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Configuring Web-based Support for Dispersed Project Groups

H.W. Nicolajsen and R. Scheepers

Reference & Publication Year
Proceedings of the 6th Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems (PACIS), Tokyo, Japan, September 2-4., 2002

We investigate how Web-based technologies, in particular intranets and
extranets, are configured to support communication and collaboration in
dispersed project groups. We studied the use of these technologies in
two development projects in the pharmaceutical industry. We focus on how
two particular configuration decisions - the responsibility for content
provision and access restrictions - enable and constrain the use of the
technology in this context. Drawing on perspectives from the field of
computer mediated communication and our empirical findings, we argue
that these two configuration decisions have a significant effect in
shaping the nature of content and the communication that take place via
the Web-based medium. Our findings suggest that in configuring these
technologies as communication media in dispersed projects, more
substantive use occurs when content provision is decentralised and
access to content can be restricted to specific individuals (and
sub-groups) within the project. Potential content providers will likely
resort to limited use of the Web-based medium or use alternative
communication media (e.g. e-mail) if they are unsure who exactly has
access to their content or if they suspect that recipients may not
understand the context in which the communication is taking place.