Multiple group coordination in complex and dynamic task environments

Interruptions, coping mechanisms, and technology recommendations

Yuqing Ren, Sara Kiesler, Susan R. Fussell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

79 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Collaboration in complex and dynamic environments such as hospitals, airlines, and disaster response teams is challenging. High performance requires smooth coordination across multiple groups whose incentives, cultures, and routines can conflict. In this paper, we present an in-depth case study of a hospital's operating room practices to understand challenges associated with multiple group coordination and how information technology may help. We use the concept of trajectory to focus our observations and interviews on workflow across groups and critical events when coordination breaks down. A careful examination of the sources, coping mechanisms, and consequences of coordination breakdowns suggests three factors whose absence may impede effective responses to unexpected interruptions: (1) trajectory awareness of what is going on beyond a person's immediate workspace, (2) information systems integration, and (3) information pooling and learning at the organizational level. We conclude with technological recommendations to promote trajectory awareness and to automate information gathering and monitoring, so as to facilitate multiple group coordination in complex and dynamic task environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-130
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Management Information Systems
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008

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Trajectories
Operating rooms
Disasters
Information technology
Information systems
Monitoring
Interruption
Task environment
Trajectory
Breakdown

Keywords

  • Collaboration
  • Coordination breakdown
  • Group boundary
  • Multiple group coordination
  • Trajectory awareness

Cite this

Multiple group coordination in complex and dynamic task environments : Interruptions, coping mechanisms, and technology recommendations. / Ren, Yuqing; Kiesler, Sara; Fussell, Susan R.

In: Journal of Management Information Systems, Vol. 25, No. 1, 01.06.2008, p. 105-130.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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