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Communication Concepts * Computer-Mediated Communications * GroupWare

Communication Concepts * Computer-Mediated Communications * GroupWare. Communication. Communication is an interpersonal process of sending and receiving symbols with messages attached to them. General Model of a Communication System. Feedback. Receiver Decoder. Transmitter encoder. Source.

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Communication Concepts * Computer-Mediated Communications * GroupWare

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  1. Communication Concepts*Computer-Mediated Communications*GroupWare

  2. Communication • Communication is an interpersonal process of sending and receiving symbols with messages attached to them.

  3. General Model of a Communication System Feedback Receiver Decoder Transmitter encoder Source Destination Channel Noise and Distortion

  4. Basic Communication Concepts • Social Context • Personal, Impersonal, and Anonymous Communication • Time, Place, and Direction of Communication

  5. Social Context • The situation and relationships within which communication takes place. • Social presence • Organizational position • Relationships • Cultural Norms • Age • Gender • The topic being discussed • Nonverbal communication • Media Richness Theory

  6. Personal, Impersonal, and Anonymous Communication • Personal - the relationship between sender and receiver matters. It affects form and content. • Impersonal - The sender and receiver’s relationship does not matter. Both serve as agents of the organization. • Anonymous - The sender’s identity is hidden from the recipient.

  7. Time, Place, and Direction of Communication • Synchronous - The sender and Receiver are available simultaneously • Asynchronous - The sender and receiver are not available simultaneously. • Place Involves Physical Presence • Direction: One-way vs. Two Way communication.

  8. Common Communications Classified By Time and Place Presentation Systems Copyboards PC Projectors Facilitation Services Polling Systems Group Decision Rooms Transaction databases Shared Files Electronic Mail Voice Mail Shift Work Communications SAME PLACE EDI Electronic Mail Computer Conferencing Voice Mail Fax DIFFERENT PLACE Typical Telephone Video Telephone Video Conferencing Live Radio TV Broadcast SAME TIME DIFFERENT TIME

  9. Approaches for Improving Communication • Presentation Technologies • Eliminate Unnecessary Person to Person Communication • Make Communications more systematic • Combine and Extend Electronic Communications

  10. Making Face to Face More Effective • Presentation Technologies: • Blackboard • Prepared Paper Handouts • Overhead projector or slide projector with color transparencies • Electronic Blackboard • Computer LCD Display panels • Computer for “What-If” Scenarios • Computer-controlled Multi-media • Computer controlled multi-media with interactive control.

  11. Eliminate Unnecessary Person to Person Communication • Substitute on-line Access to data • Example: Supplier/Customer Relationships • ATM access • Automated Telephone Attendants • Danger of becoming too impersonal

  12. Making Communication Systematic • Contrast communication between people vs. communication between machines. • The business Memo Header: • To: • From: • Date: • Re: • Having structure reduces the effort required to figure out what the communication means. • Even with communication between groups of people, repetitive aspects of communication are systematized.

  13. Combine and Extend Electronic Communication Functions • Early communication technologies have been combined and extended to create more powerful communication technologies. • Example: Telegraph, Telephone, Radio Broadcast

  14. Collaborative Work

  15. Supporting Collaborative Work • The term group, or work group refers to two or more individuals who act as one unit to perform a task.

  16. Benefits of Working in A Group • Groups are better than individuals at understanding problems. • People are accountable for decisions in which they participate. • Groups are better than individuals in catching errors. • A group has more information (Knowledge) than any one member, and, as a result, more alternatives are generated for problem solving. • Synergy may develop so that the effectiveness of the group is greater than what could have been produced individually.

  17. Benefits of Working in A Group - 2 • Working in a group may stimulate the process and the individuals. • Group members have their own egos imbedded in the decision they make, so they will be committed to the implementation. • The participation of the members means less likelihood of their resisting implementation.

  18. Dysfunctions of Groups • Social Pressures of Conformity (groupthink) may eliminate superior ideas. • Time-consuming, slow process (e.g. tendency to repeat what was already said). • Lack of coordination of the work done by the group. • Inappropriate influence of group dynamics (domination by some, fear to speak by others). • Tendency of group members to rely on others (“free ride”)

  19. Dysfunctions of Groups -2 • Tendency toward compromised solutions of poor quality. • Inability to complete a Task • Large non-productive time . • Larger cost of making decisions (many hours of participation, travel time, etc.). • Incomplete or inappropriate use of information.

