Improving Online Collaboration in Contemporary IT Development Teams

Improving Online Collaboration in Contemporary IT Development Teams

Jan Pries-Heje (Roskilde University, Denmark) and Lene Pries-Heje (The IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4094-6.ch009


An interview study focusing on online collaboration in geographically distributed IT development teams in Danske Bank revealed seven problem areas. To cope with the problems the authors applied a design science research approach to construct a conceptual framework for improving online collaboration. The conceptual framework combines a six-phase teambuilding model with six elements of social capital. Thus, in each phase of teambuilding, the online collaborators aim at building up all six elements of social capital. The complete six-by-six framework was successfully tried and diffused throughout Danske Bank. This chapter gives an account of the framework content and the results from the evaluation.
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Research Method

In this section, the authors carefully explain the design science research approach taken, the business needs being addressed and the knowledge applicable to the problem at hand.

Benbasat and Zmud (1999 ) argue that much information system (IS) research today is irrelevant, and they recommend research that is more relevant but without fundamentally challenging the existing academic value system. The authors believe that design science research offers the practical relevance and utility required because it emphasises that a design should address a need or a problem and at the same time, should stand on the shoulders of existing research on the problem area. Probably the first journal paper on design science research about IS is that of Walls et al. (1992), who argue that design is both a product and a process. Thus, a design theory must on one side, handle the design product; on the other side, it should handle the design process. In another influential paper on design science research (March & Smith, (1995), one of the key points is that in design science, a researcher can build and evaluate four elements: constructs, models, methods and instantiations.

Figure 1.

Components of a design theory according to Hevner et al. (2004)

Continuing the work of March and Smith (1995), Hevner et al. (2004) present a design science research framework that also enhances the study of Walls et al. (1992). Figure 1 shows an overview of the framework. At the core are such elements as build and justify. The arrows back and forth symbolise the iterative nature of design science research. The left hand side of the figure shows the business needs stemming from people, an organisation or technology. The right hand side of the figure shows the common knowledge base consisting of foundations, methodologies and technology. The bottom two arrows show the main outcomes of design science research – applications in a concrete setting and additions to the general knowledge base.

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