Participation in ICT-Enabled Meetings

Participation in ICT-Enabled Meetings

Katherine M. Chudoba (Utah State University, USA), Mary Beth Watson-Manheim (University of Illinois, Chicago, USA), Kevin Crowston (Syracuse University, USA) and Chei Sian Lee (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2059-9.ch011
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Meetings are a common occurrence in contemporary organizations. The authors’ exploratory study at Intel, an innovative global technology company, suggests that meetings are evolving beyond their familiar definition as the pervasive use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) changes work practices associated with meetings. Drawing on data gathered from interviews prompted by entries in the employees’ electronic calendar system, the authors examine the multiple ways in which meetings build and reflect work in the organization and derive propositions to guide future research. Specifically, the authors identify four aspects of meetings that reflect work in the 21st century: meetings are integral to work in team-centered organizations, tension between group and personal objectives, discontinuities, and ICT support for fragmented work environment.
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Practice View

Because work and use of ICT can be highly intertwined, it is important to have a theoretical perspective that helps make sense of their relation. In this paper, we adapted Orlikowski’s (2000) application of a practice lens to analyze the interaction between ICT use and meetings. A practice lens focuses on human agency and the open-ended set of structures or work practices that arise through recurrent human activities. The approach uses people’s everyday activities as the unit of analysis, and examines the structural and interpersonal elements that create and are created by these activities (Schultze & Orlikowski, 2001). While offering a broad perspective on which to base an investigation of meetings, a practice lens encourages a focus on specific work practices and the structures and norms associated with them. It provides guidance about what factors should serve as the focus of an investigation, rather than providing a predictive framework of cause and effect relationships that are examined. In our adaptation of the practice lens view, we focus on practices as organizational members report them and use the insights that emerge from these practices to generate propositions to guide future research.

Figure 1, adapted from Orlikowski (2000), shows the relationship between agency and work practices and their constituents. Work practices of social systems are enacted through recurrent human activities and are mediated through settings, norms, and interpretive schemes that guide human action. Settings include the context that supports meeting activities such as participants’ physical location and technology; norms, the codes of conduct and etiquette that guide and regulate the activities; and interpretive schemes, the categories and assumptions that give meaning to the activities. By examining meetings as a collection of work practices, we can study the effects of ICT-enabled distributed meetings. To the extent technology is used in different ways, different practices emerge, thus leading to a shift in the way people accomplish their work.

Figure 1.

Practice perspective template


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