Increasing team coordination and social motivation through awareness practices: A case study
Haines Russell, Vehring Nadine
People working in teams are vulnerable to so-called process losses, which occur when the teams output is less than what could be produced given the capabilities of the team members. Teams can develop practices that provide awareness of each other's activities, thereby enabling them to coordinate activities better and reducing one of these process losses coordination loss. Such awareness is harder to maintain when team members are geographically dispersed, but can be promoted using social computing technologies. We present a framework derived from a case study that identifies drivers of awareness practices in geographically dispersed teams. Our investigation indicates that new awareness practices were developed at times when the teams faced changes in the team's goals, social computing context, physical context, and team structure. The teams developed awareness practices to improve coordination in the teams, but the practices had the added effect of decreasing social motivation losses. Based on these results, organizations that are considering implementing social computing technologies such as life streaming and microblogging are advised to take social motivation into account formulating their implementation strategies. Designers and users of social computing technology are similarly advised to consider latent social motivation effects that might occur in organizational teams when social computing technology and practices are introduced.
awareness; coordination; social loafing