Emerging E-Communication Technologies and Their Usage in Project-Based Organizations

Electronic communication is a system used as means of sending or retrieving messages through computer or Internet connections. Today this includes a multitude of communication tools, ranging from simple forms such as e-mails to more complex forms, e. g. electronic document management (edm) systems, enterprise resource planning
(erp) systems and project planning systems. The introduction of different e-communication tools may alter the firm operations, providing firms with innovate venues for impacting their management processes.

Davies and Hobday (2005) use the term ‘project business’ to refer to ‘organizations – which may be entire firms or units within firms – that deploy projects to achieve major business objectives, including all firms which design and produce complex products and systems (Cops)’. For the purpose of this study, project business is defined broadly to encompass all business functions in which many stakeholders are involved in the process.

Past research on improving communication has mainly focused on internal organizational communication, and most of this attention has been on the availability of communication for intraorganizational communication of traditional business organizations (Amaratunga, Sarshar and Baldry 2002; Greasley 2003). However, the distinctive characteristics (uniqueness, uncertainty and complexity) of project business with its distinctive communication needs, mean that any attempt to improve communication on the basis of traditional organizations is unlikely to fulfil the special requirements of project business. In particular, a focus on the company’s internal communication fails to recognize the importance of communication with external networks, partners, and other stakeholders, in the conduct
of project business. Indeed, researchers in the area of project management have largely neglected such inter-organizational communication that can be supported by adoption of available technologies or developing new technologies.

Very little attention has been paid to the integration of interorganizational and intra-organizational perspectives of electronic communication in project-based organizations, especially in the context of e-communication availability and its actual usages in engineering, procurement, and construction (epc) projects. This represents a significant gap in the literature: project-based organizations (pbos) must be able to conduct efficient business operations by utilizing
new technology.

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