The complexities of computer-supported collaboration

Mark S. Hancock and Sheelagh Carpendale. Technical Report TR-2006-812-05, University of Calgary, 2006.

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We introduce the idea of considering computer supported collaborative work as a complex adaptive system (CAS). In other disciplines, such as physics, biology and ecology, the idea of a CAS has proven useful in explaining a wide variety of phenomena. We define a CAS and then describe how CSCW fits that definition. We demonstrate that the concepts in CAS theory can be applied to help understand computer supported collaboration and provide examples of catastrophe and chaos in physics showing how they can be paralleled in CSCW. The implications of the application of CAS theory to CSCW include greater insight into the computer supported collaborative process and inform both evaluation methodology and design of applications.

Bibtex entry

@TECHREPORT { hancock:2006:complexities,
    AUTHOR = { Mark S. Hancock and Sheelagh Carpendale },
    TITLE = { The complexities of computer-supported collaboration },
    INSTITUTION = { University of Calgary },
    YEAR = { 2006 },
    TYPE = { Technical Report },
    NUMBER = { TR-2006-812-05 },