Conversational Coherence: Using Email Threads to Coordinate Distributed Work

This paper explores the central role of conversational threads in facilitating the ongoing, distributed work of one virtual organization. In studying the electronic mail exchanges of organizational members during one year, we found that they engaged in a range of threading activity to establish and maintain continuity, coherence, and coordination in their collaborative work over time. In particular, we found that organizational members used threads in multiple ways: in isolation, to carry on individual conversations that focused their attention and action on a particular topic over a short period of time; in parallel, to carry on concurrent conversations that enabled their engagement with multiple topics during the same period of time; and in sequence, to conduct recurrent conversations that allowed them to connect related work over long periods of time. We conclude by discussing the implications of conversational threads for research on virtual organizing.



About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
This entry was posted in Collaboration, Conversations, eMail and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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