Using Internet-Based, Distributed Collaborative Writing Tools to Improve Coordination and Group Awareness in Writing Teams

Paul Benjamin Lowry, Jay F. Nunamaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper argues for using specialized collaborative writing (CW) tools to improve the results of distributed, internet-based writing teams. The key features of collaborative tools that support enhanced coordination and group awareness are compared to existing writing tools. The first internet-based CW tool, Collaboratus, is introduced, and its group features are compared with those of Microsoft Word. Next, theoretical propositions, hypotheses, and constructs are formulated to predict outcomes of distributed groups that use CW tools. A four-week-long synchronous-distributed experiment then compares the outcomes of Collaboratus and Word groups. Innovative measures show that Collaboratus groups generally experience better outcomes than Word groups, in terms of productivity, document quality, relationships, and communication, but not in terms of satisfaction. The results buttress the conclusion that internet-based CW teams can benefit from specialized collaborative technologies that provide enhanced coordination, group awareness, and CW activity support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-297
Number of pages21
JournalIEEE Transactions on Professional Communication
Volume46
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003

Keywords

  • Collaborative writing (CW)
  • Distributed work
  • Group awareness
  • Group support systems
  • Group writing
  • Media richness theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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