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JOC Tables of Contents: 0102030405

Journal of Organizational Computing 1

Editors:Andrew B. Whinston
Dates:1991
Volume:1
Publisher:Ablex Publishing
Standard No:ISSN 1054-1721
Papers:20
Links:Table of Contents
  1. JOC 1991 Volume 1 Issue 1
  2. JOC 1991 Volume 1 Issue 2
  3. JOC 1991 Volume 1 Issue 3
  4. JOC 1991 Volume 1 Issue 4

JOC 1991 Volume 1 Issue 1

Introduction to the Special Issues BIB iii
  Baldev Singh; Andrew B. Whinston
Organizational Computing: Definitions and Issues BIB 1-10
  Lynda Applegate; Clarence Ellis; Clyde W. Holsapple; Franz J. Radermacher; Andrew B. Whinston
Technology Support for Cooperative Work: A Framework for Studying Introduction and Assimilation in Organizations BIBAK 11-39
  Lynda M. Applegate
This article draws on published research on the nature of the innovation process and exploratory field research in 10 companies to develop a framework for research on organizations' introduction and assimilation of computer-supported cooperative work technologies. The research reported in this article, part of a much larger study of the general process of innovation in organizations, focuses specifically on the transfer and assimilation of new technology innovations.
   Technologies to support group process, communication, and coordination in face-to-face group meetings [electronic meeting support systems (EMSS)] were chosen to illustrate the use of the research framework. The article focuses on the transfer of these technologies from R&D units to target organizational units and the alignment of group, technology, and task during assimilation by end-user groups. Research propositions are developed and discussed. Future articles will present the findings from current research that utilizes the frameworks presented in this article to study the introduction, transfer, and assimilation of EMSS in organizations.
Keywords: Computer-supported cooperative work, Group decision support, Technology transfer, Diffusion of innovation, Innovation, Groups, Group process, Work teams
Coordination in Shared Facilities: A New Methodology BIBAK 41-59
  John O. Ledyard
Shared facilities are a good example of the difficulties inherent in coordination problems and the benefits to be derived from creative solutions. Traditional methods employed by engineers and others, because they ignore an important aspect of the problem, can yield solutions that appear successful but which significantly underutilize these facilities. This article is intended to be an introduction to the types of problems that can arise and to a new method for systematically studying these problems. The method is illustrated with the results of a study done for NASA, on the coordination of the use of a Space Station, which produced a new computer-assisted institution that outperforms existing institutions.
Keywords: Coordination, Shared facility, Experimental economics, Group decision support system, Knapsack problem, Mechanism design
User-Centered Design of Collaboration Technology BIBAK 61-83
  Gary M. Olson; Judith S. Olson
Groupware, like other forms of information technology, should be designed with the users' needs and capabilities as the focus. User-centered system design consists of observation and analysis of users at work, assistance in design from relevant aspects of theory, and iterative testing with users. We illustrate the various stages of this approach with our development of groupware for software designers. We have extensive studies of designers at work, have developed the beginnings of a theory of distributed cognition, and are at the first stages of iterative testing and redesign of a prototype of a shared editor to support their work.
Keywords: Design, Collaboration, Software engineering, Cognition
Computer-Mediated Communication Requirements for Group Support BIBAK 85-113
  Murray Turoff
This article presents an overview of the historical evolution of computer-mediated communication (CMC) systems within the context of designing for group support. A number of examples of design features to support specific group tasks are illustrated. The result of this is the synthesis of a number of observations on the assumptions and goals for the design of CMC systems. An emphasis is placed on the advantages offered groups by asynchronous support of the communication process, self-tailoring of communication structures by users and groups, and the integration into the communication system of other computer resources and information systems. The systems that have been developed recently at New Jersey Institute of Technology (EIES2, TEIES, and Personal TEIES) are used to illustrate the translation of design objectives into specific features and functions.
Keywords: Computer-mediated communications, Groupware, GDSS, CSCW, Computerized conferencing, Message systems, Electronic meeting systems, Hypertext
Cooperative Communication: Computerware and Humanware BIBAK 115-123
  T. Vamos
This article emphasizes the combined requirements of computer systems and humanistics. In cooperative computing, negotiations can be used as a basic paradigm by which different roles and their requisites can be identified -- the facilitator, the mediator, and the negotiator. The negotiation-cooperation process has a logical sequence of agreements, definition of terms, objectives, mode of operation, common security measures concerning integrity and liability, handling protocols, etc. The cooperation is based on models of the subject and the partners -- i.e., a minimum of three models should be matched. The usual methods of human negotiations supported by metacommunication should have a computer-realizable substitute. All these subjects are outgrowths of recent research in artificial intelligence (knowledge-based systems) and cognitive psychology; some experiences are reported in the field. However, the main task is human-oriented -- education of people for this new powerful means of coexistence.
Keywords: Networks, Cooperative communication, Negotiation, Human aspects, Artificial intelligence

