Many organisations adopted a digital collaboration platform (DCP) such as Microsoft Teams© during COVID-19 remote working; this longitudinal, qualitative research in progress considers how and why DCP adoption contributes to the reconfiguration of organisational collaboration practices and culture. 58 interviews were conducted with two organisations during 2020 and 2021 with diversely aged knowledge workers. Older (50+) and younger adults were not homogenous in their attitudes to change, ways of working or digital skills, but age-related stereotypical views were found, despite older and younger workers both demonstrating digital dexterity, or the ability to use and swap between digital applications with equanimity. The forced adoption of the DCP created a level playing field amongst diversely aged individuals, and the necessity of using the DCP to provide business continuity during the crisis accelerated change within the organisations studied, neither of whom are ‘born digital’. Findings illustrate collaboration practices are variously adapted, repurposed, and displaced during liminal conditions arising from remote and hybrid working. Further, emotions of compassion and enhanced trust, experienced during the COVD-10 pandemic, combined with benefits from DCP use, contribute to the decision to offer hybrid working on an ongoing basis, providing workers with greater flexibility and potential for digital inclusion, including those with some disabilities. Hybrid working in this case, is an acknowledgement that the personal lives of staff matter; it is professionally acceptable to acknowledge one’s personal responsibilities at work. However, both remote and hybrid working practices displace organisational cultures that privilege face to face collaboration, creating existential tension. Since the hybrid working ‘genie’ is unlikely to go back into the bottle, organisations should look forwards and consciously redevelop a hybrid organisational culture, embracing both physical and digital artefacts.
Goldthorpe, Nadine; Choudrie, Jyoti; and Hero, Sondra, "TO A NEW NORMAL AND BEYOND WITH DIGITAL COLLABORATION PRACTICES: A QUALITATIVE STUDY." (2023). UK Academy for Information Systems Conference Proceedings 2023. 3.