Discretionary Adoption of Group Support Software: Lessons from Calendar Applications

  • Leysia Palen
  • Jonathan Grudin
Part of the Computer Supported Cooperative Work book series (CSCW)


Although the World Wide Web, Internet and organisational intranets have made computer-mediated collaboration possible for many people, adoption of collaboration technologies in business environments still presents challenges and is often slower or less widespread than anticipated Technologies focused on supporting groups fall between strictly single-user applications and enterprise systems. Single-user applications are designed with a “discretionary use” model. In contrast, for large enterprise systems, upper management support is considered crucial for smooth deployment and adoption. Which one applies to technologies that support group work? The relatively low cost of an application such as a shared calendar lowers its visibility in an organisation, reducing management attention to it. However, some argue that the complex social dynamics surrounding such technologies still necessitate a managerial mandate for use to occur — the large system approach. Interview studies of electronic calendar adoption in two large organisations found successful, near-universal use achieved without managerial mandate. Versatile functionality and ease of use, associated with discretionary products, were factors leading to individual adoption. Other factors leading to “bottom-up” adoption included the presence of an organisation-wide infrastructure, integration with e-mail, and substantial peer pressure that developed over time.


Conference Room Meeting Schedule Collaboration Technology Individual Contributor Meeting Schedul 
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Copyright information

© Bjørn Erik Munkvold 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leysia Palen
  • Jonathan Grudin

There are no affiliations available

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