JOC 1991 Volume 1 Issue 2

Two-Level Perspective on Electronic Mail in Organizations BIBAK 125-134
  Lee Sproull; Sara Kiesler
Organizational computing tools are often developed and managed with an eye toward increasing efficiency. Yet today's most widespread organizational computing tool, electronic mail, has an impact that goes well beyond efficiency effects. This article summarizes a two-level perspective on organizational computing and reviews research results demonstrating strong organizational effects of electronic mail. From these results, we draw some lessons for the next generation of organizational computing.
Keywords: Electronic communication, Electronic mail, Social implications of computing
Distributed Group Support Systems: Social Dynamics and Design Dilemmas BIBAK 135-159
  Starr Roxanne Hiltz; Donna Dufner; Michael Holmes; Scott Poole
A "distributed group support system" includes decision support tools and structures embedded within a computer-mediated communication system rather than installed in a "decision room." It should support groups who are distributed in space but not time ("synchronous" groups), as well as "asynchronous" groups whose members participate at different times. Pilot studies conducted in preparation for a series of controlled experiments are reviewed in order to identify some of the problems of implementing such a system. Many of the means used by groups meeting in the same place at the same time to coordinate their activities are missing. Embedding decision support tools within a different communications medium and environment changes the way they "work." Speculations are presented about software tools and structuring or facilitation procedures that might replace the "missing" coordination channels.
Keywords: Group decision support systems, Computer-mediated communication systems
Issues and Obstacles in the Development of Team Support Systems BIBAK 161-186
  Elizabeth Busch; Matti Hamalainen; Yongmoo Suh; Andrew Whinston; Clyde W. Holsapple
This article presents issues and obstacles important when developing team support systems: information systems designed to support organizational teams. Drawing on the accomplishments of economics, organization theory, artificial intelligence, and computer-supported cooperative work, key issues of interest are discussed. The desirable qualitative properties of a team support system are set forth as well as its generic functional requirements. Several ideas for experimental directions are also described.
Keywords: Team support systems, Computer-based information systems, Groupware, Computer-supported cooperative work
A Layered Model of Organizations: Communication Process and Performance BIBAK 187-203
  James H. Bair
Modeling organizations is most useful for predicting the outcome of decisions and courses of action. However, the tendency has been to view an organization too narrowly, thus overlooking critical variables. For example, financial models are based on abstract indicators and do not adequately describe human factors. This article offers a five-layer, multidisciplinary model, where each layer defines units of analysis and subsystem boundaries. The layers (behavior-motion, activity, process-procedure, function, mission) define arenas of practical action, ranging from individuals' moment-by-moment behaviors, such as making telephone calls, to broad policy decisions and functional structure of organizations.
Keywords: Organization models, White-collar productivity, Knowledge-worker productivity, Human communication, Cost benefits of computers, Human networks
Communication Costs in the Performance of Unrelated Tasks: Continuum Models and Finite Models BIBAK 205-218
  Thomas Marschak; Umesh Vazirani
We consider two two-person organizations, called A and B. Each organization faces a changing environment; an environment has two components and each of them is privately observed by one of the organization's two members. Each organization's task is to respond to the current environment by taking a correct action; the correct action is a known function of the environment. However, the task of A is totally unrelated to the task of B: if A knew B's current environment and B's current correct action, that would tell A nothing at all about its own current correct action (and vice versa). Now suppose that each organization perform its task by a sequence of message announcements that stop when an "action-taker" has just enough information about the two members' private observations so that he can take the correct action. Suppose we measure the effort this requires by the size of the set of possible message announcements. Then a compelling conjecture says that there can be no saving in total effort if we merge the two organizations into a single four-person organization in which a single action-taker takes both actions.
   The conjecture turns out to be true when the possible messages form a continuum whose size is measured by its dimension, provided the message-announcing procedure obeys suitable regularity conditions. When we turn to a model in which the number of possible messages is finite, the situation is different. While a certain general proposition about coverings and projections is the main tool in proving the "continuum" conjecture, the finite analog of that proposition is (surprisingly) false. The finite version of the conjecture holds, on the other hand, when one adds a certain regularity requirement ("contiguity") to the message-announcement procedure. The truth of the finite conjecture without such a requirement remains open.
Keywords: Coordination, Communication costs, Communication complexity, Mathematical theories of organization design, Economics of organization
Groupware: Future Directions and Wild Cards BIBAK 219-227
  Robert Johansen
Groupware is a perspective on telecommunications and computing that emphasizes the business team as "user," rather than the individual. This perspective and its associated products and services are riding a major wave of change: the trend toward business teams (small, cross-organizational, ad hoc, task-focused, time-driven, cohesive work groups) as a primary mode of operation for the organization of the future. In this paper, I will explore future directions for the groupware perspective in the marketplace and the business teams wave. Current product classes will be presented, along with the experiences of early users of groupware. In addition to overall trends and future directions, possible wild cards will be introduced and discussed.
Keywords: Groupware, Computer supported collaborative work, CSCW, Work group computing, Teams

