Advertisement

Managing Conflict in Information System Design Stakeholder Conferences: The Role of Transparency Work

  • Mark Aakhus
Chapter
Part of the Human–Computer Interaction Series book series (HCIS, volume 20)

Abstract

This chapter examines the management of disagreement and conflict during an information systems design conference that sought agreement on a data-flow-model and design requirements among stakeholders in a new information system. The case identifies micro design practices, such as fashioning-a-record, employed in facilitating creativity and capturing rationale during the design conference. The micro-practices reveal the layers of transparency work performed by the facilita-tors that involves: (1) setting up the usability and usefulness of the technology and (2) persuading participants about the essence of their interaction. Transparency work draws attention away from the actions of the facilitators and the social-political complications while highlighting any features of the scene reflecting ideals of collaborative decision-making. The persuasion aims to remove doubt about the nature of the activity and trustworthiness of the intervention. The analysis shows how the ethnomethodological principle of the documentary method of interpretation operates in bridging the gap between technology and use, which addresses key matters in the literature on technologically supported facilitation.

Keywords

Collaboration Communication design Facilitation Meetings Meta-structuring Persuasion 

Notes

Acknowledgments

An earlier version this chapter appeared as: Aakhus, M. (2004). Understanding the Socio-Technical Gap: A case of GDSS Facilitation. In G. Goldkuhl, M. Lind, & S. Cronholm (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Action in Language, Organisations, and Information Systems (pp. 137–148). Linköping, Sweden: Research Network VITS.

