E-Research Collaboration, Conflict and Compromise

E-Research Collaboration, Conflict and Compromise

Frances Deepwell (Coventry University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-106-3.ch001
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Abstract

In this chapter, we consider two multi-institution, multinational education research projects in Europe that used a variety of technology to facilitate online collaboration as virtual communities of practice. While judged as successes by their funding bodies, the projects both exhibited symptoms of conflict that were subsequently resolved. We apply a personal inquiry technique and draw on situational analysis to identify and explore the conflict resolution processes associated with issues of leadership, organization, and technology in e-research. We contend that the communication technologies themselves must support the development of a collaborative community; and that the social, technical, and cultural facets of electronic collaboration evolve integrally over time. We conclude by proposing strategies that may assist colleagues in setting up a successful e-research project.
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Introduction

This chapter draws its empirical base from experiences on two multi-institution, multinational education research projects in Europe: DELFEE and EQUEL. These were undertaken largely online using a range of software. The projects achieved their overall objectives and were innovative in their respective approaches to electronic collaboration, but each took time to establish ways and means of working amongst team members. Areas of conflict included the choice of software platform, the language in which the teams communicated and the mechanisms for intersite communication. Interventions were necessary to resolve these areas of conflict.

Individually, project members were highly literate in electronic communication and had experience of successful collaborations in the past. In these new e-research groupings, however, there were unanticipated barriers to realizing the organizational synergy offered by electronic collaboration across educational institutions. A previous examination of the features of these projects explored the extent to which they mirror global and national initiatives to introduce virtual research environments (King & Deepwell, 2006). Here we review and extend our thinking using personal inquiry and drawing on situational analysis to analyze the development of organizational synergies in both projects in terms of Leadership, Organization, and Technology.

We contend that the development of a community of practice (Wenger, 1998) has, in each case, enabled operational, procedural, and cultural norms to be established, and the consequential innovative, cross-border outcomes achieved. Furthermore, we believe that the communication technologies themselves must support the development of this collaborative community; and that the social, technical, and cultural facets of electronic collaboration evolve integrally over time.

Against the background of relevant literature, and the general context of the two projects, this chapter will:

  • 1.

    Examine how the classic features of a community of practice translate to an e-research environment;

  • 2.

    Explore the barriers to successful electronic collaboration and its development as a functional community of practice that may be pertinent to other e-research projects;

  • 3.

    Discuss approaches to resolving the conflicting expectations, skills, and cultural norms of electronic collaboration team members, and thereby achieving synergies through technology;

  • 4.

    Propose strategies that may assist colleagues in setting up successful e-research projects.

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Background

We first examine the term e-research, then the application of the concept of virtual communities of practice and, finally, the synergies that technology may offer.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Collaboration: Working together; a work group with shared objectives, particularly where the collaborators bring different skills, experience, and/or resources to a project.

Electronic Project Management: Processes employing a virtual infrastructure to plan, manage, and control the activities of a project team which may be geographically and/or temporally dispersed.

Virtual Research Environment: A software system which enables researchers to communicate and which provides support for their collaboration.

Reified Knowledge: Development of the concept of reification explored by Wenger (1998): knowledge which has been captured in some way; for example as a procedure, a form, a set of instructions, a computerized process. For a virtual community of practice, examples might be found in members’ wiki, discussion forum, or blog entries; in diary management procedures; or in project work-effort recording systems.

Community Of Practice: Term coined in the 1980s through the work of Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger, and John Seely Brown and Paul Daguid encompassing the notion of a normally professional, social grouping whose members work actively on a shared interest, solving shared problems, sharing and constructing knowledge over time.

Virtual Learning Environment: A software system which enables teachers and learners to communicate, and which provides support for course management and assessment.

E-Research: Collaborative research undertaken virtually with the support of information and communications technology.

