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Ch7 Collaboration Across Distance
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Ch7 Collaboration Across Distance

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from a graduate school

from a graduate school


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  • 1.  
  • 2. * Why location (still) matters.
    • - To understand innovation in collaboration, a long-standing personal relationship based on trust is important.
  • 3. 1. Trust
    • Trust is traditionally based on shared experiences. (Child, 2001) Distances prevent people to have shared experiences. To make ‘swift trust’, people need a clear set of goals & tasks. (Jarvenpaa & Leidner (1998))
  • 4. 1. Trust
    • Unfortunately, innovative collaboration pursues unclear goals & tasks. At least, with stressing the importance of collaboration & purposes, people can have a little trust. Then, repeated collaboration can build up stronger trust. In this case, technologies like audio and video which are showing co-workers’ appearance can help trust build up comparing to text file.
  • 5. 2. Access to tacit knowledge
    • Tacit knowledge is like know-how, assumption, & beliefs. To make tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge, intense commitment, challenges, discussions, brainstorming, & even distractions are required. These are very difficult to achieve without sharing space & experiences.
  • 6. 3. Shared understanding
    • Shared understanding represents a “collective way of organizing relevant information”. Shared understanding is “developed through a history of communication, past coordinated action, and/or other common experience (such as professional socialization)”. (Dickey, Wasko, Chudoba, Thatcher, & 2006
  • 7. 3. Shared understanding
    • It might be created through frequent, media-rich, face-to-face communication (daft & Lengel, 1986). Hinds & Wisband (2003), physical presence increases collaborators’’ unintentional, informal, & social information exchanges, & their awareness of each others’ work. Kaufmann, Lehner, & Todtling, 2003 found evidence that technology-mediated communication is more suited to maintaining & managing existing relationships than to creating new relationships.
  • 8. 4. Cultural differences
    • Distance can mean that each people may have different cultural or educational background. Their perspectives diverge more, & they have a narrower base of shared understanding. They are more likely to face language difficulties, which in turn inhibit participation in technology-mediated collaboration (Kim & Bork, 2002; Sarker, 2005)
  • 9.
    • In summary, despite proclamations of the “death of distance”, physical presence & shared space are still important.
  • 10. * Methodology
    • Individual interviews.
    • Several additional interviews.
    • Countless informal discussions
  • 11.
    • Conducted in 2005 & 2006 in R & D centers in Bangalore, India.
    • Interviews were chosen over a written survey to elicit richer & more open-ended responses.
  • 12. 1. Interview method and limitations
    • The format of the interviews was a guided conversation, conducted in a meeting space at the respondents’ workplaces. The interviewer guided the discussion to include most or all of a pre-determined set of topics, but allowed the respondents to concentrate on or add topics relevant to interest or expertise.
  • 13. 1. Interview method and limitations
    • They were asked to describe specific instances, using current or recent projects as examples. All respondents remained anonymous, and any respondent could refuse to answer a question.
  • 14. 2. Respondents
    • 31 qualitative interviews were conducted in 17 R&D centers.
    • 17 respondents were researchers and team leaders in these labs. 14 were senior R&D managers. 10 additional expert interviews were conducted to gain context and background knowledge. The experts also served as sounding boards for some initial, rough conclusions.
  • 15. Identifying Respondents:
    • 1) Interviewer’s personal contacts
    • 2) References by other respondents
  • 16. The benefit of this way:
    • easy to contact the respondents.
    • Keep privacy -> bring honest
  • 17. * Respondents’ experiences of collaborating across distance and cultures
  • 18. 1. Separated in time and space.
    • Long distance collaboration that was particularly difficult or frustrating. The biggest problem was adjusting for different time zones.
  • 19. 1. Separated in time and space.
    • For example, when US is at day, India was night. There was limited time zone to contact each other like one time a day. Most lab showed weak interdependency. It failed the effort to overcome the distance and time.
  • 20. 1. Separated in time and space.
    • Language was another issue. Sometimes, one of each is not fluent of English. Whether both people speak English, dialects, the choice of words and technical language were problematic. Using e-mail to communicate can be a proper method because people can take more time to understand or compose a message.
  • 21. 2. Access to tacit knowledge
    • There are some R&D centers in Bangalore, but these institutes focus on international or American market rather than solving communication problems. Multinational companies are building R&D labs close to production facilities.
  • 22. 2. Access to tacit knowledge
    • This study helped Bangalore’s IT industry, but most of lab’s don’t. It is not enough to educate an expert to solve the communication difficulties. It is hard to teach certain stuff right after one learns the stuff.
  • 23. 3. Building trust and personal relationships.
    • After people meet each other, they feel a way comfortable. This confortance represents the basic trust between each other. Innovation takes risk. So, people can be nervous about it. With informal meetings and activities can make people feel comfortable. The confortance becomes trust. Having a personal meeting with their senior or boss can be a help, as well.
  • 24. 3. Building trust and personal relationships.
    • For sensitive topic or subject, private gathering is a way better. When people worry to lose their job or have some misunderstanding, meeting all together can be helpful. Even linguistic problems, understanding professional words problems can be solved by face to face meeting. Most English speakers tried to meet Asian collaborators to overcome language problems rather than meeting the same English speakers.
  • 25. 4. Creating shared understandings.
    • Communication style is the basic level for shared understanding.
    • General work and management practices are the second important level of shared understanding.
  • 26. [1] National identity
    • In general, west people are direct and blunt, but Indians are quieter. It takes more time for managers to get to know what is going on.
  • 27. [2] organizational and professional identity
    • People try to reduce communication problems. To reduce the potential of collaborating difficulties, people should focus on corporate culture and the policies of their company. It is useful to have a person who understands both cultures. Apprenticeship can be very helpful for training.
  • 28. [2] organizational and professional identity
    • Traveling is a great way for replicating corpolate culture. So, when they hire a person, they send the employee to travel. Similar construction or decoration can stress the similarity.
  • 29. [3] shared understanding in the research process
    • To collaborate effectively, researchers need to understand the activity of performing research in similar ways. phDs are at least better to understand the activity, but not all of them are the same.
  • 30. [3] shared understanding in the research process
    • For example, PhD from the US know how to do something new, not implementation. But PhD in India is more hierarchical, so they more ask. The people who have other educational background rather than US got more education.
  • 31.
    • Overall, in-person communication is most important in the initial stages of the research process.
  • 32. Conclusion.
    • It is possible to carry out some tasks across distance; it is difficult to carry out with many reasons. The reasons were presented as above.