JOC 1991 Volume 1 Issue 3

The Virtual Notebook System: An Architecture for Collaborative Work BIBAK 233-250
  G. Anthony Gorry; Kevin B. Long; Andrew M. Burger; Cynthia P. Jung; Barry D. Meyer
We have developed the Virtual Notebook System (VNS) to facilitate information acquisition, sharing and management in groups. The VNS allows teams to create shared electronic notebooks upon whose pages they can place text and images and, in certain cases audio and video entities. Members of a team can interconnect the pages of a notebook with navigational links, making the notebook shared hypertext. Additionally special links, called action links, can be used to tie pages of a notebook to external programs. Here we discuss the architecture of the VNS and give a number of examples of its use. We also identify those aspects of the VNS development that seems to have been most important in its success.
Keywords: Cooperative work, Hypertext, Multimedia, Information technology architecture
Oral History and Information Technology: Human Voices of Assessment BIBAK 251-274
  Lesley Williams Brunet; Charles T. Morrissey; G. Anthony Gorry
Dramatic advances in technology for acquiring, managing, and sharing information promise to reshape the workplace by eliciting new behaviours and introducing new organizational patterns. For academic and medical centers, the integration of information technology into programs of education, research, and patient care is essential for increased organizational effectiveness.
   At Baylor College of Medicine, we have developed information-sharing and management tools, collectively called the Virtual Management System (VNS). The VNS is a multiuser, workstation-based hypermedia system that serves as a technologically extended analog of the laboratory notebook used in biomedical research. We are deploying the VNS in scientific groups at Baylor, and are applying oral history techniques to assess its impact.
   This article shows how oral history captures the "human voices" of Baylor's experience and helps us understand the effects of information technology on the processes of biomedical research.
Keywords: Oral history, Cooperative work, Hypertext, Multimedia, Scientific teams
WHAT: An Argumentative Groupware Approach for Organizing and Documenting Research Activities BIBAK 275-302
  Safaa H. Hashim
The topic of this paper is a process-vs.-product design method representation called Argumentative Writing (AW). Argumentative writing is a multi-representation approach for conducting and reporting research projects. AW has at least two representations: one for structuring the problem-understanding/solving process and one for communicating its products to others. We discuss WHAT, a hypertext-based tool for AW. In WHAT (Writing with a Hypermedia-based Argumentative Tool), the design process is captured using Rittel's Issue Based Information Systems (IBIS) method (Conklin, 1988; Hashim, 1990a; Rittel, 1980). The product of the design process is represented in WHAT using a general document-representation scheme. In the Introduction we raise four major issues that we explore in the rest of the paper. Also in the Introduction, we show the impact the WHAT approach can have on organizational computing applications such as business education and training (Hashim, Rathnam, & Whinston, 1991) and the design of dialectical organizational information systems. The section "A Methodological Basis for AW Tools" deals with the rationale behind choosing the IBIS method in capturing the design process. The section after that explains WHAT, and the section following it explores its use as a groupware tool. The applicability of WHAT and its pros and cons are discussed in two separate sections. In the Conclusion we outline the potentiality of the approach and present suggestions for further development. Since our first reporting on WHAT (Hashim, 1990b), the AW approach was found applicable to educational, scientific, and business areas. One such application is for structuring case discussions in business schools (Hashim et al., 1991).
Keywords: Argumentative writing (AW), Design method, Design process, Graphical-IBIS (gIBIS), Graphical entity-relation modeler (Germ), Groupware, Hypertext, Issue based information systems (IBIS), Problem-solving techniques
Executive GDSS: Behavioral Considerations at Individual, Organizational, and Environmental Levels of Analysis BIBAK 303-322
  David V. Gibson
This article emphasizes the importance of behavioral considerations at individual, organizational, and environmental levels of analysis when researching and evaluating the design, implementation, and use of group decision support systems (GDSS) within complex organizations. Discussion is based on interview and archival data collected on an executive level GDSS used within a corporate setting. Issues that are considered generalizable to organizational computing, coordination, and collaboration technologies concern (a) viewing organization participants as strategic, intuitive information processors, (b) understanding the importance of organizational power, politics, and situational constraints on decision making, and (c) appreciating the symbolic value of advanced information technologies to an organization's external environment.
Keywords: Group decision support, Computer-supported cooperative work, Group processes, Organizational behavior, Groupware, Organizational decision-making, Computing, Coordination and collaboration