Complete Chapter List

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Dedication
Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Foreword
Michael Beyerlein
Preface
Janet Salmons, Lynn Wilson
Acknowledgment
Janet Salmons, Lynn Wilson
Chapter 1
Frances Deepwell
In this chapter, we consider two multi-institution, multinational education research projects in Europe that used a variety of technology to... Sample PDF
E-Research Collaboration, Conflict and Compromise
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Chapter 2
Susanne Croasdaile
In the world of education, many occasions necessitate interorganizational collaboration. Geographical distance and time constraints are challenges... Sample PDF
Inter-Organizational E-Collaboration in Education
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Chapter 3
Kumiko Aoki
This chapter discusses cultural differences in educational practices of the East and West. In East Asian countries, where Confucian philosophy has... Sample PDF
Cultural Issues in Global Collaborative Education
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Chapter 4
Ken Stevens
The Internet and an expanding range of technologies have enabled small schools in rural communities in Atlantic Canada to collaborate in addressing... Sample PDF
The Development of Collaborative Structures to Support Virtual Classes in Small Schools
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Chapter 5
Christine Marrett
Information communication technologies (ICTs) have facilitated institutional collaboration in distance education. Based on the study, Institutional... Sample PDF
Experiences in Collaboration in Distance Education from the Caribbean, Looking Beyond Electronic
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Chapter 6
Neli Maria Mengalli
This chapter presents the course School Management and Technologies, and what emerged from the discourses of subjects that make it possible to... Sample PDF
Collaboration and Networks: Basis for the Management Based on Knowledge in Education
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Chapter 7
Niki Lambropoulos, Panagiotis Kampylis, Sofia Papadimitriou, Marianna Vivitsou, Alexander Gkikas
Recent rapid technological advancement has influenced communication and information management. In addition, it has facilitated collaboration, an... Sample PDF
Hybrid Synergy for Virtual Knowledge Working
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Chapter 8
Chijioke J. Evoh
The purpose of this study is to examine the dynamics of collaborative partnership involving the private sector, government, and community groups in... Sample PDF
Collaborative Partnerships and the Application of ICTs in Secondary Education in South Africa
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Chapter 9
Sandra J. Chrystal
This chapter reports on two University of Southern California collaborations that partner business communication classes with not-for-profit... Sample PDF
Technology Leverages a Community University Collaboration
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Chapter 10
Tine Köhler, Michael Berry
Internationally distributed teams (IDTs) face challenges related to the team members’ diversity and geographic dispersion. However, research on IDTs... Sample PDF
Creating Synergy for Inter-Cultural Learning
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Chapter 11
Iris C. Fischlmayr
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A Training Design for Behavioral Factors in Virtual Multicultural Teams
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Chapter 12
Jennifer V. Lock, Petrea Redmond
An international online collaborative learning experience was designed and implemented in preservice teacher education classes at the University of... Sample PDF
Working Collaboratively on the Digital Global Frontier
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Chapter 13
John D. Murphy
This chapter introduces Collaboration Engineering as an approach to developing more effective collaborative sessions for interdisciplinary teams.... Sample PDF
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Chapter 14
Darren Lee Pullen
Communication technology, which is not constrained by geographical boundaries, has increasingly resulted in faster and more efficient ways to... Sample PDF
Back to Basics: Electronic Collaboration in the Education Sector
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Chapter 15
Elizabeth DePoy
This chapter presents and analyzes the scholarly basis and empirical work that resulted in the development of Techscape, the application of... Sample PDF
Designing University Techscapes
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Chapter 16
Kathy Lynch, Aleksej Heinze, Eljse Scott
The barriers to global collaboration of yesteryear include country boundaries and time zones. Today, however, in a world where communication is... Sample PDF
Scholarly Collaboration Across Time Zones
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Chapter 17
Christine Aikens Wolfe, Cheryl North-Coleman, Shari Wallis Williams, Denise Amos, Glorianne Bradshaw, Toby Emert
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Chapter 18
Garry G. Burnett
This chapter introduces Media Synchronicity Theory as a means to examine the influence of technology use on the relationship between a... Sample PDF
Collective Identity and Learning in a Virtual Team
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Chapter 19
Janet Salmons
Social constructivism is an established educational theory based on the principle that learners and teachers co-construct knowledge through social... Sample PDF
E-Social Constructivism and Collaborative E-Learning
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Chapter 20
Jeffrey Mok
Technological artifacts such as computers and mobile electronic devices have dramatically increased our learning interactions with machines. Coupled... Sample PDF
Social and Distributed Cognition in Collaborative Learning Contexts
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Chapter 21
Qing Li
Increasingly, educators in a range of venues and institutions (e.g., K-12 schools, post secondary institutions, training facilities) are being... Sample PDF
Modeling the Model for Distributed Learning
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Chapter 22
Kathryn Dixon
This chapter is the result of an investigation into the capacity of an electronic portfolio (e-folio) to promote reflection and collaboration in a... Sample PDF
Capacity of an Electronic Portfolio to Promote Professionalism, Collaboration and Accountability in Educational Leadership
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Chapter 23
Robert J. Redmon Jr.
Departmental e-mail reflection groups promise to help resolve two of the most pressing problems facing the teaching profession, finding time for... Sample PDF
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Chapter 24
