Broadly defined as electronic technologies that enable collaboration among individuals engaged in a common task (Kock, 2005b), electronic collaboration (e-collaboration) is now viewed as a new strategic weapon for organizations to fundamentally improve the traditional business relationships and quality of business processes. Since the emergence of innovative information technologies including e-mail, teleconferencing, videoconferencing, and most recently, instant messaging (IM), the importance of e-collaboration has risen as organizations have made the shift from personal computing to interpersonal or collaborative computing that may more effectively and efficiently leverage their business resources for decision-making. Prior literature suggests that the utilization of e-collaboration technologies can avail organizations of facilitating business-to-business interactions and thereby more quickly and easily solving business problems that are in need of integrative operations and smooth information distribution and sharing amid different inter and intra organizational constituents (Johnson & Whang, 2002; Kock, 1999, 2005b; Kock & Hantula, 2005).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Virtual Workspace Technologies: An integrated set of tools that offer a variety of communication support capabilities including a well-organized and searchable common team repository and group discussion forums.
Instant Messaging: An Internet-based application that provides semi-synchronous communication between participants.
E-Collaboration: Electronic technologies that enable collaboration among individuals engaged in a common task.
Globalization: The growing interdependence of countries worldwide through increasing volume and variety of cross-border interactions and transactions in goods and services, free international capital flows, and more rapid and widespread diffusion of technology.
Synchronized Communication: Communication that enables intensive interaction, immediate clarification, and discussion among all participants at the same time.
Media Richness: A classification of media based on its ability to carry nonverbal cues, provide rapid feedback, convey personality traits, and support the use of natural language.
Computer-Mediated Communication: A cluster of interpersonal communication systems used for conveying written text, generally over the Internet.