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

Tension between perceived collocation and actual geographic distribution in project teams

  • Renate FruchterEmail author
  • Petra Bosch-Sijtsema
  • Virpi Ruohomäki
Original Article


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.


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



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.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Renate Fruchter
    • 1
    Email author
  • 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

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