Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems


Computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) currently arouses plenty of interest. New types of applications have entered the market and new areas of work get computerized support. It is asserted in this paper that these technologies have potential areas of use also in other kinds of environments than what currently is typical. In order to approach the proposition, a conceptual framework is presented: collaboration is interpreted as coordination of organizational tasks. In accordance with the conceptual framework, examples of industrial uses of the CSCW-technologies are sketched. Three simplified classes of these technologies, using the terminology in a broad sense, are employed: electronic mail, hypertext, and calendar systems. It is claimed in this paper that the new uses of CSCW-technologies would, on the one hand, emancipate the industrial users from the environment of conventional applications and, on the other hand, emancipate the CSCW-technologies themselves from the restricted territory of office uses. The introduction of· new types of technologies in work organizations is, however, not considered unproblematic. The application environment may develop into a complex one, and the benefits of the new technologies may become questionable. Such consequences and other implications of the broadened CSCW-domain are also discussed. Especially user support and organizational concerns are focused on.