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JOC Tables of Contents: 0102030405

Journal of Organizational Computing 4

Editors:Andrew B. Whinston
Dates:1994
Volume:4
Publisher:Ablex Publishing
Standard No:ISSN 1054-1721
Papers:18
Links:Table of Contents
  1. JOC 1994 Volume 4 Issue 1
  2. JOC 1994 Volume 4 Issue 2
  3. JOC 1994 Volume 4 Issue 3
  4. JOC 1994 Volume 4 Issue 4

JOC 1994 Volume 4 Issue 1

Policy Conflict Analysis in Distributed System Management BIBAK 1-22
  Jonathan D. Moffett; Morris S. Sloman
Distributed system management is concerned with the tasks needed to ensure that large distributed systems can function in accordance with the objectives of their users. These objectives are typically set out in the form of policies that are interpreted by the system managers. There are benefits to be gained by providing automated support for human managers, or actually automating routine management tasks. To do this, it is desirable to have a model of policies as objects that can be interpreted by the system itself. The model is summarized.
   It is clear that there is the potential for conflicts between policies. These conflicts may be resolved informally by human managers, but if an automated system is to recognize them and resolve them appropriately, first it is necessary to analyze the types of conflict that may occur. We analyze the types of overlap that may occur between policies, and show that this analysis corresponds to several familiar types of policy conflict. Some possible approaches to the prevention and resolution of conflicts are suggested, and this work is put into the context of other work on policies and related areas, including deontic logic.
Keywords: Management policy, Policy conflicts, Authority, Conflict resolution, Distributed system management
Information Technology for Group Decision Support: Beyond GDSS BIBAK 23-40
  Matthew R. Jones
Traditional definitions of group decision support systems provide a narrow perspective on the way in which information technology (IT) can support group decision making. An alternative perspective that includes a broader view of groups, a more descriptive and behavioral view of decisions, a wider view of support, and a more complex, social view of systems is possible. In this article the implications of such a perspective on the role of IT in support of group decision making are explored through a case study of the use of a simple multiattribute value model in role-reversal exercises. The experience of using this model in a social policy area in which there was substantial conflict between different interest groups illustrated a number of important issues. In particular, the way in which the model was used as a framework for communication between the conflicting groups and the inherent equivocality of this communication was highlighted. The contribution of IT-based support to the effectiveness of this communication, in the context of the role-reversal workshops, is discussed, and a new topology of IT support for group decision making is suggested. Finally, some conclusions are drawn on the implications for group decision support practice.
Keywords: Group decision support systems, Group communication support systems, Negotiation support systems, Organizational communication, Social aspects, Role-reversal
Computational Organization Theory: Autonomous Agents and Emergent Behavior BIBAK 41-83
  Michael J. Prietula; Kathleen M. Carley
A computational organization theory is the articulation of an organization theory in the form of a computer program. We describe an example of this approach to studying organizational phenomena through the use of simulated autonomous intelligent agents, present a detailed description of such a model, and demonstrate the application through a series of experiments conducted with the model. The model, called Plural-Soar, represents a partial instantiation of a cognitively motivated theory that views organizational behavior as emergent behavior from the collective interaction of intelligent agents over time, and that causal interpretations of certain organizational phenomena must be based on theoretically sufficient models of individual deliberation. We examine the individual and collective behavior of the agents under varying conditions of agent capabilities defined by their communication and memory properties. Thirty separate simulations with homogeneous agent groups were run varying agent type, group size, and number of items in the order list an agent acquires. The goal of the simulation experiment was to examine how fundamental properties of individual coordination (communication and memory) affected individual and group productivity and coordination efforts under different task properties (group size and order size). The specific results indicate that the length of the item list enhances performance for one to three agent groups, but with larger groups memory effects dominate. Communication capabilities led to an increase in idle time and undesirable collective behavior. The general conclusion is that there are subtle and complex interactions between agent capabilities and task properties that can restrict the generality of the results, and that computational modeling can provide insight into those interactions.
Keywords: Distributed artificial intelligence, Computational organizational theory
Perspectives on the Cross-Cultural Experimental Examination of Economic Models BIBAK 85-99
  Steven J. Kachelmeier; Mohamed Shehata
This article summarizes recent efforts in applying experimental methodologies to organizational issues in an international context. Such efforts can be roughly classified as adopting the experimental traditions of either psychology or economics. Distinctions between these two traditions are discussed, along with their implications for cross-cultural research. The use of laboratory methods in an international domain can address cultural themes as well as issues involving incentive structures, as illustrated by a synthesis of the authors' program of study conducted in the People's Republic of China.
Keywords: Culture, Incentives, Experimental economics, China

