A Generic Definition of Collaborative Working Environments
Karl A. Hribernik (Breman Institute of Industrial Technology and Applied Work Science (BIBA), Germany), Klaus-Dieter Thoben (Breman Institute of Industrial Technology and Applied Work Science (BIBA), Germany) and Michael Nilsson (Luleå University of Technology, Sweden)
Copyright: © 2008
Collaborative working environments (CWE) are widely recognised as representing the next step in the development of collaborative technologies over the coming decade (European Commission, 2004, 2005; Schaffers, Brodt, Pallot, & Prinz, 2006). According Isidro Laso Ballesteros of the New Working Environments unit of the European Commission, CWE is a RTD domain with the objective “to develop technologies that will allow synchronous and asynchronous real time seamless interactions between individuals who define common objectives and work actively and effectively to achieve these common goals, participating in agreed business processes.” However, the term has yet to be defined in a manner upon which a common perspective towards research and development in the field can be suitably adopted. Against that background, this article attempts to develop such a perspective on the topic by elaborating a definition rooted in widely acknowledged works on the subjects of collaboration and e-collaboration.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Planned Collaboration: Long-term collaborations in which collaborative enterprise processes are planned, defined, and implemented.
Environment: A collection of hardware, software, network communications and procedures that work together to provide a discrete type of computer service. There may be one or more environments on a physical platform (e.g., test, production). An environment has unique features and characteristics that dictate how they are administered in similar, yet diverse manners.
Collaboration: A mutually influencing activity by one or more persons oriented toward common goals and the solution or completion of a problem or task. This takes place within a mutually agreed and created context (common syntactical space, cooperative setting) in physical copresence using common resources.
Collaboration Assets: The resources required to carry out collaborations. Specifically, these are defined as people, process, ICT systems and knowledge.
Collaborative Working Environments: Collaborative working environments (CWE) are defined as integrated and connected resources providing shared access to contents and allowing distributed actors to seamlessly work together towards common goals.
Mediated Collaboration: Medium-term collaborations in which a mediator is employed to facilitate collaboration.
Collaboration Stages: The individual stages of the life cycle of any given collaboration. Specifically, these are the initiation, management, operation and dissolution stages.
Ad Hoc Collaboration: Short-term, on demand, spontaneous, and task-specific collaboration.