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Collaborating on Multi-party Information Systems Development Projects: A Collective Reflection-in-Action View

Authors: Levina, Natalia
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: Stern School of Business, New York University
Series/Report no.: CeDER-04-09
Abstract: Growth of business-to-consumer (B2C) applications such as electronic storefronts, catalogues, and customer support websites has drawn a great number of diverse stakeholders into the IS Development (ISD) practice. Marketing, strategy, and graphic design specialists have joined a variety of technical professionals and business stakeholders in developing B2C applications. Oftentimes, these professionals work for different organizations with different histories, cultures, and reward structures. A longitudinal qualitative field study of a B2C application development project was undertaken in order to build an in-depth understanding of the collaborative practices of diverse professionals in ISD projects. The paper proposes that the multi-party collaborative practice can be understood as a “collective reflection-in-action” cycle through which an IS design emerges as a result of agents producing, sharing, and reflecting upon material objects. Agents from diverse backgrounds exert different influences over emergent designs depending on their organization, profession, and project involvement-based power relations. These power relations shape whether collaborators “add to” “ignore,” or “challenge” the work produced by others. In turn, agents’ actions either reinforce or transform existing power relations depending on who gets to claim credit for and ownership of the emergent design. Implications for the study of boundary objects, team diversity, organizational learning, and contemporary ISD are drawn.
Appears in Collections:CeDER Working Papers
IOMS: Information Systems Working Papers
IOMS: Statistics Working Papers

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