Collaborative computing/Appropriation and customization

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“Appropriation and customization” (Grudin (1988) Dourish (2003) Why and how does CSCW fail?

There have been created extensive systems, some of which has been funded quite exsessivly. Although there are made extensive investments some systems are not as great successes as expected. "Disparity" = inequality or difference!

Inequalities There are inequalities between those who benefit from the application, and those who must perform extra work to get it to work. There are challenges for CSCW systems because of management's intuition and because systems affect so many users, it is difficult to evaluate these applications.

Automatic meeting planner Imagine a calendar system with a built-meeting function. This meeting planner can create a list of people and systems, while checking for available timeslots and then inform the parties involved. For this to work, all parties keep a personal calendar and let the system have "control" over their available time. This can create problems. A secretary might be necessary to keep the electronic calendar working. "Invading" the avaliable time can create problems in relation to the overall ranking of time. One may ask why you would want to implement solutions that are likely not being used, but managers can see their own personal benefits of such a system without worrying about the extra workload it brings to other people. This can create advantages in terms of booking of premises or equipment.


Some people could have to do additional work while they receive no immediate advantage of this. It's difficult for individuals to assess a multi-user application, as decision-makers often see the benefits for themselves, without considering the additional workload for others. The creators do not learn from their mistakes when they make complex applications that introduces severe obstacles when analysing evaluations.

an example:

A Leader invites employees to a meeting, and the leader enjoys an advantage as this is easy. This creates a requirement for the other employees to be up to date on their calendar and to be updated about any meetings and if the employees do not check their calendar to the same degree, an automatic meeting planner would therefore be useless. "A critical mass of users is essential for the success of Any communation system" (Ehrlich, 1987)

Extra work A CSCW system will often create new job openings or develop existing ones further. The organization can adapt to the computer system, while an application must adapt to the organization. If one person gains an extra hour of using the system, while a group of 10 people also need an extra hour,is the system then relevant?

Problem: The Decisionmakers intuition can be used if it is a "single-user" system as the decision-maker can easily get an idea about the user experience from his own point of view. CSCW is used by multiple users, and it is therefore difficult for a person to judge as many users with different backgrounds and workflows use the system together to get it to work.

Recognition It is easier to identify benefits for people with the same background as themselves. Decisionmakers may "forget" to look at the negative sides. Conversely, a decisionmaker may be less likely to choose a solution that is more beneficial to the organization, but also creates extra work for the leader.

The hard part of evaluating Evaluation is always comprehensive, but it is far more difficult with CSCW than with single-user applications. The experience of a single-user system is not necessarily influenced by the other members backgrounds or through administrative or personal dynamics of the group. If the application needs to support the whole group, this remains the case!

Evaluation Applications must be assessed in a completely different way by example, social psychology and anthropology. To test with a person is easier than creating a test environment with a natural interaction in a group. Which is near impossible. Group observations therefore takes days or weeks, while single observation takes hours.

Appropriation Definition: Appropriation: acquisition; application; closure; provision; grant. Appropriation is the process by som people adoptees and Adapt Technologies, fitting themself into sin working practices.

Feeding, adaptation

Customisation is about the explicit functions in the systemconfiguration that can be adjusted to help the environment in which the system can be used in. It is a broader concept than it first appears. Interactive technologies can be specialized to fit the user's needs or environment and the system can be adapted to operate in other situations in which they can operate.

Tailoring To make, alter or ADAPT ( Organisationally Technically Socially

Group Composition Originally for single-users, but it is also relevant in CSCW, as different groups seem similar to different individuals. Groups are consisting of individuals who potentially all work in different ways.

Situated Action (Suchman) Complex relationships between workflows and environment. Sequential organization of actions that occur in response to the circumstances of production. Customisation explicit reconfiguration of technology to suit local needs. Appropriation making use of the technology for purposes beyond dem for som it was oprindeligt designed.

Appropriation Adopt, adapt, Incorporate Contains customization. Flexibility in practice and technology. Not only social perspective How to support this? How can systems be designed to adapt, support and encourage the use?

Placeless Documents Good to show appropriation problems in the form of document interaction. It also provides insight into the technical problems. Conditions between the technological design and workflow Used by developers, research group and in collaboration with others.

Interactions are often information management  Document proporties "C:\Dourish\Papers\In progress\JCSW\" What does this path mean?

ernoulli An in-line and one delegate In-line intercepts the read / write operations Watching how the user accesses the document This can help show changes. The system picks up one step and bring this up to process the document is stapled on and move it from one stage to another. (Form Fill) API can then using delegate examine the context, query or view the information graphically

Workflow Traditional workflow focuses on the content of the work but not the context.

process Representations highlights the details of what happens, but eksluderer information about how work gets done.

the different stages are independent from each other of the performance of the other stages, as long as the steps are performed in the correct order

Is it really true? Differences in handling for example payslips Perspective from Dourish. After each stage is the resources are listed This can be documents, links, etc. This can be used as an instrument to handle the histories If this integration makes it easier to understand the case.

Perspective Users can incorporate the information into their own working patterns Relation of document activity and application Passive documents