CPSC 689/602--Spring 1997
Computer-Supported Cooperative Work
Title :What is Coordination Theory and How can It Help Design
Cooperative Work Systems?
Authors :Thomas W. Malone and Kevin Crowston
Citation : CSCW 90 Proceedings
Reprinted in :Groupware and Computer Supported Cooperative Work by
Ronald M. Baecker
This paper talks about how coordination theory can help in the designing of
Cooperative Work Systems. Coordination is the act of working together
Coordination theory deals with how overall goals can be subdivided
into actions. These actions have to be assigned to groups or to individual
actors. Resources that are available for performing of an activity also has
to be divided and coordination theory also deals with the division of these
resources among the group workers.
There are various components of coordination. They are activities, Actors
and Interdependencies. The activities are required to be done to achieve
the goals that are set up for the organization. The Actors are the members
of the workforce.
There are various kinds of interdependencies. These may be the interdependencies
between groups or between the various activities that are carried out. Coordination
is also the act of managing interdependencies between activities performed
to achieve a goal. The different kinds of interdependencies are prerequisite,
shared resource and simultaneity.
Prerequisites are those where the outputs of one activity become the input of
another activity. Resources have to be shared between groups and this may arise
when there are activities running simultaneously which require shared resources.
The different processes underlying coordination are Group Decision making,
communication and perception of common objects. The group decision making
is a very important feature of coordination in that it is the basis of
coordination. Communication is necessary between the group workers.
One point that the coordination theory does not take into consideration is
how exactly conflicts of interest would affect decision making and communication.
Report prepared by :Shiva Bhanujan, Email :firstname.lastname@example.org