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​Using the domain of crisis management, Christian Reuter explores challenges and opportunities for technology design in emergent environments. He therefore empirically analyzes collaborative work in inter-organizational crisis – such as the police, fire departments, energy network operators and citizens – in order to identify collaboration practices that reveal work infrastructure limitations. He also designs, implements and evaluates novel concepts and ICT artifacts towards the support of emergent collaboration. Besides the discovery of potential organizational effects on the ability to deal with emergence he presents methodological implications for technology design.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Foundations

Frontmatter

1. Introduction

Abstract
Advances in ICT and collaborative software over the last decades have made it possible to technically support collaboration beyond spatial, temporal and organizational boundaries. This kind of work will become more and more important for organizations, businesses and individuals in an increasingly networked world (Grudin, 2010; Moog & Werner, 2013).
Christian Reuter

2. Related Work

Abstract
Collaboration infrastructures dealing with the concept of emergence face many challenges. The latter term was introduced by the philosopher George Henry Lewes (1875), who wrote:
  • “Every resultant is either a sum or a difference of the co-operant forces […]. It is otherwise with emergent. […] The emergent is unlike its components insofar as these are incommensurable, and it cannot be reduced to their sum or their difference.”
    This definition emphasizes the nature of emergent structures which, in their nature, not allow for accurate or even adequate calculation or prediction.
Christian Reuter

3. Research Design

Abstract
My dissertation researches emergent collaboration infrastructures. Therefore, the aim is to provide a detailed perspective on collaboration practices and work infrastructures as well as to design ICT for (inter-)organizational crisis management. This work follows, as stated above, the infrastructuring approach (Pipek & Wulf, 2009) to IT development, a perspective on organizational ICT as work infrastructure (chapter 2.5).
Christian Reuter

Selected Findings

Frontmatter

4. Crisis 2.0: Towards a Systematization of Social Software Use (IJISCRAM)

Abstract
In this paper, we propose a systematization of social software use in crisis situations, examining different types of cooperation and challenges. We discuss how the organizational actors involved in crisis management (police, fire-fighters, organizations, etc.) and the affected citizens are communicating and can communicate and collaborate through the use of social software.
Christian Reuter

5. Empirical Perspective on Inter-Organizational Improvisation Work (CHI)

Abstract
Improvisation is necessary when planned decision-making as the main managerial activity does not fit the conditions the practice provides. In these cases, information technology should not just automate planned and structured decisions, but support improvisational practice. In this contribution we present an empirical study about the improvisation work in scenarios of medium to large power outages in Germany. Our focus is on inter-organizational cooperation practices, thus we examined the cooperation of fire departments, police, public administration, electricity infrastructure operators and citizens. Our empirical material allows describing reasons and conditions for improvisation. Our resulting recommendations address the support of aggregation and visualization of information, a necessary individualization of information compositions, options for collaborative situation assessment, requirements for informal and formal communication, and accessibility of information resources.
Christian Reuter

6. Composing Collaborative Information Quality (IJEV)

Abstract
Collaborative software supports teams involved in a common task in generating and sharing information over geographic distances. Such software is used in the cooperation between organizations, companies or individuals. The overall quality of the resulting information product depends on the quality of the individual contributions as well as on an underlying consolidation process. We therefore present different composition functions indicating how the qualities of the contributions by single actors (qi) influence the quality of the aggregated information product (Q). Based upon a qualitative empirical study of inter-organizational crisis management in Germany we match use cases with those composition functions and derive implications for the design of collaborative software.
Christian Reuter

7. Scenario A: Information and Expertise Sharing in Situation Assessment (JCSCW)

Abstract
Emergency or crisis management, as is well-attested, is a complex management problem. A variety of agencies need to collaborate and coordinate in real-time and with an urgency that is not always present in other domains. It follows that accurate information of varying kinds (e.g. geographical and weather conditions; available skills and expertises; state-of-play; current dispositions and deployments) needs to be made available in a timely fashion to the organizations and individuals who need it. By definition, this information will come from a number of sources both within and across organizations.
Christian Reuter

8. Scenario B: Ad Hoc Participation in Mobile Collaboration (TOCHI)

Abstract
Emergencies are characterized by high complexity and unpredictability. In order to assess and manage them successfully, improvisation work and informal communication, even beyond local and organizational boundaries, is needed. Such informal practices can facilitate ad hoc participation of units in situation assessment, but this may lack overall situation awareness. This paper presents a study on how emergent ‘collaboration needs’ in current work of response teams, who are located on-site and in the control center, could be supported by mobile geo-collaboration systems. First, we present the results of an empirical study about informal work and mobile collaboration practices of emergency services. Then we describe the concept of a mobile geo-collaboration system that addresses the aspects detected in the empirical study and that was implemented as an Android application using web sockets, a technology enabling full-duplex ad hoc communication. Finally we outline the findings of its evaluation in practice and its implications.
Christian Reuter

