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Authority-based and Bottom-up Diffusion of Collaboration Information Technologies

  • This Thesis contributes by reporting on the current state of diffusion of collaboration information technology (CIT). The investigation concludes, with a high degree of certainty, that today we have a "satisfactory" diffusion level of some level-A CITs (mostly e-Mail, distantly followed by Audio Conferencing), and a "dissatisfactory" diffusion level of higher-level CITs (i.e. those requiring significant collaboration and cooperation among users, like Meeting Support Systems, Group Decision Support Systems, etc.). The potential benefits of the latter seem to be far from fully realised due to lack of user acceptance. This conclusion has gradually developed along the research cycle " it was suggested by Empirical Study I, and tested through Empirical Studies II and III. An additional, unplanned and rather interesting, finding from this study has been the recognition of large [mostly business] reporting on numerous Web 2.0 user-community produced collaboration technologies (most of them belonging to the category of "social software") and their metamorphosis from autonomous, "bottom-up" solutions into enterprise-supported infrastructures. Another contribution of this Thesis " again suggested by Empirical Study I, and tested through Empirical Studies II and III " pertains to the "process structure" of CIT diffusion. I have found that collaboration technology has historically diffused following two distinct (interdependent but orthogonal) diffusion paths " top-down (authority-based) and bottom-up. The authority-based diffusion path seems to be characterised by efforts aimed at "imposing" technologies on employees, the primary concern being to make sure that technology seamlessly and easily integrates into the organisational IT infrastructure. On the other hand, the bottom-up diffusion trail seems to be successful. The contribution of this investigation may be summarised as threefold: 1. This investigation consolidates most of the findings to date, pertaining to CIT adoption and diffusion, which have been produced by the CIT research community. Thus, it tells a coherent story of the dynamics of the community focus and the collective wisdom gathered over a period of (at least) one decade. 2. This work offers a meaningful framework within which to analyse existing knowledge " and indeed extends that knowledge base by identifying persistent problems of collaboration technology acceptance, adoption and diffusion. These problems have been repeatedly observed in practice, though the pattern does not seem to have been recognised and internalised by the community. Many of these problems have been observed in cases of CIT use one decade ago, five years ago, three years ago, and continue to be observed today in structurally the same form despite what is unarguably "rapid technological development". This gives me reason to believe that, at least some of the persistent problems of CIT diffusion can be hypothesised as "determining factors". My contribution here is to identify these factors, discuss them in detail, and thus tackle the theme of CIT diffusion through a structured historical narrative. 3. Through my contribution (2) above, I characterise a "knowledge-action gap" in the field of CIT and illuminate a potential path through which the research community might hope to bridge this gap. The gap may be operationalised as cognitive distance between CIT "knowledge" and CIT "action".

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Author:Elitsa Vasileva Shumarova
Subtitle (German):Constraints and Enablements
Advisor:J. Felix, Hampe
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of completion:2009/10/19
Date of publication:2009/10/19
Publishing institution:Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Koblenz, Universitätsbibliothek
Granting institution:Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Koblenz, Fachbereich 4
Date of final exam:2009/07/13
Release Date:2009/10/19
Tag:Akzeptanz; Diffusion; Gruppenarbeit; Kollaboration
CSCW; acceptance; collaboration; diffusion; groupwork
Number of pages:xxiv, 436, xxv-xxvii
Institutes:Fachbereich 4 / Institut für Wirtschafts- und Verwaltungsinformatik
Dewey Decimal Classification:0 Informatik, Informationswissenschaft, allgemeine Werke / 00 Informatik, Wissen, Systeme / 004 Datenverarbeitung; Informatik
Licence (German):License LogoEs gilt das deutsche Urheberrecht: § 53 UrhG