References

  1. Aakhus, M. (2000). Constituting deliberation as “buy-in” through GDSS design and implementation. The Electronic Journal of Communication/La Revue Electronique de Communication [Online], 10(1). Available at http://www.cios.org/www/ejcrec2.htm
  2. Aakhus, M. (2001). Technocratic and design stances toward communication expertise: How GDSS facilitators understand their work. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 29(4), 341–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aakhus, M. (2003). Neither naïve nor normative reconstruction: Dispute mediators, impasse, and the design of argumentation. Argumentation: An International Journal on Reasoning, 17(3), 265–290.Google Scholar
  4. Aakhus, M. (2007). Communication as design. Communication Monographs, 74(1), 112–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Aakhus, M., & Jackson, S. (2005). Technology, interaction, design. Handbook of language and social interaction. In K. Fitch & R. Sanders (Eds.), Handbook of language and social interaction (pp. 411–437). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  6. Allen, J. (1993). Groupware and social reality. Computers and Society, 22, 24–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Anson, R., Bostrom, R., & Wynne, B. (1995). An experiment assessing group support system and facilitator effects on meeting outcomes. Management Science, 41(2), 189–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Baecker, R., Grudin, J., Buxton, W., & Greenberg, S. (1995). Groupware computer supported cooperative work. In R. Baecker, J. Grudin, W. Buxton, & S. Greenberg (Eds.), Readings in human computer interaction: Towards the year 2000 (pp. 741–754). San Francisco: Morgan Kaufman Publishers, Inc.Google Scholar
  9. Banks, S., & Riley, P. (1993). Structuration theory as an ontology for communication research. In S. Deetz (Ed.), Communication yearbook 16 (pp. 167–196). Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
  10. Bikson, T. (1996). Groupware at the world bank. In C. Ciborra (Ed.), Groupware and teamwork: Invisible aid or technical hindrance? (pp. 145–184). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  11. Bostrom, R., & Anson, R. (1992). The face-to-face electronic meeting: A tutorial. In R. Bostrom, R. Watson, & S. Kinney (Eds.), Computer augmented teamwork: A guided tour (pp. 16–33). New York: Van Nostrand and Rheinhold.Google Scholar
  12. Bostrom, R., Anson, R., & Clawson, V. (1993). Group facilitation and group support systems. In L. M. Jessup & J. S. Valacich (Eds.), Group support systems: New perspectives (pp. 146–168). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  13. Broome, B., & Keever, D. (1989). Next generation group facilitation: Proposed principles. Management Communication Quarterly, 3(1), 107–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Clawson, V., & Bostrom, R. (1996). Research-driven facilitation training for computer-supported environments. Group Decision and Negotiation, 5(1), 7–30.Google Scholar
  15. Clawson, V., Bostrom, R., & Anson, R. (1993). The role of the facilitator in computer-supported meetings. Small Group Research, 24(4), 547–565.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Connelly, T., Jessup, L., & Valacich, J. (1990). Effects of anonymity and evaluative tone on idea generation in computer-mediated groups. Management Science, 36(6), 689–703.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Contractor, N., & Seibold, D. (1993). Theoretical frameworks for the study of structuring processes in group decision support systems: Adaptive structuration theory and self organizing systems theory. Human Communication Research, 19, 528–563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Contractor, N., Seibold, D., & Heller, M. (1996). Interactional influence in the structuring of media use in groups: Influence in member’s perceptions of group decision support system use. Human Communication Research, 22(4), 451–481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Craig, R. (1989). Communication as practical discipline. In B. Dervin, L. Grossberg, B. J. O’Keefe, & E. Wartella (Eds.), Rethinking communication vol. 1, paradigm issues (pp. 97–122). Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
  20. Craig, R., & Tracy, K. (1995). Grounded practical theory: The case of intellectual discussion. Communication Theory, 5(3), 248–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dannelmiller, K., & Jacobs, R. (1992). Changing the way organizations change: A revolution of common sense. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 28(4), 480–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. DeSanctis, G., & Poole, M. S. (1994). Capturing the complexity in advanced technology use: Adaptive Structuration Theory. Organization Science, 5(2), 121–147.Google Scholar
  23. de Vreede, G., & de Bruijn, H. (1999). Exploring the boundaries of successful GSS application: Supporting inter-organizational policy networks. Database, 30(3–4), 111–130.Google Scholar
  24. Dickson, G., Lee-Partridge, J., Limayem, M., & De Sanctis, G. (1996). Facilitating computer-supported meetings: A cumulative analysis in a multiple-criteria task environment. Group Decision and Negotiation, 5(1), 51–72.Google Scholar
  25. Doyle, M., & Straus, D. (1976). How to make meetings work. New York: Jove Books.Google Scholar
  26. Garfinkel, H. (1967). Studies in ethnomethodology. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  27. Goffman, E. (1983). Felicity’s condition. The American Journal of Sociology, 89(1), 1–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Grice, H. (1975). Logic and conversation. In P. Cole & J. Morgan (Eds.), Syntax and semantics, vol. 3: Speech acts. New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  29. Grudin, J. (1994). Groupware and social dynamics: Eight challenges for developers. Communications of the ACM, 37(1), 71–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Heritage, J. (1984). Garfinkel and ethnomethodology. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  31. Jacobs, S., & Aakhus, M. (2002). What mediators do with words: Implementing three models of rational discussion in dispute mediation. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 20(4), 177–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Johansen, R. (1989). Groupware: Computer support for business teams. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  33. Kaner, S., Lind, L., Toldi, C., Fisk, S., & Berger, D. (1996). Facilitator’s guide to participatory decision-making. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers.Google Scholar
  34. Kraemer, K., & King, J. (1988). Computer-based systems for cooperative work and group decision making. ACM Computing Surveys, 20(2), 115–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Leiter, K. (1980). A primer on ethnomethodology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Levinson, S. (1979). Activity types and language. Linguistics, 17, 365–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lyytinen, K., Maaranen, P., & Knuutila, J. (1994). Groups are not always the same: An analysis of group behaviors in electronic meeting systems. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 2, 261–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mateosian, G. (1993). Reproducing rape: Domination through talk in the courtroom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  39. Nader, L. (1990). Harmony ideology: Justice and control in a zapotec mountain villavge. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Ngwenyama, O., Bryson, N., & Moboluren, A. (1996). Supporting facilitation in group support systems: Techniques for analyzing consensus relevant data. Decision Support Systems, 16, 155–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Niederman, F., Biese, C., & Beranek, P. (1996). Issues and concerns about computer-supported meetings: The facilitator’s perspective. MIS Quarterly, 20(1), 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Nunamaker, J., Dennis, A., Valacich, J., Vogel, D., & George, J. (1991). Electronic meetings to support group work. Communications of the ACM, 34(7), 40–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nunamaker, J., Briggs, B., & Mittleman, D. (1994). Electronic meeting systems: Ten years of lessons learned. In D. Coleman & R. Khanna (Eds.), Groupware: Technologies applications (pp. 149–193). Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  44. Orlikowski, W., Yates, J., Okamura, K., & Fujimoto, M. (1995). Shaping electronic communication: The metastructuring of technology in the context of use. Organization Science, 6(4), 423–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pinsonneault, A., & Kraemer, K. (1989). The impact of technical support on groups: An assessment of empirical research. Decision Support Systems, 5(2), 197–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Poole, M., & De Sanctis, G. (1990). Understanding the use of group decision support systems: The theory of adaptive structuration. In J. Fulk & C. Steinfeld (Eds.), Organizations and communication technology. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
  47. Poole, M., & De Sanctis, G. (1992). Microlevel structuration in computer-supported group decision making. Human Communication Research, 19, 5–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Poole, M. S., & Holmes, M. E. (1995). Decision development in computer-assisted group decision making. Human Communication Research, 22, 90–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Poole, M., De Sanctis, G., Kirsch, L., & Jackson, M. (1995). Group decision support systems as facilitators of quality team efforts. In L. Frey (Ed.), Innovations in group facilitation (pp. 299–322). Cresskill: Hampton Press.Google Scholar
  50. Schwarz, R. (1994). The skilled facilitator: Practical wisdom for developing effective groups. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.Google Scholar
  51. Seibold, D., Heller, M. A., & Contractor, N. (1994). Review and critique of empirical research on group decision support systems. In B. Kovacic (Ed.), Organizational communication: New perspectives (pp. 143–168). Albany: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  52. Weatherall, A., & Nunamaker, J. (1995). Introduction to electronic meetings: Informed decisions, better planning, reduced timescales. Hampshire: Electronic Meeting Services Limited.Google Scholar
  53. Weick, K., & Meader, D. (1993). Sensemaking and group support systems. In L. Jessup & J. Valacich (Eds.), Group support systems: New perspectives (pp. 230–251). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  54. Weider, L. (1976). Language and social reality: The case of telling the convict code. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar
  55. Yates, J. (1989). Control through communication: The rise of system in American management. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.Google Scholar
  56. Yates, J., & Orlikowski, W. (1992). Genres of organizational communication: A structurational approach to studying communication and media. The Academy of Management Review, 17, 299–326.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication, School of Communication and Information, RutgersThe State University of New JerseyNew BrunswickUSA

Personalised recommendations