Risk and opportunity in collaborative work

09/06/2008 - 08/08/2008

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Social computing tools for collaboration in work environments.

This study set out to establish the main risks and opportunities of the adoption of social computing tools within organizations for collaborative work purposes as perceived by information and knowledge management professionals. Napier and TFPL worked together to conduct a literature review, web-based survey, focus groups, interviews and analysis. 

In this study, in 2008, the term “social computing tools” referred to formal collaborative work platforms implemented within the organization (e.g. SharePoint, Lotus Notes, Quickplace and eRooms) and freely-available social software applications (e.g. instant messaging, blogs and wikis). Relatively new Web 2.0 applications (e.g. social networking and microblogging) were also considered.

The project revealed the business environment in a period of evolution, with regards to information infrastructures. As a consequence, levels of adoption of social computing tools varied from organization to organization. Although, during the study period, not all participants had access to these tools in the workplace, they were largely enthusiastic about their potential, particularly with regards to how they may improve knowledge and information sharing in support of collaborative work. Of the available tools, wikis were regarded as the most important. 

Study participants identified the integration of these tools into business as the greatest organizational risk: partial/non-adoption or poor implementation raised most fears. Participants also worried about information governance issues and maintaining easy access to information resources. A number of training needs were identified: from the need for individuals to become familiar with social computing tools at introductory levels to the need for knowledge and information professionals to be able to influence the management of implementations.

These outcomes were useful to TFPL’s client-base and also informed subsequent developments of TFPL’s training and consultancy portfolio. 

The final report is available in pdf format.

Risk and opportunity in collaborative work is a Research Charities & Trusts project funded by TFPL. Carried out in collaboration with and others. For further information please refer to .
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  • Social computing at work: opportunities and risks
    Adopting social computing tools for collaboration in the workplace. The business environment is in a period of evolution with regards to information infrastructures and, as a consequence, levels of adoption of social computing tools vary from organisation to organisation.
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  • TFPL
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Project Team

Hazel Hall
Director of CSI
+44 131 455 2760