Realtime Collaboration Systems in Decentralised Teams: Empirical Results of a Case Study and Interaction Design Patterns for the Multimedia Interaction
DescriptionReal-time-collaboration-tools (RTC), e. g. Instant Messaging (IM)-Systems, are spreading rapidly in organizations and companies. IM is usually introduced in (distributed) teams to support informal communication, to provide group awareness moments enhancing project workflow and to endow a sense of connection between team members. Although some research on IM in organizations does exist, few systematic studies on the impact of IM usage on communication and work processes in practice have been accomplished. Even less studies consider the VoIP-functionality many Instant Messengers recently provide.
Thus, within the framework of the dissertation a longitudinal ethnographic case study approach is applied in order to analyze how routinized communication and work processes change when an Instant Messenger with VoIP-functionality is introduced in an organization and adopted in distributed teams, using Skype as an example. In order to emphasize the duality of technology as objective reality and as socially constructed product structuration theory is used as underlying theory. While structuration theory is especially applicable to describe and analyze change caused by the introduction and adoption of technology in organizations, also changes in technology use or technologies-in-practice as introduced by Orlikowski (2000) can be observed. A major conclusion of researchers using structurational approaches in information systems is the diverse use of the same technologies by different users or groups. Technology implementation is therefore not deterministic and will usually not shape organizations and user behavior in a predictable and by the designers originally intended way.
The intertwined relation of user behavior and technology design is an important part of structuration theory that has to be considered by researchers applying the theory. Still, attempts to derive at concrete design or implementation recommendations for special tools or technologies using the empirical results from structuration theory have been rare. The objective of the dissertation is therefore not only to provide an empirical study of the introduction and use of the RTC Skype in distributed scientific teams, but to derive design implications and describe applicable design recommendation for RTCs in form of Interactive Design Patterns.
Tom Gross, Supervisor
Andreas Ziemann, Supervisor
GratudationMartina Joisten gratuated on 17 September 2010