In today's modern world, computer supported cooperative work (CSCW) and computer mediated communication (CMC) are central and most crucial in the activities of organizations and in their success in achieving their goals and purposes. Organizations are established to achieve goals that one person cannot accomplish alone, and the knowledge that is collected by individuals should be reserved for the general use of the organizational community. Now, organizational workers need more than ever to share the knowledge they each gather, and they are involved in joint activities that need the support of information systems. Communication between individuals is at large extent in the form of computer mediated cooperation, and computerized applications ascribed as groupware (group support systems) include shared environments, whiteboards, electronic group calendars, chat rooms and more. Groupware systems support groups of people that work together by facilitating communication between them and by improving coordination. The overall success of organizations is certainly dependent on computer mediated communications that need to be designed to achieve a high level of mutual understanding and minimal occurrences of communication breakdowns. Perhaps the most widespread mode of CMC at work is email. Organizational workers are engaged in this asynchronous communication on a daily basis, having multiple contacts and the ability to preserve exchanged messages in an archive for future use.
This study examines the possible ways to enhance CMC among users exchanging email messages in a company named Artigiani that specializes in manufacturing handles, hooks, hangers, and bathroom accessories. We closely Artigiani, and conducted content analysis of email messages. We were particularly interested in the exchanging of messages between customer service representatives (CSRs) and their customers which are professional workers such as carpenters, contractors, architects, interior designers and personal customers. CSRs in Artigiani are in great pressure to respond quickly to emails, and they feel stressed by the high volume of incoming messages, and by the fact that they tend to lose important items when they need them (such as previous messages exchanged, and items that they wish to attach to new messages). In addition, we identified communication breakdowns and misunderstanding that mainly result from differences in knowledge and perspectives of communicators.
We follow previous work in CMC that stress the need for reinventing the email client, and put our focus on a communicational strategy called contextualization, which is the activity of providing the explicit addition of contextual information to a core message to ensure effective communication. We present a prototype for an email user interface that puts contextualization as a central component for enhancing effective CMC and for effectively managing and controlling organizational activities, especially the ongoing management of product ordering, and related decision making. examined communication in
Katz, Adi and Berman, Irit, "ENHANCING COMPUTER MEDIATED COMMUNICATION BY DESIGNING AN EMAIL PROTOTYPE: A CASE STUDY" (2010). MCIS 2010 Proceedings. 47.