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Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce 7

Editors:Andrew B. Whinston
Publisher:Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Standard No:ISSN 1054-1721
Links:Table of Contents
  1. JOCEC 1997 Volume 7 Issue 1
  2. JOCEC 1997 Volume 7 Issue 2/3
  3. JOCEC 1997 Volume 7 Issue 4

JOCEC 1997 Volume 7 Issue 1

Computer-Supported Meta-Communication Analysis of Meetings BIBAFull-Text 1-15
  Koichi Takeuchi; Haruo Takagi; Morio Nagata
Decision-making in Japanese businesses is based on consensus, and consensus-based decision-making is normally carried out through meetings. At the beginning of these meetings, the communication (meeting) context, that is, what should be discussed and how, is not dear, but as the group discusses the aim or direction of the meeting, the context of the meeting becomes clear. We believe that information systems which support the cooperative work of human beings should be designed first to support communication among people. The key to effective communication at Japanese business meetings in particular is a proper awareness and maintenance of the communication context. We constructed the CHAIRPERSON computer system to help us grasp the dynamic structure of the meeting process. The main idea of our research revolves around classifying utterances at a meeting into metautterances (utterances which indicate context) and object-level utterances (utterances which indicate the content of the discussion itself). We have represented the meeting context using a tree diagram with meta-utterances as the nodes. We suggest an algorithm to bring out this idea. This algorithm requires neither a massive dictionary nor complex natural language processing. We constructed a prototype of the system based on this algorithm. The efficacy of our method was empirically tested by the system. The result shows the effectiveness of our implementation in the analysis of business meetings.
The Link Between Information Strategy and Electronic Commerce BIBAFull-Text 17-34
  Albert L. Lederer; Dinesh A. Mirchandani; Kenneth Sims
The rapid growth of wide area networks in recent years has opened up a new avenue for companies to market products and services and disseminate information about them to potential customers. Two hundred and twelve companies that conduct business in such a way on an electronic shopping mall responded to an e-mail survey about the anticipated benefits that prompted them to do so. The survey also asked about three potential strategies that they may have been following for achieving business objectives: cost leadership, focus, and differentiation. Six benefits factors emerged from this study: information, cost savings, competitiveness, productivity, planning and control, and new applications. Competitiveness was the most important benefit, and it predicted a differentiation and focus strategy. Productivity and new applications also predicted a differentiation strategy. Cost savings predicted a cost leadership strategy. However, organizations followed differentiation and focus strategies significantly more than cost leadership. This assessment thus sheds light on the link between information strategy and electronic commerce.
The Meta Environment: A New Group Support System Structure BIBAFull-Text 35-55
  Munir Mandviwalla; Paul Gray; Lorne Olfman
The greatest success of conventional group support systems (GSS) has been in meetings whose purpose is to extract and record the ideas that participants bring to the meeting. Research supports the usefulness of GSS when complexity is high and groups are large. Conventional GSS almost always require a facilitator or group leader to guide a group through a desired set of tasks. The next natural step beyond conventional GSS is to empower people to use even a broader set of tools in meetings. This article proposes a new GSS structure called the meta environment in which group members bring material into the meeting from their individual workstations, and interact dynamically not only to generate new material, but also to access and analyze existing computer-based information such as spreadsheets and documents. More importantly, a meta environment enables people to work both in synchronism and out of synchronism with the meeting, and adjust to and remember work across meetings. A prototype development project and user testing shows how meta environment components can be built and used. Results from the user testing suggest the need for a new cycle of empirical testing in GSS research to evaluate the effect of the meta environment on existing and new group structures.
Developing Information Systems to Support Flexible Strategy BIBAFull-Text 57-77
  Alan Eardley; David Avison; Philip Powell
The literature on strategic applications of information technology (IT) and strategic information systems (SIS) contains a number of "classic" success cases. These systems are successful in terms of one particular strategy framework, but there is evidence that the demands placed upon SIS are changing. Changes in the business environment and in the rate of development of technology have created a requirement for more flexibility in the strategic process. This must be supported by a "new generation" of SIS that integrate with flexible infrastructures to provide long-term effective support for a flexible business strategy. This article looks at the changing nature of the strategic: process and examines a framework that has potential to assist in these aims. A number of techniques are analyzed to assess their capability for identifying strategic applications of IT. Finally, a way of providing a flexible IS/IT infrastructure relevant to the development of a flexible SIS is discussed.

