Conceptualizing the Awareness of Collaboration: A Qualitative Study of a Global Virtual Team
Innovative organizations are increasing their use of distributed teamwork, but there are several difficulties in reaching shared understanding between the team members in these settings. A lack of awareness of other team members’ working processes is one of the drawbacks that a virtual team may face while attempting to collaborate on a shared task. In this study virtual teamwork was supported with a specific working model. The aim was to investigate virtual team members’ awareness of collaboration. One global team ( N =19) within a single organization worked as a distributed team in a shared web-based workspace for three months. The data were gathered by means of questionnaires, log-files of the shared virtual workspace and collected company documents in order to find out how team members perceive their collaboration. Based on qualitative data analysis, three different aspects of collaboration awareness were identified: an awareness of the possibility for collaboration, an awareness of the aims of collaboration, and an awareness of the process of collaboration. The results presented in this paper give guidelines for discussing what the awareness of collaboration means in the context of distributed collaboration.