JOC 1991 Volume 1 Issue 4

Doing by Learning: Embedded Application Systems BIBAK 323-339
  Inger V. Eriksson; Markku I. Nurminen
We argue that the computerized information system should not look like a system on its own. Rather, it should be conceived as an inherent part of the work of its users. We therefore introduce the concept of an embedded system, which describes work tasks and organization. Computer-supported information tasks are embedded in this environment: They are not parts of a system separated from other activities. This concept is based on the experiences gained during the development of a user-interface prototype, derived from a theoretical frame of reference, called act orientation, to information systems, in which all computerized tasks are interpreted as acts performed by the actual user. Our suggestion continues the tradition of on-line help and support, reaching radically deeper than usual in related approaches. We expect that our suggestion will, when applied, improve the control, productivity, quality of the outcome of work, and quality of working life, assessed from the user's point of view.
Keywords: Help system, Support system, Information system and work system, Act orientation, Embedded application systems
Computer Support for Work Across Space, Time, and Social Worlds BIBAK 341-355
  Karen Ruhleder; John Leslie King
Collaboration is at the heart of academic enterprise; proposals for systems such as the National Science Foundation's "National Collaboratory" or Apple Computer's "Knowledge Navigator" seek to support these collaborative efforts by means of a variety of computing technologies. We examine the assumptions of the model of collaborative work behind such proposals and suggest ways to extend that model. We draw on a case study of collaborative efforts in classical scholarship in order to explore more fully the existing modalities of academic collaboration as it actually occurs. The development of a broader understanding of collaborative activities will enable us to address more effectively the challenge of constructings systems to support collaborative work.
Keywords: Computer-supported collaborative work
Computer Networking among Executives: A Case Study BIBAK 357-376
  Starr Roxanne Hiltz; Murray Turoff
Group Support Systems may be "distributed" for nonsimultaneous use by being embedded in a Computer-Mediated Communication System (CMCS). In this manner, large groups may use them for complex tasks over an extended period of time. Will executives such systems, and what are their reactions? This case study of elites engaged in formulating recommendations for the White House Conference on Productivity demonstrates that executives can use such systems, given that "critical success factors" are met. Perceived information richness is strongly correlated with perceptions of productivity enhancement as a result of system use.
Keywords: Computer-mediated communication, Computer-supported cooperative work, Information richness, Productivity, Groups, Critical success factors