Grounding CSCW in Social Psychology
Umer Farooq (IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, USA), Peter G. Fairweather (IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, USA) and Mark K. Singley (IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, USA)
Copyright: © 2006
Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) is largely an applied discipline, technologically supporting multiple individuals, their group processes, their dynamics, and so on. CSCW is a research endeavor that studies the use of, designs, and evaluates computer technologies to support groups, organizations, communities, and societies. It is interdisciplinary, marshalling research from different disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, organizational psychology, cognitive psychology, social psychology, and information and computer sciences. Some examples of CSCW systems are group decision support systems (e.g., Nunamaker, Dennis, Valacich, Vogel, & George, 1991), group authoring systems (e.g., Guzdial, Rick, & Kerimbaev, 2000), and computer-mediated communication systems (e.g., Sproull & Kiesler, 1991). Behavioral and social sciences provide a rich body of research and theory about principles of human behavior. However, researchers and developers have rarely taken advantage of this trove of empirical phenomena and theory (Kraut, 2003). Recently, at the 2004 Conference on CSCW, there was a panel discussion chaired by Sara Kiesler (Barley, Kiesler, Kraut, Dutton, Resnick, & Yates, 2004) on the topic of incorporating group and organization theory in CSCW. Broadly speaking, the panel discussed some theories applicable to CSCW and debated their usefulness. In this article, we use the theory of small groups as complex systems from social psychology in a brief example to allude to how it can be used to inform CSCW methodologically and conceptually.