Communications of the Association for Information Systems


Distributed collaboration has become increasingly common across domains ranging from software development to information processing, the creative arts, and entertainment. As of early 2020, distributed collaboration has entered the limelight as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced employees across the world to work from home. However, while researchers have applied myriad terms to define these operations, we first address this issue by defining distributed collaboration in a way that represents all its forms. Existing research has identified several factors that contribute to distributed collaborations’ success. Yet, researchers and practitioners typically discuss these factors in modular theoretical terms, which means that they often struggle to identify and synthesize literature that spans multiple domains and perspectives. In this paper, we systematically review the literature to synthesize core findings into one amalgamated model. This model categorizes the contributing factors for distributed collaboration along two axes 1) whether they are social or material and 2) whether they are endemic or relational. We also explicitly discuss the relationships between factors in the model. The model further links these contributing factors to different collaborative outcomes, specifically mutual learning, relationship building, communication, task completion speed, access to skilled personnel, and cost savings.





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