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Social collaboration in project work: An exploratory empirical analysis of benefits and technologies

: Gimpel, Henner; Floesser, Philipp; Caton, Simon; Schaefer, Jennifer


Social Science Research Network : SSRN. eLibrary (2014), 16 S.
Fraunhofer FIT ()

Traditional social collaboration information systems like shared workspaces have been used for more than 20 years. More recently tools like wikis, blogs and online social networks have gained prominence and expanded the scope of collaboration technologies. In this paper, we study the relevance of seven social collaboration technologies empirically in the context of project work. Using semi-structured expert interviews and a quantitative survey, we investigate the perception of more than 200 experienced users (about half of them being project managers) with regard to benefits in project work and different social collaboration technologies. It turns out, that traditional shared workspaces perform surprisingly well along most benefits compared to more recent technologies. For specific benefits, however, other technologies are deemed superior. The physical proximity of project team members has substantial impact on the relevance of different benefits and performance of social collaboration technologies. We observed – contrary to the current hype and our expectations – that modern social media platforms are not yet well received by practitioners. Our results are relevant for practitioners pondering which systems to use in their organization or how to design new social collaboration technologies. Based on our exploratory work, researchers may further conceptualize theory and follow-up with more confirmatory empirical work.