Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe and summarise a PhD thesis that investigates the extent to which collaboration occurs through the use of online technologies in the project management environment (PME). Design/methodology/approach – Six PMEs and their use of online collaborative toolsets (OCTs) were investigated, using a collaboration scale developed specifically to measure the level of collaboration existing within each PME. The comparative case study approach was chosen as it provided the capacity to develop in‐depth analysis of multiple cases, whilst catering for the use of multiple sources and methods of data to be used for analysis. This approach enabled the author to gain an understanding of how each case used the OCT, whilst also identifying patterns of use across the cases. The analysis also included testing for the extent to which collaboration was occurring in the PME. Findings – The conclusions drawn from this research are: OCTs can contain a variety of features, several of which are common amongst all features; although OCTs are capable of facilitating a high level of collaboration, project managers do not use OCTs for this purpose; OCTs are used predominantly for cooperation and coordinating activities within the PME; and collaboration exists in degrees, at times being identified with cooperative functions, and at other times coordinating functions. The findings demonstrate a consistent pattern of collaboration across all cases. Practical implications – The collaboration scale is a tool that can be used to measure the extent of collaboration within many contexts and is not restricted to the PME. Originality/value – There has been scant academic treatment or quantifiable analysis that reviews OCTs to assess their use in the PME and as such this thesis contributes specific knowledge and intelligence to organisations using OCTs. The collaboration scale has been specifically designed for this thesis.
International Journal of Managing Projects in Business – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 5, 2011
Keywords: Group communications; Internet; Project management; Environment; Computer software