A Coordination-Theoretic Approach to Understanding Process Differences

MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 4637-07

CCI Working Paper No. 2007-005

7 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2007  

Mark Klein

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Steven Poltrock

The Boeing Company

Mark J. Handel

The Boeing Company

Date Written: January 2007

Abstract

Supporting human collaboration is challenging partly because of variability in how people work. Even within a single organization, there can be many variants of processes which have the same purpose. When distinct organizations must work together, the differences can be especially large, baffling and disruptive. Coordination theory provides a method and vocabulary for modeling complex collaborative activities in a way that makes both the similarities and differences between them more visible. We illustrate this, in this paper, by analyzing three engineering change management processes and demonstrating how our method compactly highlights the substantial commonalities and precise differences between what are on first glance are extremely divergent approaches.

Keywords: process differences, coordination theory

Suggested Citation

Klein, Mark and Poltrock, Steven and Handel, Mark J., A Coordination-Theoretic Approach to Understanding Process Differences (January 2007). MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 4637-07; CCI Working Paper No. 2007-005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=962457 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.962457

Mark Klein (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

NE20-336
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-6796 (Phone)

Steven Poltrock

The Boeing Company ( email )

United States

Mark J. Handel

The Boeing Company ( email )

United States
425-373-2883 (Phone)

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