JOC 1994 Volume 4 Issue 2

Perceptions of Facilitators of a Keypad-Based Group Support System BIBAK 103-125
  Richard T. Watson; Mary B. Alexander; Carol E. Pollard; Robert P. Bostrom
Organizations are using Group Support Systems (GSSs) to improve the quality of group meetings. Keypad-based GSSs are a widely used form of this technology, yet there has been little research on their use and effects. This paper reports the findings of a survey of facilitators of a particular keypad GSS. Facilitators indicate that keypad technology improves the quality of meetings for a variety of tasks in a range of group settings and cultures. The findings are in general agreement with field studies of workstation-based systems.
Keywords: Group support systems, Keypad, Facilitator
A-Pool: An Agent-Oriented Open System Shell for Distributed Decision Process Modeling BIBAK 127-154
  Wen-Ran Zhang; Wenhua Wang; Ronald S. King
An agent-oriented open system shell, A-Pool, for distributed decision process modeling in the Internet domain is presented. Unlike most decision support systems, A-Pool provides a testbed for modeling and understanding the cognitive aspects of distributed decision processes themselves rather than for domain-specific problem solving. This is achieved with a pool of virtual agents and a pool of cognitive maps of the agents at each A-Pool node. The virtual agent scheme extends object-oriented programming to the Internet domain and supports different communication and collaboration protocols with virtual communities, virtual sessions, and virtual conferences. The cognitive map scheme supports perspective sharing and various conflict integration and resolution strategies through cognitive map composition, derivation, and focus generation. Thus each A-Pool node provides an architecture for modeling interdependencies and for ensuring global coherence; in addition, the communication is asynchronous and the control is distributed, allowing a large degree of autonomy and the examination of various thoughts and social protocols involved in strategic planning in an open system environment. Basic ideas are illustrated with a running example.
Keywords: Agent-oriented open system, Virtual communities, Virtual conference, Cognitive-map-based conflict resolution, Cooperation and coordination without coercion, Distributed decision process modeling
The Impact of Information Technology on Organizational Flexibility BIBAK 155-176
  Henry C., Jr. Lucas; Margrethe Olson
This paper argues that information technology can have a significant impact on organizational flexibility. Information technology (IT) contributes to flexibility by 1) changing the nature of organization boundaries and the time when work occurs 2) altering the nature and pace of work, and 3) helping firms respond to changing market conditions. But, there are also aspects of technology which can decrease flexibility, and there may be second-order impacts of flexibility that are not easily predicted. Examples to illustrate the impact of information technology on two industries and three companies are presented. The paper concludes that management should consider the use of information technology to increase flexibility and suggests strategies for implementing flexible systems.
Keywords: Organizational flexibility, Impact of information technology, Implementation, Second-order effects
Electronic Support for Large Groups BIBAK 177-197
  Alan R. Dennis
One of the key challenges in applying information technology to improve group performance lies in matching the capabilities of technology to the needs of the situation. Groups can choose meeting styles that use solely electronic communication, solely verbal communication, or a combination of both verbal and electronic communication. This paper reports on a series of ten case studies of large groups performing information generation tasks. For these groups and tasks, meeting styles with a greater proportion of electronic communication were found to result in higher perceived effectiveness, efficiency, and participant satisfaction. Qualitative evidence suggested that in this situation, the parallelism, direct access to the meeting memory, and anonymity offered by pure electronic communication outweighed its reduced media richness.
Keywords: GSS, Group support system, Anonymity, Blocking, Memory, Media richness
Constructing Conceptual Models for Knowledge Capture and Delivery Systems BIBAK 199-217
  Rajan Srikanth
Appropriate conceptualization of the nature of entities and relationships in a problem domain is a key prerequisite to the successful design of computerized decision aids for business, especially those developed for more than one idiosyncratic user. The need for a reliable conceptual model is particularly acute in the design of decision support systems that must function in problem-solving situations with no existing theoretical framework or where theory and practice differ considerably.
   This paper presents an iterative procedure for developing a reliable conceptual model by testing the "fit" of successive revisions of the model against a collection of "think-aloud" verbal problem-solving protocols of people with experience in the domain. The model is revised each time until it is verifiably and consistently accurate. Such a procedure, it is argued, is more objective and reliable than intuition or traditional knowledge engineering and requires considerably less experimental data collection and analysis than more elaborate empirical model development procedures.
   The feasibility of this procedure is illustrated by using it to construct a conceptual model for a computer-based system that seeks to capture knowledge used during project planning and deliver it for use during project control.
Keywords: Conceptual modeling, Empirical model development, Verbal problem-solving protocols, Design of decision-aiding systems, Design of knowledge capture and delivery systems, Project planning and control

