CPSC 689/602--Spring 1997
Computer-Supported Cooperative Work

Paper Report

Title: Cooperative Support For Computer Work : A Social Perspective On The Empowering Of End Users
Authors: Andrew Clement
Citation: 1990 ACM 089791-402-3/90/0010/0236
Reprinted in: Baecker, R.M., Readings in Groupware and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 1993, pp. 315-328

This paper explores the question of empowerment through computerisation by looking at the common problems of computer use in the context of office work group and discusses the cooperative support which is gained among the employees during the act of computer work and new computer technology being introduced.

Even though the hype of desktop computing being user friendly and easy to use is all reduced to the fact of being complicated because it requires extensive training. Power is generally not a personal matter but it depends a lot on the organizational aspect too.

Transforming a given computing facility into an effective tool for action and realizing some of its empowering potential typically involves users in a prolonged process of learning and adaptation.

Those who develop CSCW applications recognizing that the people work in groups concentrate almost exclusively on supporting well defined tasks or general communications while ignoring the informal facilitation of the basic meta-task of simply learning to use and adapt the technology.

There was a project which was implemented to find the problems involved the microcomputers and it gave three ways in which it was influential : it gave a specific focus for union demands regarding training, it enabled the bargaining committee to articulate the necessary resources and it gave the proposal credibility in the eyes of the management.

In conclusion we can say that the groups developed local collaborative networks and collectively drove the establishment of their own computing programming training. Hence those seeking to empower users through the interaction with computers should recognize and facilitate these forms of cooperative support for computer work.

Report prepared by: Kushal M Agrawal Email: kushala@cs.tamu.edu
Discussion date: February 14, 1997            Report date: February 17,1997