  20. Improving the Work of Groups • Nominal Group Technique • Delphi Methods • Computer-Supported Cooperative Work

  21. Nominal Group Technique • Typical group dynamic method. • Includes a sequence of activities: • 1. silent generation of ideas in writing • 2. round-robin listing of ideas on flip chart • 3. serial discussion of ideas • 4. silent listing and ranking of priorities • 5. discussion or priorities • 6. silent re-ranking and rating of priorities • Based on social-psychological research which indicates procedure is clearly superior to conventional discussion groups for generating higher quality decisions, greater quantity of ideas, and improved distribution of information on fact-finding tasks.

  22. Nominal Group Technique - 2 • The success of the NGT technique and similar methods depends considerably on the quality of the facilitator and on the training given to participants. • The approach does not solve several of the dysfunctions of groups such as fear to speak, slow process, poor planning and organization of the meeting, compromises, and lack of appropriate analysis.

  23. Delphi Methods • Originally designed by RAND Corp. as a technological forecasting technique for a group of experts. • Designed to eliminate undesirable effects of interaction among group members. • The experts do not meet face-to-face, and they do not know who the other experts are. • Each group member provides individual ideas, opinions, etc. with supporting arguments, assumptions, rankings, etc. • A facilitator edits, clarifies, and summarizes the data.

  24. Delphi Methods - 2 • Results are provided as anonymous feedback to group members along with second round of questions. • Questions and feedback continue anonymously for several rounds becoming increasingly more specific until consensus is reached or their is no more movement of group members on their individual positions. • Through anonymity, negative effects associated with face to face solutions are avoided (e.g. dominant behavior, groupthink, and stubbornness to change one’s mind).

  25. Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) • The electronic workplace - an organization wide system that integrates information processing and communication activities. • The study of such activities is part of a multi-disciplinary field called computer-supported cooperative work. • CSCW looks at how groups work together and seeks to discover how technology can help them work.

  26. What’s In A Name? • Very often the following terms are used interchangeably; • computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) • Electronic meeting systems (EMS) • Computer-mediated Communications (CMC) • Group Decision Support Systems (GDSS) • GroupWare • Coordination Systems

  27. GroupWare • Commercial CSCW products (The Coordinator, Lotus Notes) are often referred to as examples of GroupWare. • It is often used synonymously with CSCW technology. • Others may look at GroupWare as the class of applications arising from the merging of computers are large information databases, and communication technology.

  28. GroupWare Origins • Most software systems originally supported only the interaction between a user and the system. • Whether preparing a document, querying a database, or playing a game, the user only interacted with the system. • However, this is not the way most people work in daily life. • The term personal computer is becoming an oxymoron. • Three key ideas in group interaction: communication, collaboration, and coordination.

  29. Communication • Computer-based or computer-mediated communication is not fully integrated with other forms of communication. • Asynchronous text-based e-mail and bulletin boards vs. synchronous telephone and face to face conversation. • One can not transfer a document between two phone numbers, and can not originate a voice conversation between two workstations. • Telecommunications technologies and computer processing technologies will still grow closer together.

  30. Collaboration • Collaboration is the cornerstone of group activity. Effective collaboration demands people share information. • Current database systems insulate users from one another. • CAD system designers: Seldom are they able to simultaneously modify different parts of the same object. • Many tasks require a finer granularity of sharing. • Needed: Shared environments that unobtrusively offer up to date group context and explicit notification of user's actions.

  31. Coordination • The effectiveness of communication and collaboration can be enhanced if a group’s activities are coordinated. • Without coordination, a group may engage in conflicting or repetitive actions. • Coordination is an activity itself - necessary overhead when several parties are performing a task. • Although most databases provide multiple accesses to shared objects, most tools accomplish this from a single-user perspective.

  32. GroupWare: Formal Definition • GroupWare: computer-based systems that support groups of people engaged in a common task (or goal) and that provide an interface to a shared environment. • Timesharing would not generally be considered GroupWare. • The activity need not be simultaneous. • Johnson-Lenz’ definition of GroupWare: computer-based systems plus social group processes.

