ECSCW 1995: Proceedings of the Fourth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work

11-15 September, 1995, Stockholm, Sweden

General Chair: Yngve Sundblad, KTH, Sweden
Program Chair: Hans Marmolin, KTH, Sweden

Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) is an interdisciplinary research area devoted to exploring the issues of designing computer-based systems that enhance the abilities to cooperate and integrate activities in an efficient and flexible manner for people in cooperative work situations. This volume is a rigorous selection of papers that represent both practical and theoretical approaches to CSCW from many leading researchers in the field. As an interdisciplinary area of research, CSCW brings together widely disparate research traditions and perspectives from computer, human, organisational and design sciences. The papers selected reflect a variety of approaches and cultures in the field.

Audience: Of interest to a wide audience because of the huge practical impact of the issues and the interdisciplinary nature of the problems and solutions proposed. In particular: researchers and professionals in computing, sociology, cognitive science, human factors, and system design.

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  • Text Document
    Frontmatter
    (ECSCW 1995: Proceedings of the Fourth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1995)
  • Text Document
    Medium versus mechanism: Supporting collaboration through customisation
    (ECSCW 1995: Proceedings of the Fourth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1995) Bentley, Richard; Dourish, Paul
    The study of cooperative work as a socially-situated activity has led to a focus on providing 'mechanisms' that more closely resonate with existing work practice. In this paper we challenge this approach and suggest the flexibly organised nature of work is better supported when systems provide a 'medium' which can be tailored to suit each participant's needs and organised around the detail of their work. This orientation towards 'medium' rather than 'mechanism' has consequences for cooperative system design, highlighting a need to allow participants to adapt details of policy currently embedded in the heart of the systems we build We describe an approach which allows users to perform such 'deep customisation' through direct manipulation of user interface representations
  • Text Document
    Contact: Support for Distributed Cooperative Writing
    (ECSCW 1995: Proceedings of the Fourth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1995) Kirby, Andrew; Rodden, Tom
    This paper presents a novel system to support the activities of distributed cooperative writing. The system builds upon the results from previous studies of cooperative work, and on a set of short focused studies of cooperative authoring to outline a framework and system to meet the requirements of cooperating authors. The system provides facilities to represent the decomposition of the writing task and assignment of responsibilities. In addition, a series of monitoring facilities is provided which allows authors to coordinate their activities in the construction of documents.
  • Text Document
    CSCW for Strategic Management in Swiss Enterprises: an Empirical Study
    (ECSCW 1995: Proceedings of the Fourth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1995) Sauter, Christian; Morger, Othmar; Mühlherr, Thomas; Hutchison, Andrew; Teufel, Stephanie
    This paper presents the results of an empirical study into the current usage of groupware in strategic management and the potential of Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) for the top management in large-scale Swiss business enterprises. For this purpose we conducted a survey amongst 168 organisations
  • Text Document
    Reconsidering the Virtual Workplace: Flexible Support for Collaborative Activity
    (ECSCW 1995: Proceedings of the Fourth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1995) Heath, Christian; Luff, Paul; Sellen, Abigail
    Despite the substantial corpus of research concerned with the design and development of media space, the virtual workplace has failed to achieve its early promise. In this paper, we suggest that a number of problems which have arisen with the design and deployment of media space, derive from their impoverished concept of collaborative work. Drawing from our own studies of video connectivity, coupled with analyses of work and interaction in real-world settings, we consider ways in which we might reconfigure media space in order to provide more satisfactory support for collaboration in organisational environments
  • Text Document
    Cooperation and Power
    (ECSCW 1995: Proceedings of the Fourth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1995) Sherry, John
    New technologies are not only transforming workplace practices in familiar settings They are also finding their way into the types of "exotic" locales which have traditionally been of interest to anthropologists. This paper presents an ethnographic analysis of technologically mediated communication in one such atypical setting, among a grassroots group of activists from the Navajo Indian Reservation in the southwestern United States. As this case illustrates, mere access to technology does not solve all of the problems such groups face in terms of empowerment, access to resources for action, and coordination. The discursive practices embodied in technological design may perpetuate the relations of dominance and subordination which characterize interactions between "marginalized" groups and "mainstream" organizations, and force groups into forms of organization which they find inappropnate
  • Text Document
    Fragmented Exchange: Disarticulation and the Need for Regionalized Communication Spaces
    (ECSCW 1995: Proceedings of the Fourth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1995) Clement, Andrew; Wagner, Ina
    This paper relates the discussion of articualtion work (and of siarticulation) to issues of the creation and control of collective communication spaces. Four differnet types of settings are examined - occupationally segregated terrains, emergency situations, scarce-resource settings and performance-intensive settings. What is articualted in such settings is seen as depending on the properties of the communication spaces actors build their zoning and contextuality; while instances of disarticualtion within this space can be interpreted as a consequence of both regionalisation and/or a deternation or even breakdown of envisioning and interralating. CSCW design needs to take account of the regionalised character of "real world" communications by offering tools for creating a corresponding multiplicity of communication spaces.
  • Text Document
    Workflow From Within and Without: Technology and Cooperative Work on the Print Industry Shopfloor
    (ECSCW 1995: Proceedings of the Fourth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1995) Bowers, John; Button, Graham; Sharrock, Wes
    This paper reports fieldwork from an organization in the pnnt industry, examining a workflow system introduced to the shopfloor. We detail the indigenous methods by which members order their work, contrast this with the order provided by the system, and describe how members have attempted to accommodate the two. Although it disrupted shopfloor work, the system's use was a contractural requirement on the organization to make its services accountable. This suggests workflow systems can often be seen as technologies for organizational ordering and accountability. We conclude that CSCW requirements should acknowledge such exigencies and the organizational status of workflow technologies
  • Text Document
    Chalk and Cheese: BPR and ethnomethodogically informed ethnography in CSCW
    (ECSCW 1995: Proceedings of the Fourth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1995) Randall, Dave; Rouncefield, Mark; Hughes, John A.
    Recently a number of methodological approaches have been presented as proffering radical solutions to organisational change. This paper discusses one such approach, Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) and contrasts it with Ethnography, a method that has gained some prominence in CSCW. The paper suggests, using a number of empirical examples, that despite some superficial similarities, the two approaches differ markedly in their analytical purchase. In particular, ethnography's emphasis on understanding 'systems' within the situated context of the work setting rather than as an abstract model of process, has consequences for the successful identification and implementation of system re-design.
  • Text Document
    What Are Workplace Studies For?
    (ECSCW 1995: Proceedings of the Fourth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1995) Plowman, Lydia; Rogers, Yvonne; Ramage, Magnus
    We have considered the role of workplace studies from the CSCW literature which are intended to inform system design and implementation. We present a critique of these studies, categorised.according to which phase of the design process they most inform, and discuss the tensions between providing explanatory accounts and usable design recommendations, the pressures on fieldworkers to provide both, the purposes different approaches serve, and the transition from fieldwork to system design.