Social/Human Dimensions of Web Services: Communication Errors and Cultural Aspects

Social/Human Dimensions of Web Services: Communication Errors and Cultural Aspects

Anca Draghici (Politehnica University of Timisoara, Romania), Diana Barglazan (Politehnica University of Timisoara, Romania), Myriam Lewkowicz (Université de Technologie de Troyes, France) and Gila Molcho (Israel Institute of Technology, Technion, Israel)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-650-1.ch018
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This chapter presents some recent studies of the social and human dimension of Semantic Web services in the era of virtual organizations, focusing on the challenges, effects, and implications. The issues and results presented refer to the virtual organization known as the Virtual Research Laboratory for a Knowledge Community in Production (VRL-KCiP), Network of Excellence (NoE). In this chapter the authors analyze the risks arising from the modern communication process in this new form of organization, focusing in particular on the knowledge sharing process. Furthermore, they discuss the cultural aspects of managing a virtual organization that determine the efficiency of the knowledge management processes. The aim is to consider the challenges and the associated effect on developing Web services from the social/human perspective and to examine the impact on an organization’s cultural dimensions.
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The Case Of Vrl-Kcip Noe

The Virtual Research Laboratory for a Knowledge Community in Production (VRL-KCiP) is a Network of Excellence (NoE) established in 2004 as part of the EC Sixth Framework Programme (Contract no. FP6-507487). The 27 member teams from 16 different countries (see Table 1) sought to create a new delocalized research structure at the European level, in which they would share research strategies, knowledge and resources, responsibilities, rights, and duties, as well as industrial contacts and contracts.

Table 1.
The list of the partners in the VRL-KCiP NoE
Role*Partic. NoParticipant nameParticipant short nameCountry
CO1Caisse des dépôts et ConsignationsCDCF
CR2Institut National Polytechnique de GrenobleINPGF
CR3University of TwenteUT CIPVNL
CR4University of BerlinFhG/IPKG
CR6University of BathBathUK
CR8University of PatrasUPATRASGR
CR9Kungliga Tekniska HögskolanKTHS
CR10Hungarian Academy of SciencesMTA SZTAKIHU
CR11University of LjubljanaUNI LJSL
CR12Universitaet StuttgartUSTUTTG
CR13Israel Institute of TechnologyTECHNIONIL
CR14Ecole Centrale de NantesECNF
CR15Université Technologique de TroyesUTTF
CR16Politechnica University of TimisoaraUPTRO
CR17Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de LausanneEPFLCH
CR18University of DurhamUoDUK
CR19Delft University of TechnologyTU DelftNL
CR20Eindhoven University of TechnologyTUENL
CR21Politechnica PoznanskaPUTPL
CR25Pôle Productique Rhône AlpesPPRAF
CR26University of StellenboschUSSA
CR27Politecnico di MilanoPoli-MilanoI
*CO = Coordinator; CR = Contractor

Key Terms in this Chapter

Organizational Culture: is a concept in the field of Organizational studies and management which describes the attitudes, experiences, beliefs and values of an organization. It has been defined as “the specific collection of values and norms that are shared by people and groups in an organization and that control the way they interact with each other and with stakeholders outside the organization.” (Charles & Gareth, 2001).

Knowledge Community: is a community of people, groups or teams that share competencies, information and knowledge (in a specific field of activity) based on a specific knowledge management system defined in the context of a knowledge sharing culture with a proper ICT system. Web services support knowledge communities.

Misunderstanding: Can be explained in two ways: putting the wrong interpretation on; b. an understanding of something that is not correct. Another related word in this context of explanations is misconception, which is an incorrect conception (according to the Free Dictionary In information technology must be avoided: “Precise and unambiguous data element definitions are one of the most critical aspects of ensuring data shareability. When two or more parties exchange data, it is essential that all are in explicit agreement on the meaning of that data. One of the primary vehicles for carrying the data’s meaning is the data element definition. Therefore, it is mandatory that every data element have a well-formed definition; one that is clearly understood by every user. Poorly formulated data element definitions foster misunderstandings and ambiguities and often inhibit successful communication” (according to international standard ISO/IEC 11179-4)

Web Service: is a set of related application functions that can be invoked over the Internet as an integrated part of any program code. Businesses can dynamically mix and match Web services to perform complex transactions with minimal programming. Web services allow buyers and sellers worldwide to discover each other, connect dynamically, execute transactions, and share information (data, knowledge) in real time with minimal human interaction.

Ad-Hoc or Virtual Team: is a recombinant structure for work that pulls people and resources together quickly to solve a particular problem or client issue (Koulopoulos & Frappaolo, 1999).

Virtual Research Laboratory for a Knowledge Community in Production: (acronym VRL-KCiP) is a virtual Network of Excellence (NoE) established in June 2004, consisting of 27 partners (more than 200 researchers) from 16 different countries that decided to work together and build a knowledge community in the field of design and manufacturing research ( VRL-KCiP is financed by the European Commission in the 6th Framework Programme.

Semantic Technologies: provide an abstraction layer above existing information technologies in order to bridge and interconnect data, content, and processes. Using semantic technologies, the process of adding, changing and implementing new relationships or interconnecting programs is relatively straightforward. From the portal perspective, semantic technologies can be thought of as a new level of depth that provides an improved, intelligent, relevant, and responsive interaction compared to that available with “classical” information technologies alone.

Expertise: is the property of a person (that is, expert) or of a system that delivers a desired result, such as pertinent information or skills. Expertise generally implies providing useful and large amounts of knowledge and action quickly (fluency). In general, expertise has several synonyms, among them know-how, skill, knowledge, competence, or excellence.

Core Competency: represents the overriding value statement of an organization. Core competency need not be narrow (Kotler, 2000). Hindle (2000) identifies three essential elements of a core competency: (1) provide potential access to a wide variety of markets; (2) make a significant contribution to the perceived customer benefits of the end product; and (3) be difficult for competitors to imitate.

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