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Page history last edited by n.schadewitz@... 15 years, 2 months ago


5: "SUMMING UP” **




Frequent summaries of discussions online or among local team members or with local tutors allow the global virtual team to gain a common understanding of the design project process, tasks, ideas and open problems to solve in following conversations.


Cultural Context

Supports Collective Community and Hierarchical Authority Orientation cultures. Balances High and Low Contextual Communication Orientation, Monochronic and Polychronic Time Orientation, Universal and Particular Standard Orientation, Achievement and Ascription Orientation, and differing Technology Orientation cultures.


This pattern was observed in Hong Kong/Korean and Hong Kong/Taiwanese collaboration.



The design learning community frequently used STRUCTURED CHAT sessions to share local design progress resolve differences in design ideas and directions the evolved from this local work.



In local or online discussions, international students whose mother tongue is not English have difficulties communicating precisely. Hence they tend to repeat their arguments and often talk in circles. Therefore, the discussion tends to be long but not all points can be resolved. Students often have difficulties understanding the main point in an argument, which might also be related to a misunderstanding of what was done locally. This can lead to frustrating, long and unresolved discussions, where breakdowns in communication occur because a common understanding cannot be reached.


How does one communicate the contents of local or online chat discussions between a few participants to all distributed team members?



While, Polychronic Time Orientation cultures frequently engage in simultaneous local design and online communication activities, Monochronic Time Orientation cultures engage in one activity at a time. Therefore, in a discussion, Polychronic Time Orientation cultures often suddenly shift their focus on a new discussion topic based on their immediate concern although an ongoing discussion might not have come to an conclusion. However, Monochronic Time Orientation cultures cannot deal with those jumps an confuse in the conversation. This is also related to a High Contextual Communication Orientation style that results from an local and distributed design learning process which needs to be communicated globally over a distance. Some cultures approach this process in a linear and universal process, starting from the concept to implementations. Other cultures address simultaneously particular design problems. When those cultures collaborate, misunderstanding in the synchronous conversation can occur because expectations what should be discussed in a conversation differ. Sometimes, cultures that might be confused in a synchronous conversation might save the communication history to clarify discussed issues that were not understood during conversation. However, some cultures do not save the discussion history or find it difficult to read, since cultures differ in the perception if the under control of technology or if the control technology.



Social Solution

Support the creation of conversation summaries from local meetings and tutorials as well as global team online STRUCTURED CHAT sessions. A summary usually consists of the major point of discussion that all members compromised on, and concrete tasks for individuals or local teams that need to be started or completed by the next discussion. Summaries of synchronous conversation can be used as references and structures for ongoing synchronous conversations. They can also be used to propose local and individual tasks at the conclusion of a conversation.


Technological Solution 

Summaries from these synchronous conversations are distributed asynchronously among all participants in emails, shared documents or in the INTERNATIONAL HOME.



Summaries of conversations explicitly review the shared understanding of distributed remote teams using Low Contextual Communication. These summaries are available when teams engage in High Contextual Communication. Due to this characteristic of conversation summaries, which include specific tasks and general concepts that contribute to a shared understanding among members, Universal and Particular Standard Orientation cultures are satisfied. Moreover, a frequent review of ongoing conversation bridges Achievement and Ascription Orientation cultures in a way that concrete achievements are meet and acknowledgments of being an influential part of the design project are recorded in a summary. For cultures who fear of being under control of Technology, a manually composed summary gives back a feeling of control and balance of technology and users.


Resulting Context

A conversation summary can be stored and shared through the INTERNATIONAL HOME, so that all participants are aware of this information.



Related Work

The author is unaware of related work concerning design patterns or cross-cultural collaboration in this topic.


<-- Design Patterns Network



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