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|Exploring A Transactional Distance-Based Management Model To Improve Perception Of Efficacy Within Designated Corporate Collaboration Communities
|Workman, Timothy Peter
|Fahy, Pat (Centre for Distance Education, Athabasca University)
|Cleveland-Innes, Marti (Centre for Distance Education, Athabasca University)
Ives, Cindy (VP Academic, Athabasca University)
O'Neill, Thomas (Faculty of Psychology, University of Calgary)
|Doctor of Education (EdD) in Distance Education
|Centre for Distance Education
|Oil and Gas (O&G) companies are adopting blended learning models to move away from traditional face-to-face training programs that are viewed as costly and less efficient. A small number of larger O&G companies have demonstrated that establishing effective collaboration communities can lead to millions of dollars in annual savings. Cenovus Energy initiated a structured knowledge management program in 2014 with the intent of creating a network of collaboration communities to support non-formal learning across the company. Previous efforts to establish collaboration communities were unsuccessful due to poorly defined or absent business processes and practices for this type of activity. In order to resolve these challenges, a standardized management model was required by Cenovus to support efficacy in the creation and sustainment of its collaboration communities.
The purpose of the Cenovus initiative, upon which the study was based, was to create a replicable and scalable business process for developing effective corporate collaboration communities. A comparison of literature between Communities of Practice and Transactional Distance theory provided the following premise: the perception of value and effectiveness of Communities of Practice can be affected by the manipulation of the three transactional distance elements to influence how communities are structured, how the dialogue between participants is fostered and contributes to collaborative efforts, and the degree to which the participants’ autonomy allows them to shape the community. It was proposed that the management of transactional distance through a controlled manipulation of structure, dialogue, and autonomy may support the deliberate reduction or creation of a difference in understanding to align to business objectives within corporate collaboration communities.
This study was conducted using a design-based research methodology to support the iterative development of collaboration communities within Cenovus, evaluate the influence of different activities on the levels of transactional distance within these communities, and synthesize a transactional distance-based management model for community design and activities. Although the corporate initiative was suspended indefinitely in 2016 due to the economic downturn resulting from global oil price collapse, Cenovus has approved and adopted the preliminary findings and framework produced by this study as the corporate practice for collaboration communities.g
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