Enabling Technology for Collaborative Working: A Socio-Technical Experience

Enabling Technology for Collaborative Working: A Socio-Technical Experience

Dianne Willis (Doncaster College, UK) and Elayne Coakes (University of Westminster, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-878289-64-3.ch008
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Abstract

This chapter looks at the use of enabling technology, in particular the Internet, to share experiences of socio-technical thinking and practice. From an idea of gathering an international perspective on socio-technical practices was born a collaborative venture between three members of the Sociotechnical group of the British Computer Society (BCS). The aim of the venture was to gather together a series of modern socio-technical experiences in book format. As none of the three participants lived close to the other in geographical terms and the basis of the book was to be international experiences, some method of communication was needed that took no account of international timelines and geographical boundaries. Major options considered for the project were the telephone, fax or electronic mail (e-mail). Each communication method has its advantages and disadvantages, but for a truly international perspective, e-mail was considered to be the best option. Whittle (1997) argues that the rapid communication, convenience and economy of e-mail promotes efficiency. The eventual choice of e-mail was influenced by the fact that it takes no account of time differences and people can deal with e-mail as and when they have time. According to Harris (1996), communicating by e-mail is very inexpensive compared to telephone communication, as messages and even files can be exchanged around the world for the cost of a local phone call. This aspect was also highlighted when contributors were asked to send disc and hard copy which proved very expensive, though was undoubtedly more reliable as problems with compatibility of systems disappeared.

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Table of Contents
Preface
Steve Clarke, Brian Lehaney
Chapter 1
Steve Clarke, Brian Lehaney
This chapter seeks to cast light on the commonly encountered ‘human-centred’ versus ‘technology’ debate in information systems (IS: Clarke and... Sample PDF
Introduction: Information Systems as Constrained Variety-Issues and Scope
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Chapter 2
Andrew Wenn
This chapter describes some aspects of the development of VICNET, an assemblage of computers, cables, modems, people, texts, libraries, buildings... Sample PDF
Topological Transformations: The Co-Construction of an Open System
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Chapter 3
M. Gordon Hunter
There is evidence which suggests the software crisis still exists and is negatively impacting both information systems (IS) development and... Sample PDF
Excellent Systems Analysts: A Grounded Theory Approach to Qualitative Research
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Chapter 4
W. Hutchinson
Development techniques almost always use top-down approaches to develop software and business systems. Humans need to simplify the external world by... Sample PDF
Bottom-Up Management and System Design
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Chapter 5
Jonathan K. Lazar, Anthony F. Norcio
Errors are a major problem for users. In the distant past, the users of computer technology often were limited to computer professionals with... Sample PDF
System and Training Design for End-User Error
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Chapter 6
Ruth V. Small, Marilyn P. Arnone
As millions of people “search-and-surf “ the Internet, seeking needed products and services or just exploring to see “what’s out there,” businesses... Sample PDF
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Web Sites
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Chapter 7
Simon Bell
Information technology (IT) projects regularly fail. IT projects fail rapidly, spectacularly and with monotonous regularity. IT and related... Sample PDF
Vulnerability and the Aware IS Practitioner: A Reflexive Discourse on Unfinished Business
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Chapter 8
Dianne Willis, Elayne Coakes
This chapter looks at the use of enabling technology, in particular the Internet, to share experiences of socio-technical thinking and practice.... Sample PDF
Enabling Technology for Collaborative Working: A Socio-Technical Experience
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Chapter 9
Gill Mallalieu, Steve Clarke
The idea of the ‘wicked problem’ (Churchman, 1967), which advocates a pragmatic oscillation between problem and solution, rather than an attempt to... Sample PDF
Information Systems as Wicked Problems
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Chapter 10
E. Vance Wilson, Joline P. Morrison
A key determinant in the success of computer-mediated communication systems (CMCS) and group support systems (GSS) is the task they are used for... Sample PDF
A Measuring of Task-Technology Fit for Computer-Mediated Communication
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Chapter 11
Elizabeth J. Davidson
Metaphors have long pervaded the discourse around information technology (IT) design (Johnson, 1994), helping developers to conceptualize... Sample PDF
The Metaphorical Implications of Data Warehousing
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Chapter 12
Lorraine Warren
Over the last four decades, information technology (IT) has permeated almost every aspect of our lives. From its origins in the data processing (DP)... Sample PDF
Critical Thinking and Human Centered Methods in Information Systems
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Chapter 13
Jose Rodrigo Cordoba, Gerald Midgley, Diego Ricardo Torres
Current practice in strategic information systems (IS) planning seems to be focused on surfacing an organisation’s vision and goals, exploring the... Sample PDF
Rethinking Stakeholder Involvement: An Application of the Theories of Autopoiesis and Boundary Critique to IS Planning
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About the Authors