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PCD 4/22/11 - Pamela Hinds - Deepening Relational Coordination: Why Site Visits Matter in Global Work

Steven Dow spdow at
Wed Apr 20 07:59:42 PDT 2011

Stanford Seminar on People, Computers, and Design (CS547)
	In Gates B01 and online through SCPD, 12:50-2:05pm
 	Talk details and video: see

Friday, April 22, 2011
Pamela Hinds
Deepening Relational Coordination: Why Site Visits Matter in Global Work 
Department of Management Science and Engineering, Stanford University

Distributed work is often characterized by long periods of time working apart, punctuated by face-to-face meetings and site visits. Little research, however, has explored the interplay between distant work and these collocated intervals. In an ethnographic study of 143 members of 12 software development teams, we explore the interplay between site visits and distant work and its effects on interpersonal dynamics and the coordination of work. Our findings suggest that site visits promote situated knowing who -- knowledge about distant colleagues that is  situated in context and intertwined with practice -- that deepen relational coordination between co-workers. During site visits, people observed and interacted with their distant colleagues in these colleagues' context, thus gaining a deeper understanding of their behavior within the social and physical context in which they were situated. As they interacted, they reconstituted collaborative practices which further enabled knowing who and promoted relational coordination even after returning home, as evidenced by more frequent communication, responsiveness, problem-solving communication, mutual respect, and disclosure of personal information among distant coworkers. This work contributes to understanding how relational coordination is accomplished in global work and points toward opportunities for new technological affordances to support distant collaboration.

Professor Hinds studies the effect of technology on groups and the interplay between information technologies, information sharing, and human judgment. She is currently conducting research on the affect of remote and distributed work on employees' shared understanding of work, the affect of intellectual property agreements on information sharing, and the limitations of expertise. She has conducted extensive research on the dynamics of geographically distributed work teams, particularly those spanning national boundaries. She explores issues of culture, language, identity, conflict, and the role of site visits in promoting knowledge sharing and collaboration. She also conducts research on professional service robots in the work environment, examining how people make sense of them and how they affect work practices.


NEXT SPEAKER: April 29, 2011 

	Jeremy Bailenson
	Infinite Reality: Avatars, Eternal Life, New Worlds, and the Dawn of the Virtual Revolution
	Department of Communication, Stanford University

For this quarter's schedule, see see

The talks are open to the public. They are in the Gates Building, Room
B01 in the basement. The nearest public parking is in the structure at
Campus Drive and Roth Way.

For details on getting credit for the course, see

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