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Global ICT-Mediated Collaborations: Thinking Beyond Networks

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1 Author(s)
Resnyansky, L. ; A research scientist in the Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence Division of the Defence Science and Technology Organisation, Australia.

Social laws differ from natural laws they can be made an object of reflection and, therefore, change. When it comes to ICT-mediated collaboration, the concept of technology developed within computer science may be critically re-examined in terms of its heuristic significance. This article contributes to this task by challenging the universal applicability of the network perspective on collaboration. It suggests that an activity-focused paradigm can provide a deeper understanding of collaboration as a social interaction and a production of knowledge. A system-activity model of interdisciplinary research can serve as a prototype of ICT-mediated collaboration. This model identifies the most relevant aspects of interaction between heterogeneous participants involved in the co-production of knowledge, and highlights the need to approach a collaborative entity as a sociocultural construct. The concept of collaboration as a system of social activity can assist technology developers in recognizing aspects of ICT-mediated collaboration that cannot be seen within the network perspective. Technology should be approached not only as an infrastructure but as an active participant that facilitates genuine collaboration through enabling human participants to critically reflect on knowledge shaped by different sociocultural and theoretical contexts.

Published in:

Technology and Society Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:30 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

Summer 2011

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