9. Scenario C: Articulation Work in Mobile Reporting (ECSCW)

Abstract
Decisions of emergency response organizations (police, fire fighters, infrastructure providers, etc.) rely on accurate and timely information. Some necessary information is integrated into control center’s IT (weather, availability of electricity, gauge information, etc.), but almost every decision needs to be based on very specific information of the current crisis situation. Due to the unpredictable nature of a crisis, gathering this kind of information requires much improvisation and articulation work which we aim to support. We present a study on how different emergency response organizations communicate with teams on-site to generate necessary information for the coordinating instances, and we described, implemented and evaluated an interaction concept as well as a prototype to support this communication by a semistructured request-and-report system based on Android devices. We learned that (1) the accuracy of request and reports can be improved by using an appropriate metadata structure in addition to creating multimedia-based information content, (2) requirements of trusted and fast information need to be respected in support concepts although they may even be contradictory, and (3) the coordination strategy of the emergency response organization also shapes the way this interaction needs to be designed.
Christian Reuter

10. Perspective: Integrating Real and Virtual Emergent Volunteers (ISCRAM/WI)

Abstract
Recent studies have called attention to the improvement of collaborative resilience by fostering the collaboration potentials of public and private stakeholders during disasters. With our research we consider real and virtual volunteers in order to detect conditions for cooperation among those citizen groups through social media. Therefore we analyzed the usage of Twitter during a tornado crisis to look for role patterns and aspects that helped volunteer groups in the virtual to emerge, and matched the data with an interview study on experiences, attitudes, concerns and potentials professional emergency services recounted in the emergence of volunteer groups in the real. While virtual groups seem to easily form and collaborate, the engagement of real volunteers is decreasing according to the perception of professionals. We discuss the dynamics in both tendencies and suggest design implications (use of existing social networks, promotion and awareness, connection among volunteers, connection to emergency services and systems) to support both types of volunteer groups, which lead to a software prototype.
Christian Reuter

Analysis

Frontmatter

11. Empirical Results

Abstract
The empirical study illustrated emergent collaboration practices in crisis management. This chapter summarizes the findings in both official and actual work processes as the first phase of a design case study in order to reveal work infrastructure limitations and to be able to derive recommendations for the concepts and artifacts, which contribute to the improvement of emergent collaboration infrastructures.
Christian Reuter

12. Concepts and Artifacts

Abstract
The aim of the concept development and technical implementations of ICT artifacts is to provide infrastructural support for emergent collaboration. The empirical studies outlined different emergent collaboration practices that reveal work infrastructure limitations. No systems that structure and formalize procedures are therefore needed, but rather self-organized collaboration systems need to be supported, in accordance with the aim of CSCW to support “selforganization of cooperative ensembles as opposed to disrupt cooperative work by computerizing formal procedures” (Schmidt & Bannon, 1992). This chapter describes the key challenges and designed components as the second phase of the design case studies with a focus on emergent collaboration as the object of study in this dissertation.
Christian Reuter

13. Evaluation

Abstract
The concepts and ICT artifacts SiRena, ISAC, MoCo and MoRep described in the previous chapter have been evaluated following the methodology described in chapter 3.3.3 and according to the aim of measuring potential organizational effects of such collaboration infrastructures on the ability to deal with emergence. Our initial empirical work explored points of infrastructure, related to both collaboration and emergence. This chapter addresses these initial points in order to evaluate the usefulness of our artifacts. This constitutes the third phase of the design case studies structure in the following three scenarios: information aggregation and visualization (scenario A), ad hoc participation in mobile collaboration (scenario B) and mobile reporting and articulation (scenario C).
Christian Reuter

14. Towards Emergent Collaboration Infrastructures

Abstract
To contribute to the research on emergent collaboration infrastructures, collaboration practices have been empirically researched in order to design, implement and evaluate ICT artifacts. This chapter answers the research questions posed in chapter 1.2. While studies in the field of inter-organizational crisis management provide the answer to the first three questions, the answer to the fourth question provides general conclusions applicable to other domains:
1.
Where do emergent collaboration practices reveal work infrastructure limitations?
 
Christian Reuter

15. Summary

Abstract
This PhD dissertation has researched technology design for emergent collaboration infrastructures. It contributes practically to the research on how ICT can support interorganizational cooperation practices in emergent contexts using the example of crisis management. The results represent contributions to the fields of CSCW, HCI and IS at four interrelated levels. The thesis (1) provides insights into emergent work practices; (2) presents novel concepts and ICT artifacts to support these practices; (3) evaluates the designed artifacts in order to capture their effects and (4) presents methodological implications for technology design towards emergent collaboration infrastructures in inter-organizational settings.
Christian Reuter

Backmatter

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