The paper explores the deployment of a groupware software, Notes, in an organization to understand the changes in work practices and social interaction facilitated by the technology.
The decision to introduce the software was done by the CIO. There was no deployment plan and scarce training. The CIO policy was to get people the software as soon as possible and let users learn how to use it.
The research is based on field work within the company: unstructured interviews, review of documents, observation of meetings, work session and training sessions.
The findings suggest that two organizational elements are particularly important:
Cognitive elements are the mental models or frames of references that individual have about the world, their organization, work, technology and so on.
When confronted with a new technology, individuals try to understand it in
terms of their existing technological frames, often augmenting these frames to accommodate
special aspects of the technology.
How users change their technological frames in response to a new technology is influenced by:
In the study the user received relatively little information about Notes.
Training was limited to the basic functionalities, and similar to that of personal productivity tool. It did not give users a new way of thinking differently about their work in term of groupware. Users received the message that Notes is an incremental rather than a transforming technology.
Structural properties of organizations encompass the reward systems, policies, work practicies,, and norms that shape and are shaped by the everyday action of organizational members.