Exploring the Barriers to Electronic Collaboration

Exploring the Barriers to Electronic Collaboration

Bernard Owens Imarhiagbe (Kingston University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1918-8.ch004


This investigation reviews research literature on electronic collaboration (e-collaboration) with a view to collate relevant information to support e-collaboration knowledgebase, further research and encourage further collaborative engagements. E-collaboration has been described with various phrases such as information sharing, information exchange, knowledge sharing, social networking and joint working. This research categorised the challenges of e-collaboration into people, process and technology because all the issues identified in e-collaboration research are rooted in one of these categories. As e-collaboration is a source of competitiveness, businesses that fail to strategically adopt the phenomenon could lose out. A notable example of e-collaboration is crowdfunding which provides funding for start-up and small businesses. However, businesses that support e-collaboration strategy have the potential to have better competitive advantage with increased firm performance.
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The concept of e-collaboration is a subset of collaboration. Collaboration involves both electronic and non-electronic means of interaction between people, organisations and governments. A few of the tools of e-collaboration include e-mail, internet, wikis, online forums, chat rooms, web-conferencing, blogs, journals and crowdfunding platforms (Marks, 2011; Nosek, & McManus, 2008; Ordanini, Miceli, Pizzetti, & Parasuraman, 2011).

The level of e-collaboration has increased over a decade and the continued improvement in technology has supported its growth (Jean, Sinkovics, & Kim, 2014; Marks, 2011; Miri-Lavassani, Movahedi, & Kumar, 2010). As the development of the internet and associated tools get better and advanced, more opportunity for e-collaboration will become available (Haythornetwaite, 2005; Turban et al., 2011). Businesses that engage in e-collaboration have better competitive advantage (Nosek, & McManus, 2008). Firms use e-collaboration as an avenue for organisational coordination, learning and innovation towards competitive advantage (Fink, 2007). However, as much as many people, organisations and the governments engage in e-collaboration in one way or another, there are still challenges to the phenomenon in everyday life. Although technology has enabled the expansion of e-collaboration over a decade, Nosek, & McManus (2008) identified technology as a major challenge to the development and advancement of e-collaboration. This suggests that technology provided the necessary support for progressive e-collaboration in the past and technology also has the responsibility to resolve the challenges impacting e-collaboration today and the future.

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