Anders, A. (2016). Team communication platforms and emergent social collaboration practices. International Journal of Business Communication, 53(2).

Abstract: Team communication platforms (TCPs), including the Slack software service, are an emergent class of social collaboration technology that combine features of multiple enterprise social media including social networking platforms and instant messaging. The media capabilities of these platforms, including integrations for diverse information and communication technologies, enable affordances for both highly adaptable and centralized team communication practices. In order to understand emergent practices in TCPs, this study offers a quantitative and qualitative content analysis of the reflective practice of early adopter organizations and individuals based on a sample of self-published blog posts. Results indicate that TCPs enable affordances for communication visibility that support situated knowledge sharing and collaborative workflows. TCPs also enable affordances for multicommunication and attention allocation including flexible scaling of media modality and synchronicity. This latter affordance is conceptualized as polysynchronicity, a term that describes the dynamic synchronicity characteristic of communication practices in TCPs.

A few quotes from the article:

“The promise of TCPs [team communication platforms] is that these technologies will help organizations centralize both team communication and information from external services and ICTs. Based on a strategy of flexibility and open integration, TCPs are designed to make the full scope of internal communication visible, searchable, and available for social collaboration across organizational boundaries.”

“Although the extreme flexibility of TCP platforms does require the development of organization and team-specific routines and workflows, the key difference is that these routines can be integrated, automated, and become native features of an organization’s collaboration and communication environment. TCPs have the potential to allow collaboration practices that were once difficult and exemplary to become normal and routine.”