Janet L. Holland
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Chapter 25
Rosemarie Reynolds, Michael T. Brannick
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Chapter 26
Linda L. Larson, Paul Boyd-Batstone, Carole Cox
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Chapter 27
Andre L. Araujo
Recent advances in Web-based technologies along with investments in international outsourcing and offshore locations have unquestionably increased... Sample PDF
Instrumental and Social Influences on Adoption of Collaborative Technologies in Global Virtual Teams
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Chapter 28
Kenneth David Strang
Logically, it makes sense that organizations can be successful if their employees collaborate effectively, in a synergistic manner. Economically... Sample PDF
Collaborative Synergy and Leadership in E-Business
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Chapter 29
Gilliean Lee
Recent industry and business trends can be described as shorter life cycle, increased speed to market, customizability, and a wide variety (rather... Sample PDF
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Chapter 30
Apivut Chakuthip, Yvonne Brunetto, Rod Farr-Wharton, Sheryl Ramsay
This chapter uses the structural and relational dimension of Social Capital Theory as the lens for examining the factors affecting a Small and... Sample PDF
Trust, Social Networks and Electronic Commerce Adoption
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Chapter 31
Bolanle A. Olaniran
Trust and relational development represents a critical challenge in online collaboration groups. Often the problem is attributed to several factors... Sample PDF
A Proposition for Developing Trust and Relational Synergy in International e-Collaborative Groups
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Chapter 32
Peter Rittgen
The increasing complexity of products and services encourages more and more companies to form collaborative networks. As these companies are... Sample PDF
Supporting Inter-Business Collaboration via Contract Negotiation and Enactment
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Chapter 33
Larry R. Irons
This chapter reviews research in distributed work, relating it to the way organizations manage collaboration between home-based customer support... Sample PDF
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Chapter 34
Tobias Müller-Prothmann
Collaboration is a constitutional element of any organization. To conceptualize the organization as an evolving system of interactions means to put... Sample PDF
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Chapter 35
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Chapter 36
Theresa Rich
This case study presents the work done to develop and execute the global vision for a 24/7 matrix organization within a major multinational... Sample PDF
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Chapter 37
R. Todd Stephens
This chapter examines the elements of the new Web 2.0 technology base and reviews the lessons learned when implementing these technologies.... Sample PDF
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Chapter 38
Mairi Stewart Kershaw
This chapter details one project, “Linking for a Change” (LFC), connecting schools and public/social sector providers of education for sustainable... Sample PDF
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Chapter 39
Lynn Wilson
Environmental sustainability and global climate change issues intensify the need for collaborations between scientists and policymakers. Working in... Sample PDF
Collaboration in the Service of Knowledge Co-Creation for Environmental Outcomes, Science and Public Policy
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Chapter 40
Diego Liberati
In current economic and scientific scenarios, interactions and organization models tend to be more and more oriented to flexibility of... Sample PDF
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Chapter 41
Jeroen Wolbers, Peter Groenewegen, Pieter Wagenaar
The implementation of GMS (Integrated Emergency room System) in the Netherlands has had a tumultuous record. A direct consequence of the... Sample PDF
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Chapter 42
Elena Corradini
This chapter discusses a project for the implementation of a digital repository in a specific context, namely a small Italian town. The latest... Sample PDF
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Chapter 43
Simon Milne
This chapter examines the development and associated outcomes of two government funded projects designed to support small tourism enterprise (STE)... Sample PDF
ICT and Tourism Enterprise Collaboration in Rural New Zealand
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Chapter 44
Rubye Braye, Eric Evans
This chapter originated as a reflection of the communication between U.S. facilitators and a Rwandan host as they ecollaborated in planning... Sample PDF
2007 Leadership and Human Resources Training in Rwanda
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Chapter 45
James L. Smith
This chapter reveals the common theme three rural Minnesota communities used in their collaboration efforts in to install and deliver broadband... Sample PDF
Collaboration through Municipal Motivators
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Chapter 46
Keith Baker
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is often seen as a vehicle for organizational reform. However, the established literature on... Sample PDF
Understanding the Dialectic Relationship between Intraand Inter-Organizational Cooperation
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Chapter 47
Rakesh Biswas, Jayanthy Maniam, Edwin Wen Huo Lee, Shashikiran Umakanth, Premalatha Gopal Das
This is an illustrative process description of a collaborative project utilizing a multidisciplinary approach. The requirement for collaboration... Sample PDF
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Chapter 48
Beverly-Jean Daniel, April Boyington Wall
This chapter presents a case study of the process of employing technology in a project involving the development and presentation of a unique... Sample PDF
Technology Enhanced Collaborative Leadership Development
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Chapter 49
Lisa Faithorn, Baruch S. Blumberg
Complex social, economic, political and environmental challenges as well as new research areas that cut across disciplinary, institutional and... Sample PDF
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Chapter 50
Lynn Wilson, Janet Salmons
The concluding chapter offers the editors’ insights into the book chapters’ combined contribution. Using the editors’ Collaborative Integration... Sample PDF
Online Collaborative Integration and Recommendations for Future Research
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About the Editors
About the Contributors