Wiki based groupware in organisations: An information management perspective

Elke Beate Hartvig

Student thesis: Master thesis


Wiki based groupware (WBGW) make it easy to collaboratively edit, share and access vital information. They provide highly adaptable functionality and flexible structure which support group editing, peer reviewing and creating and organising content by multiple users. In cross disciplinary and inter organisational work settings, wikis can be an efficient tool to support collaboration. At the same time, wikis have the potential to improve information management (IM) by reducing the cost of not finding information, ensuring information accuracy and facilitating efficient information processes. ! Based on a four-month participant observation, that investigated wiki use in a case study, this thesis suggests that there are challenges to consider that arise in inter-organisational settings. (1) Hierarchical organisation structure that controls and imposes wiki use practices; (2) synchronous or separate use of non-wikis for information sharing; and (3) having multiple wikis for one project or multiple pages about the same topics on one wiki. These issues can create invisible bottlenecks, such as conflicting approaches towards the ‘democratic wiki spirit’; decreased findability; increased redundancy and high maintenance costs. ! In wiki literature focus has so far been on practical application of wikis. It has not yet been investigated how theoretical concepts from IM can contribute to our understanding of WBGW. The application of an IM perspective as an analytical framework highlights that concepts such as classification systems; the wiki as an object; and information quality can contribute to wiki theory. The findings of this thesis show that benefits associated with WBGW such as peer review and meta information application do not directly lead to decreased redundancy and increased information accuracy. Moreover, IM concepts corresponding to 1) the information process and the common information space (CIS) can contribute to employment of WBGW in cross disciplinary work settings and add to wiki theory by conceptualising the wiki as CIS to establish a shared ‘wiki spirit’ and increase information quality; 2) providing contextualised content to ensure shared understanding and efficient categorising 3) achieving and maintaining concept coherence in order to increase findability and prevent time loss.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Information Systems, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages71