHelsinki University of TechnologyGreater HelsinkiFinland

Personalised recommendations