CPSC 689/602--Spring 1997
Computer-Supported Cooperative Work
Title: Electronic Groups at Work
Authors: Tom Finholt and Lee S. Sproull
Citation: Organization Science, Vol. 1, No. 1. 1990
Reprinted in: Baecker, R.M, Readings in Groupware and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, San Francisco, 1993 , pp.431-442
Groups and group behavior are consequential for organizational performance
and for individual group members. New computer-based technology may affect
groups and group behavior in organizations.
Social groups in organizations benefit their members by providing
information resources, emotional resources, and identity support.
Social groups benefit the organization by coordinating individual
participation, organizing productive work, and providing a mechanism for
Previous research on social groups in organizations has emphasized three
classes of variables relevant to communication:
The focus of this article is on group communication. In many systems,
a list of people's names and computer addresses, sometimes called a
distribution list (DL), is given a name. The research is to analyze data from
all respondents in the sample survey to characterize their DL mail
- Group attributes: including physical setting, member characteristics, and
- Group Processes : including interaction, influence attempts, and
- Organizational consequences.
Some notion of formal and informal groups as membership distinction has an
analogy in electronic DLs. Electronic group membership may be either
required or discretionary.
Questions discussed in class:
- What is the nature and scope of Distribution List activity within the
- Do Distribution Lists exhibit the fundamental social group processes of
interaction, influence attempts, and identity maintenance?
- The culture and its influences on groups behaviors.
- The different roles between several other electronic communication medium,
such as Mailing Lists, BBS, newsgroup, etc.
- The different reply rates and responses from required/discretionary groups.
Report prepared by: Haowei Hsieh, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Discussion date: 02/24/97
Report date: 02/26/97