Conference Paper

Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Nonprofit Collaboration: An Exploratory Study

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Abstract

Although research has examined nonprofit organizations' use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), particularly social media and websites, we know little about how nonprofit organizations use ICTs in the context of interorganizational collaboration. This article reports the results of an exploratory study on how nonprofit organizations use ICTs for collaboration, drawing from a random sample of human services nonprofit organizations in the United States. The results show that email, teleconference, and shared repositories were the preferred ICTs more than case management software and databases. ICTs were used for coordination, information sharing, relational communication, and client management. In addition, ICT use and utilities vary in different types of collaboration. Further, operational capacity, percentage of government funding, overall ICT capacity, and organizational size influenced the patterns of ICT use in nonprofit collaboration. We draw from our findings to suggest implications for the study of nonprofit collaboration and ICT use.

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This study investigates the impact of information technology (IT) on productivity and collaboration patterns in academe. Our data combine information on the diffusion of two noteworthy innovations in IT--BITNET and the Domain Name System (DNS)--with career-history data on research-active life scientists. We analyzed a random sample of 3,114 research-active life scientists from 314 U.S. institutions over a 25-year period and find that the availability of BITNET on a scientist's campus has a positive effect on his or her productivity and collaborative network. Our findings also support the hypothesis of a differential effect of IT across subgroups of the scientific labor force. Women scientists and those working at nonelite institutions benefit more from the availability of IT in terms of overall research output and an increase in the number of new coauthors they work with than do men or individuals at elite institutions. These results suggest that IT is an equalizing force, providing a greater boost to productivity and more collaboration opportunities for scientists who are more marginally positioned in academe.