2C-NOW Collaboration and Coordination in Networks of Work


2C-NOW Collaboration and Coordination in Networks of Work
Period: Oct 01, 2020 - Sep 30, 2023
Status: laufend




This project investigates transformations to work processes and practices in large-scale, heterogeneous enterprise collaboration platforms in order to obtain deeper theoretical and practical understandings of how collaborative work takes place within the digital workplace. 

Enterprise collaboration platforms support a wide range of work practices and provide many ways for people to work together to capture and share information, to coordinate team projects, and communicate and collaborate on joint work. This research investigates how employees are using the different affordances and functionality of a collaboration platform to develop new work practices to organise and coordinate their everyday work and the ways these work practices become standardised and embedded as organisational work processes. To achieve this, the digital traces laid down when employees work together (and with mediating digital artefacts such as documents, agents, bots etc.) are captured from the logfiles of operational collaboration platforms and analysed. In parallel, in-depth, longitudinal case studies are developed in leading German organisations in the area of digital workplace transformation. 

The research serves both theoretical and methodological imperatives. Theoretical investigations examine the ways that digital work is orchestrated and coordinated and how coordination mechanisms are designed and evolve to meet the temporal unfolding and situated nature of coordinative work. The unit of analysis and focus of the work traverses between localist studies of interaction and coordination of work practices to the examination of coordinative processes across large heterogeneous information infrastructures. 

Computational and trace ethnography methods and tools are being developed to enable the collection and analysis of data about work processes and practices in large-scale collaboration platforms. These methods enable the examination of work from the atomic level of the actions of individual employees to the large-scale, collective actions and work processes across an organisational context. These methods will also make visible and enable the analysis of the role and agency of non-human artefacts (documents, routines, sensors, robotic agents etc.) in the transformation and coordination of digital work.

In addition, the project is capturing an extensive and in-depth corpus of empirical data on coordination mechanisms and collaborative work processes and practices. 

Following the framework outlined in the Call for Proposals for the Priority Programme “The Digitalisation of Working Worlds (SPP 2267)”, the research focus is primarily on the micro and meso levels of activity and on the dynamics of permeating and making available