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Über dieses Buch

This book reports research conducted in the ESPRIT project PECOS, which investigated the requirements for effective CSCW (Computer Supported Cooperative Work) with special reference to cooperation among organisations in large projects. It indicates commercial areas where CSCW technology can be applied, and examines such methodological issues as enterprise modelling, system architecture, and the incorporation of artificial intelligence techniques. PECOS studied two practical contexts. The first was the management of a complex industrial project, the construction of a high-speed train for the Italian railway, which required cooperation among four private companies. The second was the design of an information system for water management in the Lombardy region, which required cooperation among several different branches of public administration.fhese contexts were analysed, applying techniques of enterprise modelling, in order to identify requirements for CSCW systems. The composition of the book is as follows. Chapter 1 presents some highlights of the vast literature on cooperation, including results from psycholOgy, sociology, management science, linguistics, and artificial intelligence. Chapter 2 reviews the much shorter history of CSCW, with reference to a catalogue of existing systems given in an appendix at the end of the book. The next four chapters contain our original findings.



1. Cooperative work in organizations

If we want to achieve effective CSCW, we must understand how people work together in organizations. The understanding required is both general and specific: at a general level, we must be aware of any principles that apply widely across different contexts of cooperative work; at a specific level, we need a set of concepts and procedures for analysing particular contexts.
Boudewijn D’Hauwers, Veerle Van Hyfte, Fernand Vandamme, Richard Power

2. Computer Supported Cooperative Work

The concept of computer supported cooperative work (CSCW) was pioneered by Engelbart, who demonstrated as early as 1968 a prototype called NLS/Augment. Developed at the Stanford Research Institute during the period 1963-76, this system allowed office workers to communicate either by exchanging documents or by interacting in real time through a shared window. Part of the philosophy behind NLS/Augment was that interaction with computers should be made as simple and natural as possible: to this end Engelbart introduced such features as windows, mixed text and graphics, pop-up menus, and the mouse.
Richard Power, Lorella Carminati

3. The case studies

FIAT EMMEPI provides consultancy in project management. From the projects recently undertaken by the company, we selected as most relevant the construction of the ETR 500 high-speed train for the Italian railway.
Paolo Amadio, Ilario Fassina

4. Modelling the case studies

The current state of the art in representing organisations emphasises that division of labour is a common denominator of all organisations. The “primary tasks” (Rice 1958) of enterprises are divided into smaller, more manageable tasks. The sub-tasks and their relationships give rise to information needs and information flows, and it is these features which define functionality requirements. Consequently, traditional systems analysis techniques concentrate upon capturing these aspects of organisational life. Division of labour is not, however, only concerned with the division of tasks. This division also produces differential responsibilities. The division of responsibilities produces different work roles which staff occupy. Each work role defines the responsibilities laid upon the role holder, the relationships with related roles, and the expectations imposed by related roles. The work role not only defines the task responsibilities, and therefore the functional requirements, but also the rights and obligations of the role-holder, which helps to define many, if not all, of the so-called non-functional requirements. It is this additional incorporation of a work role analysis which is currently lacking, and which the enterprise modelling approach provides.
Mike Martin, Graeme Oswald

5. Intelligent computer support

The design of a computer support environment for cooperation must be based on the set of agreed organization procedures defined in a previous conceptual modelling phase (chapter 4).
José Cuena, Ana García-Serrano

6. Architectural framework for CSCW

Although CSCW is a young research field, a multiplicity of paradigms, models, tools and applications already exist. Within their domains these have proved useful. However, comprehensive user support requires a pluralistic approach with the integration of different applications and current technologies. Since previous systems have been designed to support particular areas of functionality they usually lack integration.
Encarna Pastor, Jonny Jager

7. A methodology for CSCW

In this final chapter we summarize our conclusions, first about the commercial significance of CSCW for organizations, and second about the methods by which effective CSCW products will be developed.
Richard Power, Mike Martin


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