Collaboration and the use of online collaborative toolsets in the project management environment

Harley, J 2009, Collaboration and the use of online collaborative toolsets in the project management environment, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Collaboration and the use of online collaborative toolsets in the project management environment
Author(s) Harley, J
Year 2009
Abstract The research aims to develop an understanding of the extent to which collaboration occurs through the use of online technologies in the project management environment. Given the breadth of the technological landscape, this research focuses on the use of online collaborative toolsets (OCTs).

The research investigates six Project Management Environments (PMEs) and their use of OCTs, and uses a Collaboration scale developed specifically to measure the level of collaboration existing within each PME. The Collaboration scale presents collaboration not as a single entity, but as a scale ranging from low to high across six elements. Central to this theory is that for collaboration to exist, all elements must rate highly against the scale. The research argues that although all collaborative elements are found within a PME, it is the level of each element that determines the degree to which collaboration is occurring.

A case study approach incorporated three broad strategies to collect data. The first strategy included a Likert questionnaire using the Dichotomous scale, which was administered to collect data on the operations of the individual projects. The second strategy included interviews that asked the project manager of each case specific questions regarding the PME. The third strategy involved desk research to scan for literature and web artefacts.

The conclusions drawn from this research are:

1. OCTs can contain a variety of features, several of which are common amongst all. The research identified common requirements and use of the OCTs within the cases. 2. Although OCTs are capable of facilitating a high level of collaboration, Project Managers do not use OCTs for this purpose. The different project environments reviewed are not necessarily collaborative, nor do they use OCTs to assist with collaborative exercises. 3. OCTs are used predominantly for cooperation and coordinating activities within the PME. 4. Collaboration in the PMEs reviewed exists in degrees, at times being identified with cooperative functions, and at other times coordinating functions. 5. The findings demonstrate a pattern of collaboration, which is consistent across all cases. This pattern demonstrates a variation in the collaborative elements across the PME, and indicates a priority that may exist in regard to how these elements are prescribed within the actual project environment.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Property, Construction and Project Management
Keyword(s) Online collaborative toolsets
collaboration scale
project management environment
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