JOCEC 1997 Volume 7 Issue 2/3

Network Organizations and Information Technology: Introduction to the Special issue on the Network Organizations BIBFull-Text 79-82
  Chee Ching
The State of Network Organization: A Survey in Three Frameworks BIBAFull-Text 83-151
  Marshall van Alstyne
In this article, I seek to define the boundaries and attributes of network organizations, why these structures emerge, and when they are likely to be successful. I review the literature on network organizations and interpret explanations for their behaviors in terms of principles drawn from computer science, economics, and sociology. These 3 disciplines emphasize different attributes, but settle on a number of common themes.
Logistics Coordination in Dyads: Some Theoretical Foundations for EDI-Induced Redesign BIBAFull-Text 153-184
  Haydee S. Sheombar
Organizations are redesigning business processes in order to cope with changing organizational environments. Some of these redesigns are enabled by improved information technology. In this article, the redesign of logistics processes in dyadical partnerships is central. By focusing on the operational coordination between partners in the dyad, elements of a theory of logistics coordination are presented. A definition of coordination is given, the cause of coordination is assessed, and the factors that influence coordination are given. Uncertainty is identified as the core concept that causes and is simultaneously affected by coordination. Two process characteristics, "Degree of Freedom" and "Action Variety," are introduced to examine the potential of electronic data interchange (EDI) to redesign logistics coordination. EDI is perceived as a means that supports and intensifies coordination.
Coordination Cost Evaluation of Network Configurations BIBAFull-Text 185-199
  Alexander Talalayevsky; James C. Hershauer
This article examines organizational coordination structures using transaction cost economics. Coordination cost is modeled as a function of organizational dimensions and information availability within each of 3 structures. The 3 structures analyzed include centralized markets, decentralized markets, and hierarchies. Coordination complexity is formulated in terms of products, processors, levels, span of control, and information filter. Based on messages required to assign a task, the results of the comparison show the regions of dominance for each structure. Network configurations that utilize the appropriate coordination substructure for different levels of information filter quality are discussed.
Capture and Dissemination of Specialized Knowledge in Network Organizations BIBAFull-Text 201-226
  Jesus Favela
I present a model for the capture and retrieval of organizational memory that can help overcome the information dissemination problem faced by network organizations. Network organizations are made of small, heterogeneous, product-oriented teams. In these organizations, the specialization of knowledge that has characterized functional hierarchies can be lost as the functional units in which this expertise was created and shared are dismantled. The preservation and dissemination of expert knowledge thus becomes a major issue to be addressed by these organizations, whose competitive advantage depends on this specialization. The problem of capturing project-related organizational memory is addressed with a 3 step solution: (a) the use of explicit work processes; (b) the development of models capable of representing these processes, the artifacts that are developed, and the rationale used during decision making; and (c) the implementation and deployment of computer tools that support the development processes selected and that, in doing so, record and document the project. I address the problem of accessing information from projects developed elsewhere in the organization and propose a solution based on monitoring the user's manipulation of information and creating hypotheses of his or her information needs. These hypotheses are then used as queries by a fuzzy information retrieval engine that produces a ranked list of documents that are suggested to the user as being relevant to his or her information needs. As the user manipulates these documents, the hypothesis is updated, triggering a new retrieval and the update of the list of suggested documents. The feasibility of the approach is demonstrated with the implementation of a prototype.
OASIS: An Integrative Toolkit for Developing Autonomous Applications in Decentralized Environments BIBAFull-Text 227-251
  Clarene Martens; Carson C. Woo
Organization Activity Support and Information System (OASIS) is a computer-based information system that supports; the construction and deployment of business applications. It is aimed at supporting the following 4 major organizational needs: (a) using data processing, reasoning, and communication in an integrative manner; (b) allowing control over one's own applications; (c) tying together independently developed applications for organizational use; and (d) simplifying certain types of changes or evolution. OASIS accomplishes these needs by viewing organizations as consisting of autonomous units with the capability of interacting with each other and by the integrative use of blackboards and forms. This article describes the OASIS system, presents a small example of its abilities, and describes planned future research.

JOCEC 1997 Volume 7 Issue 4

Environments for Information Systems Implementation in Small Businesses BIBAFull-Text 253-278
  James Y. L. Thong; Chee-Sing Yap; K. S. Raman
Top management support and external information systems (IS) expertise, in the forms of consultants and vendors, have been identified as 2 key factors for effective IS implementation in small businesses. This article proposes a framework for IS implementation in small businesses. The framework is based on high-low combinations of top management support and external IS expertise to characterize 4 IS implementation environments. The framework was tested with a questionnaire survey of 114 small businesses in Singapore. Interviews were also conducted with 67 of these small businesses. IS implementation success was measured by user satisfaction, organizational impact, and overall IS effectiveness. The results show that the most effective IS implementation environment is one in which both top management support and external IS experts work as a team. However, notwithstanding the lack of top management support, IS implementation can still be effective if the quality of external IS expertise is high.
A Media-Attributes and Design-Choices Theory of the Information Technology-Organization Relation BIBAFull-Text 279-303
  John A. A. Sillince
We contend that the 2-way relation between information technology and communication media (chosen according to media attributes) on the one hand and organizational structure and behavior (which involves making design Choices) on the other is made more visible at the level of media attributes, because such an analysis reveals a number of organizational choices. This article suggests that 1 organizational design choice is the development of methods to make electronic media less recordable and indexable, which would lead to media use and information quality higher than they would otherwise have been. Video, audio, and computer technology are bringing about a situation in which the properties of face-to-face and computer-mediated communication are converging, enabling organizations to choose their own degree of "media richness" embedded in the information technology (IT). Although IT has an intimate connection with organizational design, a less acknowledged phenomenon is IT's undermining of it, requiring a different view of the design function and a different definition of managerial tasks, such as supervision. Another instance of the openness of the 1T-organization relation (and hence the large degree of choice open to IT buyers and organization designers) is in the design of interfaces within organizations. Four interface design variables (contextualization, ambiguation, disclaiming, and hedging) are suggested that aim at increasing the freedom and expressiveness of organization members using IT.
An Empirical Investigation Into the Relation Between Performance and Perception of Users With a What-If Facility BIBAFull-Text 305-326
  James R. Marsden; Sathasivam Mathiyalakan
The results of a laboratory study investigating relations between performance and perception are presented. Previous research has indicated that even if a lack of performance advantage exists by construction, decision support systems continue to be popular and are perceived to provide the desired support during decision making. We examined performance-perception relations of users with a what-if facility under conditions where there is a performance-based reward system and system usage costs. Several hypotheses were proposed and tested. We found that no performance advantage was obtained by using a what-if facility. We also found that participants were able to accurately portray the support provided. Implications for organizational managers, system designers, and system users are discussed.