Supporting Collaboration in Dispersed Organisations using Computer Software : eCollaboration in AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca is a pharmaceutical company developing, producing and selling prescription medicine in over 100 countries. Information and communication technologies (ICT) are a potent mean for lowering the barriers caused by dispersion in space and time. The aspiration of this study is to understand how collaboration supported by electronic means (eCollaboration) can be improved in AstraZeneca. Are proper tools in place and what factors affect adoption of eCollaboration practices?
Data gathering was conducted in a globally distributed manner by a university student team consisting of six members based in China, France, Sweden, UK and the US. The team performed interviews with numerous AstraZeneca employees and stakeholders and also experienced first hand use of AstraZeneca eCollaboration capabilities. Supporting collaboration between employees depends on the type of relationship that binds them together. Ties can be characterised as strong, weak, or potential depending on intensity and information flows. A major finding of this study is that the current eCollaboration platform in AstraZeneca mainly supports collaboration via strong ties.
Further, facilitating factors for eCollaboration have been identified and divided into three categories; tools, cognitions and structural properties of an organisation. Having a consolidated and integrated eCollaboration platform, with a high critical mass of users is important for adoption. Policies for information access and sharing, as well as an incentive structure adapted to collaboration are identified as important structural properties for effective use of eCollaboration.
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