Knowledge management in design teams using a project website

A.F.H.J. Otter, den

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    Abstract

    In this paper the sharing of knowledge in architectural design teams using a Project Website is discussed. The results of multiple case studies, being part of a recently finished PhD research project to communication and performance of design teams using a Project Website, show that systems for sharing of knowledge in such teams are hard to change and better systems are difficult to implement for various reasons. Sharing of knowledge in such teams is important for collective understanding of a design during its development, to derive insight and overview on progress of design and to prevent misunderstanding and failures. Knowledge about a design is usually, implicitly stored in the participating designers heads, and explicitly as paper and (nowadays) electronic information on drawings, images, and documents. To improve knowledge sharing collectively during the design process, team communication and collaboration is essential. The best well known means for collective communication are faceto-face meetings and dialogues because of their possibilities for interaction and reaching consensus. The use of a Project Website as a new means for collective communication and information sharing is advocated by its Vendors for greatly increasing collective communication and stimulating the sharing of design knowledge. The expectations of vendors are directly related to the characteristics of the means being an information vault that contains all the latest designs produced with the registration of owners and updaters and preventing failures by double and outdated information. The information exchange flows and the frequency of the use of means and tools in these teams were observed before, during and after the introduction of the Project Website. The outcomes of the multiple case studies show that full adoption of the Project Web did not happen and team members still used old, trusted systems despite various management interventions to stimulate use of the Project Web. Architects and structural designers showed to be slowest in adoption or did not adopt the new means, easily developing incongruent technological frames for use. Basically it was concluded that the most stimulating management intervention during the adoption of the Project Website, were collective workshops, organized per team in which knowledge sharing could be optimized to show the benefits of the new means to the participants in daily work. The workshops resulted in substantial increase of adoption of the Project Website but not full adoption. Finally the development of incongruent technological frames in groups and levels in the organization and rivalry of tools will be discussed because of their importance for adoption of a new means for sharing knowledge by such groups with a high number of creative, visionary, abstract thinking, practi tioners."
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the CIB W102 3rd International Conference on Information and Knowledge Mangement - Helping the Practitioner in Planning and Building, 17-18 October 2007, Stuttgart, Germany
    EditorsC.P Lima
    Place of PublicationStuttgart
    PublisherFraunhofer IRB Verlag
    Pages102-108
    ISBN (Print)978-3-8167-7556-0
    Publication statusPublished - 2007
    Eventconference; CIB W102 3rd International Conference on Information and Knowledge Mangement, Stuttgart, Germany; 2007-10-16; 2007-10-18 -
    Duration: 16 Oct 200718 Oct 2007

    Conference

    Conferenceconference; CIB W102 3rd International Conference on Information and Knowledge Mangement, Stuttgart, Germany; 2007-10-16; 2007-10-18
    Period16/10/0718/10/07
    OtherCIB W102 3rd International Conference on Information and Knowledge Mangement, Stuttgart, Germany

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  • Cite this

    Otter, den, A. F. H. J. (2007). Knowledge management in design teams using a project website. In C. P. Lima (Ed.), Proceedings of the CIB W102 3rd International Conference on Information and Knowledge Mangement - Helping the Practitioner in Planning and Building, 17-18 October 2007, Stuttgart, Germany (pp. 102-108). Stuttgart: Fraunhofer IRB Verlag.