  33. GroupWare Spectrum Common Task Dimension HIGH Software System Review or Collaborative Writing LOW Timesharing System Shared Environment Dimension LOW Electronic Mail HIGH Virtual Classroom

  34. Taxonomy of GroupWare Systems: Time-Space SAME TIME DIFFERENT TIME Face to Face interaction Asynchronous Interaction SAME PLACE Any Time Any Place DIFFERENT PLACES Synchronous Distributed Interaction Asynchronous Distributed Interaction

  35. Taxonomy of GroupWare Systems: Application-Level • Message Systems • Screen Sharing • GDSS and Electronic Meeting Rooms (EMS) • Computer Conferencing • Intelligent Agents • Coordination Systems • Workflow Systems

  36. Message Systems • Asynchronous exchange of textual and non-textual messages between groups of users. • Concept of attachments • Danger of Information Overload • Filtering and Filing functionality • Attachment of scripts

  37. Screen-Sharing • In collaborative work, members are often in different locations. • As an example, special software allows groups to jointly compose and edit a document, spreadsheet, or other entity. • Synchronous and asynchronous use. • Concurrent read access to entire document, but only one writer updates a segment at a time. • Locking as in database management with versioning is important. • Explicit notification of other user actions. • Another example: electronic whiteboards.

  38. GDSS and EMS • GDSS provide computer-based facilities for exploration of unstructured problems. • Goal is to improve the productivity of decision-making meetings, by speeding up the process or improve the quality of the resulting decisions. • Many GDSS’s are implemented at EMS’s. Arizona’s Groupsystems).

  39. Computer Conferencing • Real-time computer conferencing • teleconferencing (voice and video) • asynchronous computer conferencing

  40. Intelligent Agents • Not all participants in electronic meetings are people. • In general, intelligent agents are responsible for a specific set of tasks, and the user interface makes their actions resemble those of other users.

  41. Coordination Systems • The coordination problem is the integration and harmonious adjustment of individual work efforts. • Typically such systems allow individuals to view their actions, and those of others, within the context of the overall goal. • Systems may trigger user actions. • Four types of Models: form, procedure, conversation, or communication-structure oriented.

  42. The Coordinator • The Coordinator is a commercial GroupWare product for messaging. • It is based on a set of speech acts (i.e. requests promises, etc.) and contains a model of legal conversation modes (e.g. a request has to be issued before a promise can be made). • As users make conversational moves, typically through e-mail, the system tracks their requests and commitments

  43. Workflow Systems • Perhaps a special case of coordination systems. • Business process automation tools that place system controls in the hands of user departments. • Highly flexible and can be designed to automate almost any information processing task. • Primary purpose is to provide users with tracking, routing, document imaging, and other capabilities designed to improve business processes.

  44. Assumptions and Goals of various forms of Computer-Mediated Communication

  45. Assumptions and Goals • for the group to exhibit collective intelligence • support communications 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, both synchronously and asynchronously. • tailorability of communication structure for groups’ needs • Appropriate communication structures are extremely sensitive to group norms and organizational culture. • Individuals have a great deal of leeway as to what mode of communication they will use. You can nor force users to use electronic means.

  46. Assumptions and Goals - 2 • Individual and group problem solving requirements imply that one must integrate computing and data resources as part of the communication process. • Individuals and groups must be able to exercise a high degree of tailorability to the communication environment and interface. • Privacy and security of human communication are essential to the acceptance of the system. • Human roles, and computer support of human roles are key factors in the success of group activities.

  47. AsynchronousGroup Operations • Fallacy: The best way to automate something is the way it was originally done manually. • Although it may sound easy to sell a system that way, it may be the worst way to design a system for increased benefits. • Example: Asynchronous Communication should not necessarily be thought of as problem because it is not the sequential process used in face-to-face mode. • Issue should be to exploit the opportunity of asynchronous communication to make a group process better than face to face communication.

  48. AsynchronousGroup Operations - 2 • The potential for real improvement in group processes lies in the fact that individuals can deal with that part of the problem they can contribute to at a given time, regardless of where the other individuals are in the process.

  49. What’s In a name? (again)... • Group Decision Support Systems (GDSS) • Electronic Meeting Systems (EMS) • Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) • Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC)


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