IKT-användning för koordination inom projektgrupper
Abstract (Summary)In this Licentiate Thesis project groups’ use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to coordinate their work is investigated. Coordination is present in all organized human activities and, due to new forms of organizing, e.g. project groups, the development seems to be moving towards an increased intensity of this management aspect. These changes in organizing of activities together with the development in ICT imply that studies of the relationship between ICT and coordination are of importance. The purpose of my research is to increase our understanding of how coordination is being influenced and changed by usage of ICT. In order to gain this understanding I explore how and in what way project groups coordinate their activities using different ICT artefacts, including what is being coordinated. The research builds on two empirical studies where project groups have been using different ICT artefacts in their work; the emphasis lies on the use of existing ICT artefacts such as Class Fronter, Tablet PCs, e-mail, ICQ, and SMS. The theoretical framework mainly consists of traditional coordination theories, in particular Mintzberg’s classification of coordinating mechanisms is of central importance for this thesis. Theories on ICT and coordination are also included in the theoretical framework. The main findings of my research show that changes and influences on coordinating activities are dependent upon the specific functionality of the used ICT artefacts. The coordinating mechanism mutual adjustment gets an increased span and scope which is enabled by access to ICT. This, in turn, enables mutual adjustment in a distributed context. ICT artefacts are also able to fortify mutual adjustment when the group is collocated. The mechanism thus becomes more flexible and extendable than it is in its original form and therefore applicable in additional situations. The use of ICT can support direct supervision through enabling availability of common objects and making visible the activities of the individuals. This facilitates a lateral form of direct supervision and implies that direct supervision moves from control and surveillance to comprehensive view and participation. The coordinating mechanism thus moves from being a manager’s task towards becoming a group activity. The research also shows that norms have a great influence on how the group relates to and uses the different ICT artefacts. This means that the coordinating mechanism standardization of norms influences and changes the use of ICT rather than the other way around. Apart from the conclusions that are related to the coordinating mechanisms, the research also shows that the ICT artefact’s communication capacity and the ability to store documents are important factors when choosing what artefact to use. Another aspect that the groups consider as central is the flexibility of work, to which the artefacts contribute. The flexibility is being manifested in freedom, availability and accessibility; concepts that can be related to the earlier mentioned increased span and scope of mutual adjustment. Finally, the research points at the importance of studying the individual artefact’s function, capacity, and use, rather than discussing ICT artefacts’ general qualities and characteristics.
School:Luleå tekniska universitet
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:01/01/2006