Advertisement

Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 387–413 | Cite as

From the social to the systematic

Mechanisms supporting coordination in design
  • Peter H. Carstensen
  • Carsten Sørensen
Article

Abstract

Large design and manufacturing projects are conducted in elaborate settings. Interdependent specialists work together, building complex systems. A substantial part of their daily work concerns the coordination of distributed work. This paper reports from a field study at Foss Electric, a Danish manufacturing company, where the development of an instrument for testing the quality of raw milk was studied. Scheduled and informal project meetings together with paper-based coordination systems were the primary means of managing the complexity of coordinating work within the project. This paper investigates the origination, use, and function of these coordination mechanisms applying a Coordination Mechanism perspective (Schmidt and Simone, 1996). We argue that the complexity of coordinating distributed work in large design projects result in the adoption of coordination systems. These systems formalize aspects of coordination work through artifacts, procedures for use and conventions.

Key words

Formalization coordination mechanisms design work manufacturing field study 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Agostini, AlessandraGiorgio De Michelis, Stefano Patriarca, and Renata Tinini (1994): A Prototype of an Integrated Coordination Support System.CSCW, vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 209–238.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, Bob, Graham Button, and Wes Sharrock (1993): Supporting the Design Process within an Organisational Context. InECSCW '93. Proceedings of the Third European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, Milan, eds. Giorgio De Michelis, Carla Simone, and Kjeld Schmidt. Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 47–59.Google Scholar
  3. Bentley, R., J.A. Hughes, D. Randall, T. Rodden, P. Sawyer, D. Shapiro, and I. Sommerville (1992): Ethnographically-Informed Systems Design for Airtraffic Control. InCSCW '92. Proceedings of the Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, Toronto, Canada, October 31 to November 4, 1992, eds. Jon Turner and Robert Kraut. New York: ACM Press, pp. 123–129.Google Scholar
  4. Bucciarelli, Louis L. (1984): Reflective Practice in Engineering Design.Design Studies, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 185–190.Google Scholar
  5. Carstensen, Peter and Kjeld Schmidt (1993): Work Analysis-Perspectives on and Requirements for a Methodology. InHuman-Computer Interaction: Applications and Case Studies, eds. M.J. Smith and G. Salvendy. Amsterdam: Elsevier, pp. 575–580.Google Scholar
  6. Carstensen, Peter and Carsten Sørensen (1994): Requirements for a Computational Mechanism of Interaction: An Example. InA Notation for Computational Mechanisms of Interaction, eds. Carla Simone and Kjeld Schmidt. Lancaster, U.K.: University of Lancaster, pp. 33–80.Google Scholar
  7. Carstensen, Peter H. (1996): Computer Supported Coordination.Writings in Computer Science (No. 61). Roskilde, Denmark: Department of Computer Science, Roskilde University.Google Scholar
  8. Carstensen, Peter H., Carsten Sørensen, and Tuomo Tuikka (1995): Let's Talk about Bugs!Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 33–53.Google Scholar
  9. Dery David and Theodore J. Mock (1985): Information Support Systems for Problem Solving.Decision Support Systems, vol. 1, pp. 103–109.Google Scholar
  10. Dourish, Paul (1993): Culture and Control in Media Space. InECSCW '93. Proceedings of the Third European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, Milan, Italy, 13–17 September 1993, eds. Giorgio De Michelis, Carla Simone, and Kjeld Schmidt. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 125–137.Google Scholar
  11. Fillipi, Geneviève and Jacques Theureau (1993): Analyzing Cooperative Work in an Urban Traffic Control Room for the Design of a Coordination Support System. InECSCW'93. Proceedings of the Third European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, Milan, Italy, 13–17 September 1993, eds. Giorgio De Michelis, Carla Simone, and Kjeld Schmidt. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 171–186.Google Scholar
  12. Fitzpatrick, Geraldine, William J. Tolone, and Simon Kaplan (1995): Work, Locales and Distributed Social Worlds. InProceedings of the Fourth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work - ECSCW'95, 10–14 September, 1995, Stockholm, Sweden, eds. Hans Marmolin, Yngve Sundblad, and Kjeld Schmidt. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 1–17.Google Scholar
  13. Flores, Fernando, Michael Graves, Brad Hartfield, and Terry Winograd (1988): Computer Systems and the Design of Organizational Interaction.TOIS, vol. 6, no. 2, April, pp. 153–172.Google Scholar
  14. Fukuda, Ryuji (1989):CEDAC-A Tool for Continuous Systematic Improvement. Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Productivity Press.Google Scholar
  15. Harrington, Joseph (1984):Understanding the Manufacturing Process. Key to Successful CAD/CAM Implementation. New York: Marcel Dekker.Google Scholar
  16. Heath, Christian, Marina Jirotka, Paul Luff, and Jon Hindmarsh (1993): Unpacking Collaboration: The Interactional Organisation of Trading in a City Dealing Room. InECSCW'93. Proceedings of the Third European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, Milan, Italy, 13–17 September 1993, eds. Giorgio DeMichelis, Carla Simone, and Kjeld Schmidt. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 155–170.Google Scholar
  17. Heath, Christian and Paul Luff (1992a): Collaboration and Control. Crisis Management and Multimedia Technology in London Underground Control Rooms.CSCW, vol. 1, nos. 1–2, pp. 69–94.Google Scholar
