Professional Collaboration in a World Without Offices: The Case of a Co-Working Space on Bali

Professional Collaboration in a World Without Offices: The Case of a Co-Working Space on Bali

Anders Sandborg Nielsen (Independent Researcher, Denmark)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4094-6.ch015


This chapter contributes to the understanding of how online collaboration and cooperation can take place between geographically dispersed people by providing insights into how people work from the Hubud co-working space on Bali in Indonesia. The chapter revolves around the presentation of an interview with a person working from this co-working space. The case represents an example of how people, who, in a radical way, embrace the new possibilities of information and communication technology (ICT) work and live their professional lives. The aims are to provide insight into how people in the co-working space collaborate and work in a primarily online world and to present material that other researchers, students, and people who are interested in online collaboration can use in their work. The chapter introduces a framework that is intended as a tool to explore the material by introducing some of the key concepts, a possible theoretical approach, and a context for the case.
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Setting The Stage

Examining the field of technology and how it affects our ways of working and collaborating is a challenging task. Technology evolves quickly, and every day sees the development of new advances that were previously not thought of or accessible to a wider audience. These new technologies are incorporated into our private and professional lives with the same incredible speed, making it difficult to gain a solid understanding of what is happening and how. This challenge has been addressed by many scholars. In her work on digital competence, Tømte (2013, p. 76) argues that this notion constitutes a “moving target” because the development of new technology constantly changes what digital competence is. Online collaboration and cooperation constitute a moving target in the same way because of their technological component. In the early nineties, the Internet barely existed, and at the turn of the millennium, it had grown to slightly fewer than half a billion users. Today, more than 3 billion people use the Internet (Internet Live Stats, 2017). Many new technologies for communicating and collaborating are Internet based; not only are the technologies new, but they are also unfolding in a world of communication and interaction that did not exist 25 years ago. If we want to understand how we, as professionals, can lead, collaborate, and cooperate in such a context, we must be aware of the premise that we are examining a moving target in an emerging world that is constituted of billions of people.

This chapter dives into this whirlpool by presenting the case of a co-working space on Bali in Indonesia. The main element in the case is an interview with one of the people working from Hubud. The interview focuses on three themes: online collaboration, professional communities, and digital nomadism. The aim is to provide insight into how people at the co-working space collaborate and work in a primarily online world. The chapter presents a case that may inspire and motivate further research of the topic by presenting a glimpse of a very specific context—an approach advocated by Flyvbjerg (2015). In order to create a better understanding of the case, the chapter introduces some of the key concepts and a theoretical approach.

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