Innovating onsite or coordinating online? An exploration of how knowledge practices shape the onsite and online collaboration interplay across the lifecycle of collaborative communities

Paula Ungureanu, Carlotta Cochis, Stefano Rodighiero, Fabiola Bertolotti, Elisa Mattarelli, Fabrizio Montanari, Matteo Rinaldini, Anna Chiara Scapolan


This paper inquires about how collaborative communities configure online and onsite collaboration practices throughout their lifecycle, paying specific attention to how knowledge practices and online-onsite collaboration practices interplay. While previous literature shows that the same online and onsite collaboration practices can be both good and bad for an organization’s ability to generate new knowledge, we show that this insight can be better understood at the light of an organization’s lifecycle. By studying the evolution of a collaborative community of designers, we show that different stages of development afford different types of community structuring, identity processes and knowledge practices, which in turn shape different needs in terms of online-onsite interplay. We contribute to the literature on collaborative spaces by underscoring the importance of considering hybrid workspaces where the interplay of onsite and online collaboration assumes complex and dynamic configurations.


Online collaboration, onsite collaboration, collaborative community, collaborative space, knowledge practices, co-creation, new idea generation, coordination, lifecycle.

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