  18. Heath, Christian and Paul Luff (1992b): Media Space and Communicative Asymmetries: Preliminary Observations of Video Mediated Interaction.Human-Computer Interaction, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 315–346.Google Scholar
  19. Helander, Martin and Mitsou Nagamachi, eds. (1992):Design for Manufacturability — A Systems Approach to Concurrent Engineering and Ergonomics. London: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  20. Holt, Anatol (1988): Diplans: A New Language for the Study and Implementation of Coordination.TOTS, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 109–125.Google Scholar
  21. Hughes, John A., David Randall, and Dan Shapiro (1992): Faltering from Ethnography to Design. InCSCW '92. Proceedings of the Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, Toronto, Canada, October 31 to November 4, 1992, eds. Jon Turner and Robert Kraut. New York: ACM Press, pp. 115–122.Google Scholar
  22. Ishii, Hiroshi, Kazuho Arita, and Takashi Yagi (1993): Beyond Videophones: Team Work Station-2 for Narrowband ISDN. InECSCW '93. Proceedings of the Third European Conference on ComputerSupported Cooperative Work, Milan, Italy, 13–17 September 1993, eds. Giorgio DeMichelis, Carla Simone, and Kjeld Schmidt. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 325–340.Google Scholar
  23. Kaplan, Simon M., William J. Tolone, Douglas P. Bogia, and Celsina Bignoli (1992): Flexible, Active Support for Collaborative Work with Conversation Builder. InCSCW '92. Proceedings of the Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, Toronto, Canada, October 31 to November 4, 1992, eds. Jon Turner and Robert Kraut. New York: ACM Press, pp. 378–385.Google Scholar
  24. Keyser, Véronique De (1992): Why Field Studies? InDesign for Manufacturability - A Systems Approach to Concurrent Engineering and Ergonomics, eds. Martin Helander and Mitsou Nagamachi. London: Taylor & Francis, pp. 305–316.Google Scholar
  25. Kraut, Robert E. and Lynn A. Streeter (1995): Coordination in Software Development.Communications of the ACM, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 69–81.Google Scholar
  26. Malone, Thomas W. and Kevin Crowston (1990): What Is Coordination Theory and How Can It Help Design Cooperative Work Systems. InCSCW '90. Proceedings of the Conference on ComputerSupported Cooperative Work, Los Angeles, CA, October 7–10,1990. New York, NY: ACM press, pp. 357–370.Google Scholar
  27. Mason, Richard O. (1989): MIS Experiments: A Pragmatic Perspective. InThe Information Systems Research Challenge: Experimental Research Methods, vol. 2, ed. Izak Benbasat. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Research Colloquium, Harvard Business School, pp. 3–20.Google Scholar
  28. Mintzberg, Henry (1979):The Structuring of Organizations. A Synthesis of the Research. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  29. Patton, Michael Q. (1980): Qualitative Evaluation Methods. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  30. Schmidt, Kjeld (1994):Modes and Mechanisms of Interaction in Cooperative Work. Risø National Laboratory.Google Scholar
  31. Schmidt, Kjeld and Peter Carstensen (1990):Arbejdsanalyse. Teori og praksis [Work Analysis. Theory and Practice]. Risø National Laboratory.Google Scholar
  32. Schmidt, Kjeld and Carla Simone (1996): Coordination Mechanisms: Towards a Conceptual Foundation of CSCW Systems Design. Computer Supported Cooperative Work.The Journal of Collaborative Computing, vol. 5, nos. 2–3, pp. 155–200.Google Scholar
  33. Schmidt, Kjeld, Carla Simone, Peter Carstensen, Betty Hewitt, and Carsten Sørensen (1993): Computational Mechanisms of Interaction: Notations and Facilities. InComputational Mechanisms of Interaction for CSCW, eds. Carla Simone and Kjeld Schmidt. Lancaster, U.K.: University of Lancaster, pp. 109–164.Google Scholar
  34. Schmidt, Kjeld, Carla Simone, Monica Divitini, Peter Carstensen, and Carsten Sørensen (1995): A ‘Contract Sociale’ for CSCW Systems: Supporting Interoperability of Computational Coordination Mechanisms. Centre for Cognitive Informatics, Roskilde University.Google Scholar
  35. Siemieniuch, Carys (1992): Design to Product — A Prototype of a System to Enable Design for Manufacturability. InDesign for Manufacturability — A Systems Approach to Concurrent Engineering and Ergonomics, eds. Martin Helander and Mitsou Nagamachi. London: Taylor & Francis, pp. 35–54.Google Scholar
  36. Simon, Herbert A. (1973): The Structure of Ill Structured Problems.Artificial Intelligence, vol. 4, pp. 181–201.Google Scholar
  37. Simon, Herbert A. (1981):The Sciences of the Artificial. Second edition; First edition 1969. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  38. Strauss, Anselm (1985): Work and the Division of Labor.The Sociological Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 1–19.Google Scholar
  39. Strauss, Anselm (1988): The Articulation of Project Work: An Organizational Process.The Sociological Quarterly, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 163–178.Google Scholar
  40. Suchman, Lucy (1994): Do Categories Have Politics? The language/Action Perspective Reconsidered.Computer Supported Cooperative Work, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 177–190.Google Scholar
  41. Suchman, Lucy A. (1987):Plans and Situated Actions. The Problem of Human-Machine Communication. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Woods, David D. (1988): Coping with Complexity: The Psychology of Human Behavior in Complex Systems. InTasks, Errors and Mental Models. A Festschrift to celebrate the 60th birthday of Professor Jens Rasmussen, eds. L.P. Goodstein, H.B. Andersen, and S.E. Olsen. London: Taylor & Francis, pp. 128–148.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter H. Carstensen
    • 1
  • Carsten Sørensen
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Systems Analysis DepartmentRisø National LaboratoryRoskildeDenmark
  2. 2.Department of InformaticsUniversity of GöteborgGöteborgSweden
  3. 3.Visiting Fellow at Warwick Business SchoolCoventryUnited Kingdom

Personalised recommendations