Exploring the Enterprise Value of Wikis through Media Choice Theories

Exploring the Enterprise Value of Wikis through Media Choice Theories

Christian Wagner (City University of Hong Kong, China), Andreas Schroeder (Open University, UK), Wing Wong (City University of Hong Kong, China) and Anna Shum (City University of Hong Kong, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1782-7.ch014
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Abstract

Wikis are quickly emerging as a new corporate medium for communication and collaboration. They allow dispersed groups of collaborators to asynchronously engage in persistent conversations, the result of which is stored on a common server as a single, shared truth. To gauge the enterprise value of wikis, the authors draw on Media Choice Theories (MCTs) as an evaluation framework. MCTs reveal core capabilities of communication media and their fit with the communication task. Based on the evaluation, the authors argue that wikis are equivalent or superior to existing asynchronous communication media in key characteristics. Additionally argued is the notion that wiki technology challenges some of the held beliefs of existing media choice theories, as wikis introduce media characteristics not previously envisioned. The authors thus predict a promising future for wiki use in enterprises.
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2. Wikis In The Enterprise

Wiki technology and the principles of wiki-based collaboration have gained popularity through online encyclopedias such as Wikipedia (Wagner, 2006). However, in its original conceptualization wiki technology was not developed for the purpose of a public internet-based encyclopedia but as an internal collaboration platform. Ward Cunningham originally developed the c2 wiki, also known as “Ward’s Wiki” (Wiki, 2009) to support the effort of his project team to maintain version control in a software development project. The underlying principle was to create “the simplest database that might just work” (Leuf & Cunningham, 2001 p. 15). The c2 wiki quickly developed into an open knowledge sharing and collaboration environment. The use of wiki as an encyclopedia (Wikipedia, 2009) arose only several years later in 2000, when Nupedia creators Larry Sanger and Jimmy Wales were looking for a collaboration technology to overcome their stalling initiative to create a free, online encyclopedia (Timothy, 2005). As of 2009, Wikipedia is the world’s largest encyclopedia, with over 2.9 Million entries in the English version alone. Wikipedia is also the 8th most popular Internet site, according to Alexa.com.

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