JOC 1994 Volume 4 Issue 3

SPECIAL ISSUE: Organizational Computing Coordination and Collaboration

Introduction to the Special Issue: Organizational Computing Coordination and Collaboration BIB iii-iv
  Lynda Applegate; Andrew B. Whinston
An Editing-Based Characterization of the Design Space of Collaborative Applications BIBAK 219-239
  Prasun Dewan; Rajiv Choudhary; Honghai Shen
The design space of collaborative applications is characterized using the notion of generalized multiuser editing. Generalized multiuser editing allows users to view interactive applications as editors of data structures. It offers several collaboration functions, which allow users to collaboratively edit application data structures. These functions include coupling, concurrency control, access control, and multiuser undo. Coupling allows the users to share editing changes, access control and concurrency control prevent them from making unauthorized and inconsistent changes, respectively, and multiuser undo allows them collaboratively to undo or redo changes. These functions must be performed flexibly to accommodate different applications, users, phases of collaboration, and bandwidths of the communication links. In this paper, we define and motivate the notion of generalized multiuser editing and describe some of the issues, approaches, tradeoffs, principles, and requirements related to the design of the functions offered by it.
Keywords: Access control, Collaboration, Computer supported cooperative work, Coupling, Concurrency control, Editing, Adaptive, Sharing, Undo, User interface
Development of Organizational Design Support Systems BIBAK 241-270
  Kenneth D. Mackenzie; Terry Shoemaker; Donald F. Utter
This article provides a framework and a case study for the development of the organizational design support system (ODSS). The organizational design development interdependencies consist of four mutually interdependent parts: (1) development of applicable organizational theory, (2) development of applicable methods for organizational design, (3) application of organizational design to real organizations, and (4) concurrent engineering of an information system to support organizational design. All four parts are presented along with an explanation of how the interdependencies were accommodated. The properties of the ODSS software are described. The processes and results of the organizational design of a real organization are presented. This article calls into question the nature of organizational computing.
Keywords: Organizational design, Organizational computing, Organizational hologram
Using Computerized Exchange Systems to Solve an Allocation Problem in Project Management BIBAK 271-296
  John O. Ledyard; David Porter; Antonio Rangel
In this article we study the allocation problem facing the management of a large research and development project. The project management has to allocate resources among competing users to achieve the project goal. Besides the constraint of scarcity, the allocation problem is difficult because users have private parameters that project management requires to know in order to make an optimal allocation. Furthermore, users have incentives to misrepresent the information about these parameters to advance their individual agendas, which can differ from the project goal. A method to solve the allocation problem using computerized exchange institutions is introduced and analyzed. We emphasize that the rules of the exchange should be carefully selected, because different rules produce different results. We use the methodology of experimental economics to demonstrate this conclusion. This research was motivated by JPL's Cassini Mission to Saturn. A computerized exchange described in this article has been implemented by the Cassini Project to assist in the management of the resources used in the design and operation of science instruments.
Keywords: Computerized exchange, Experimental economics, Project management, Group decision support systems
On Integrating Collaboration and Decision Analysis Techniques BIBAK 297-316
  Hemant K. Bhargava; Ramayya Krishnan; Andrew B. Whinston
We discuss how methods for computer-based collaboration and computer-aided decision analysis may be combined to yield a new generation of decision support systems. We examine the role of these technologies using a three-phase model (problem definition; problem structuring; modeling/analysis) of decision making activities. We argue that decision making is a recursive mesh of these three phases; i.e., each phase involves argumentation/discussion, structuring, and analysis. Representations and methods suited to one kind of activity (e.g., discussion) are not directly suited to the others. Decision support systems, therefore, should facilitate the use of all of these methods in a way that information represented under each of them may be combined effectively, supporting the decision makers in switching from one activity to another.
Keywords: Division support, Collaborative work, Systems integration
Computer Supported Self-Managing Teams BIBAK 317-342
  James J. Navarro
For several decades investigations in the behavioral sciences have focused on those conditions that promote team effectiveness. These conditions have been applied to the development of self-managing teams. This article defines requirements for computer support using the conditions that enhance the performance of self-managing teams. We discuss the fundamentals of team design defining what a self-managing team is, propose a self-managing team development model, and introduce three approaches to the design of self-managing teams: sociotechnical systems, a normative model, and social-learning theory. We then introduce a team information architecture (TIA) for the support of self-managing teams and describe computer support requirements for the design, formation, management, and mentoring of self-managing teams. We conclude by reviewing the conditions required for team effectiveness and compare the TIA against those conditions.
Keywords: Computer-supported cooperative work, Groupware, Workgroup computing, Self-managing teams, Teams, Nonhierarchical management, Horizontal organizations, Team information architecture

