oa South African Journal of Information Management - Factors influencing e-collaboration for knowledge development and innovation : original research
Background : Knowledge development and innovation are at the heart of the progress of academic and research institutions (ARIs) through individual and coordinated research projects. Collaboration initiatives remain a challenge for many researchers for a myriad of reasons which are further intensified by the many technology options that are available both freely and at varying prices. Although multiple theories were considered, the focus on electronic communication supported by the interest in how innovation is diffused and the richness of media motivated the focus on diffusion of innovations (DOI) and media richness theory (MRT).
Objectives : The objective was to develop a multi-dimensional matrix of e-collaboration factors for research institutions. This study investigated collaboration by ARIs while focusing on the supporting and enabling technologies.
Method : The grounded theory method (GTM) was adopted. E-collaboration literature was reviewed followed by data collection using observations, interviews and a blog. DOI and MRT were considered as theories that assist in the implementation of collaboration. A blog was developed as an e-collaboration platform to examine the emergent ideas and to collect data. Data was analysed through the coding method which led to the development of the multi-dimensional e-collaboration factors matrix.
Results : The findings reveal that e-collaboration has multiple factors that must be considered. Collaboration by participants was improved through knowledge development and innovation.
Conclusion : The multi-dimensional matrix of e-collaboration factors presented collaborators with a checklist that will enhance and improve their work. ARIs continue to collaborate at multiple levels depending on their needs and objectives.
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