Many recent management programmes have sought to establish organisation-wide collaborations that connect people in different functional and occupation groups (Blackler, Crump, & McDonald, 2000). Typically, these programmes are made possible through the deployment and use of e-collaboration technologies such as groupware, workflow systems, intranets, extranets, and the internet (Ciborra, 1996; Hayes, 2001). Examples of these technologies include the use of shared folders for reports, coauthored documents, completed electronic forms, and discussion forums. Through the use of such technologies, work and views are made accessible to staff working within and between functional and occupational groups. Such management programmes are reported to have brought about significant changes in the nature of work within and between intra organizational boundaries, including the erosion of functional and community boundaries (Blackler et al., 2000; Easterby-Smith, Crossan, & Nicolini, 2000; Knights & Willmott, 1999).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Identity: The behaviours and characteristics of people who belong to a specific group. This view sees identity as a cognitive entity possessed by an individual.
Primary Influences: Primary sources of identity include informal referents such as work relationships and friendship.
Secondary Influences: Secondary sources of identity include formal relations such as those between the different organisational functions which are drawn upon when people are unfamiliar with each other.
E-Collaboration Technologies: Electronic technologies that enable collaboration among individuals engaged in a common task.
Dramaturgical Identity Work: The ongoing establishement of a groups view of themselves and the working out of disputes and positions between occupational groups are rehearsed within occupational groups prior and during their articulation in electronic or face-to-face format to members of other groups.
Identity Work: Identities depend upon the judgements of colleagues in particular circumstances, which are uncontrollable and unstable. They are not a cognitive possession, but are produced and reproduced in relations between people.