JOC 1994 Volume 4 Issue 4

Video Teleconference Use Among Geographically Dispersed Work Groups: A Field Investigation of Usage Patterns and User Preferences BIBAK 343-365
  Jane N. Mosier; Susan G. Tammaro
Use of video teleconferencing (VTC) has been on the rise for several years, yet researchers have often discussed the failure of VTCs to support communication. The VTC facility at the MITRE Corporation is used more than would have been predicted by other research. Surveys were mailed to 300 MITRE employees who were known to have used our VTC facility or to have traveled (or both) during August of 1991. The survey asked respondents to describe at least one geographically dispersed work group of which they are a member, and it asked them to discuss how they choose among various approaches to communication, including holding face-to-face meetings and VTCs. Respondents felt that VTC is highly useful. It is best used for meetings that have little emotional content or requirements for interpersonal contact. The content of the meeting, however, was not the primary reason given for choosing between travel and VTCs. Cost and inconvenience of travel were cited as reasons for using VTC, and unavailability of VTC was cited as a reason to travel. Results are compared with those of conflicting studies.
Keywords: Video teleconferencing, Media space, Groupware, Collaborative computing, Small group communication
Towards CSCW: Meta-Level Environments for Enhanced Group and Organization Effectiveness BIBAK 367-392
  D. Karagiannis; F. J. Radermacher; B. Teufel; B. E. Wynne
The article deals with Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) and its valuable contributions to organizing cooperation and joint work among partners in many contexts. In the field of CSCW, complex issues such as coordination and negotiation can be identified as being characteristic, fundamental and important research topics that have to be elaborated on urgently. Better support in coordination and in negotiation, and a stronger use of knowledge about people involved, roles, positions, values, strategies, and activities seem to be important topics. It is the view of this article that such aims can only be achieved if there is a close coupling of CSCW components with a powerful underlying corporate information system. In order to achieve these aims, enterprise information systems and group support are to be combined as a strategic way into the informational future of the enterprise. In this context, a good conceptual model and proper implementation of an Enterprise Data Model (EDM) are a fundamental prerequisite for full group support in an organizational environment. The EDM can be considered as a basic support repository for general planning processes. The article introduces an architectural concept for Computer-Supported Collaborative Systems (CSCS) consisting of a three-level system architecture of a basic object level, user and coordination object level, and a specific goal-oriented object level. The approach in this article is based on experiences from the application field of distributed software development.
Keywords: Architectural concepts, Computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW), Coordination, Corporate information system, Enterprise data model, Enterprise information system, Group support, Knowledge processing, Negotiation, Planning scenarios
Full-Life-Cycle Economics: An Evaluation Methodology for Information Technology Projects BIBAK 393-403
  Duncan M. Witte
This article presents a methodology for the examination and evaluation of proposed information technology projects. Through an examination of successes and failures in estimating project costs and benefits, a number of weaknesses have been identified. The areas of "hidden" costs and intangible (or at least difficult to quantify) benefits have been particularly difficult to estimate. The methodology presented here seeks to retain the strengths of older methodologies, while addressing these identified weaknesses. This methodology, while not a substitute for good judgment, provides a framework for the standardization of economic analysis. As such, it provides both management and clients with a better basis for decisions regarding investments in information technology.
Keywords: Project economics, Methodology, Information technology, Computing, Software development