Removal of communication impediments and provision for techniques that systematically direct the pattern, timing, and content of cooperative processes are two key prerequisites in the contemporary organization. Their establishment has been proven to facilitate the solution of ill-structured problems by a set of individuals working together as a team, through the interactive sharing of information between them. E-collaboration involves a variety of both communication and cooperation issues, in that it leverages the connective powers of a computer network to coordinate the efforts of a group of people. By using e-collaborative capabilities in an organization, people can operate as a single business entity, thus making joint decisions of added value.
The environment in which a collaborative process takes place sets a series of important requirements. Issues to be taken into account in the design and implementation of an e-collaboration system include:
Key Terms in this Chapter
E-Collaboration: The process in which a set of individuals communicate through an intranet or Internet to coordinate their efforts towards the solution of a problem.
Groupware: The multi-user software supporting CSCW. Sometimes this term is broadened to incorporate the styles and practices that are essential for any collaborative activity to succeed, whether or not it is supported by computer.
Social Network Applications: Specialized applications for representing social structure and relationships.
Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): A computer-assisted coordinated activity, such as communication and problem solving, carried out by a group of collaborating individuals.
User Modeling: The process of acquiring knowledge about a user in order to provide adapted services or information to his/her specific needs.
Group Decision Support System: An interactive, computer-based system that aids a set of decision makers working together as a group in solving ill-structured problems. It enables decision makers to analyze problem situations and perform group decision-making tasks.
Knowledge Management: The active management of the expertise in an organization involving collection, categorization, and dissemination of knowledge; the activity of representing and processing knowledge.