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Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce 9

Editors:Andrew B. Whinston
Publisher:Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Standard No:ISSN 1054-1721
Links:Table of Contents
  1. JOCEC 1999 Volume 9 Issue 1
  2. JOCEC 1999 Volume 9 Issue 2/3
  3. JOCEC 1999 Volume 9 Issue 4

JOCEC 1999 Volume 9 Issue 1

Information Infrastructure for Enterprise Coordination and Integration: Introduction to the Special Issue BIBFull-Text 1-5
  Ruth C. King; Michael J. Shaw
Multiagent Enterprise Modeling BIBAFull-Text 7-32
  Fu-Ren Lin; Gek Woo Tan; Michael J. Shaw
In this article, we study the dynamics of business processes and interactions between business units in an enterprise, and to this end, we developed a framework for enterprise modeling using the process hierarchy approach. We developed and implemented a multiagent information system (MAIS) for the supply chain network for capturing both the structure and the processes of an enterprise. The MAIS is implemented on the Swarm simulation platform and models the order fulfillment process (OFP) as one of the core tasks of supply chain networks. In addition to modeling the interactions in the OFP, the MAIS is also used as a simulation testbed to experiment with different strategies to improve the performance of the OFP.
Modeling and Simulating Coordination in Projects BIBAFull-Text 33-56
  Lars Chr. Christensen; Tore R. Christiansen; Yan Jin; John Kunz; Raymond E. Levitt
A main challenge in managing projects is identification and understanding of interactions between subtasks. These interactions give rise to dependencies between activities in the project plan. The resulting interdependence between members of the project team requires them to coordinate extensively during project execution. Project managers need a systematic methodology for describing and analyzing coordination requirements on project teams. This need is not met in traditional tools for project planning and scheduling. In this article, we describe an object-oriented framework for modeling projects and a methodology for formalizing these models such that they can be used for discrete event simulation of information processing and coordination in project execution. Our modeling framework represents projects in terms of objective (requirements), product (solution deliverables), process (activities), and organization (participants and relations). We then use matrix techniques to explicate the constraints between project requirements and deliverables (complexity), the contingencies in information flow between activities (uncertainty), and the resulting coordination requirements between project team members. The model and coordination measures can be used as input for simulation of project execution and give predictions for the probable effects of carrying out proposed changes in planning and managing projects. To illustrate how enterprise modeling and analysis can inform project planing and execution, we apply our framework and methodology to model and simulate a simplified project for development of hydraulic systems. Our simulation results demonstrate how project performance is contingent on the fit between the project policies and the objectives and preferences of the project team.
A Goal-Based Workflow System for Multiagent Task Coordination BIBAFull-Text 57-82
  Dirk E. Mahling; Ruth C. King
Supporting teams, groups, and whole organizations in routine and exceptional tasks has been a long-standing goal of information systems. Currently, workflow systems tackle this problem anew. To put the current efforts into perspective and show how we can benefit from earlier office automation research, a goal-based workflow system is presented. This system, PolyFlow, is the most recent addition to the POLYMER line of task support research. PolyFlow takes advantage of diverse communication technologies, advanced user interfaces, and distributed systems technologies. In the context of PolyFlow, this article traces the theme of goal-based task support, starting with an office information system, Procedure Oriented Interface for Supportive Environments (POISE), which over years of research developed into an intelligent task support system, POLYMER. POLYMER contained extensions for project management, knowledge acquisition, distributed artificial intelligence, and exception handling. In this article, we trace the conceptual evaluation of those systems and their affinity to current problems in group-centered workflow systems.
Establishing a Corporate Presence on the Internet in Singapore BIBAFull-Text 83-99
  Robert W. Blanning
Early in 1995, the government of Singapore began to encourage companies to make more productive use of the Internet. Although the Internet had been widely used by researchers and academics before that time, only a few commercial organizations had explored its potential. Because of this government initiative, along with Singapore's excellent information infrastructure, companies began to use the Internet, and especially the World Wide Web, to establish a corporate presence. In this article, I examine what these companies did, the results they encountered, and their strategies for establishing a corporate presence.

JOCEC 1999 Volume 9 Issue 2/3

Introduction to the Special issue on Organizational Memory Systems BIBFull-Text 101-103
  Lorne Olfman
Memory in the Small: Combining Collective Memory and Task Support for a Scientific Community BIBAFull-Text 105-127
  Mark S. Ackerman; Eric Mandel
Many forms of memory exist embedded within the processes and tasks of an organization or community. Memory in the small, or memory utilized in the performance of an institutionally important task, serves as an effective task support mechanism. By basing memory on tasks (and basing task support on memory), memory systems can provide additional and necessary support services for organizations and communities. As an example of memory in the small, in this article we describe a software system, called the ASSIST, that combines memory with task performance for a scientific community. The ASSIST utilizes and stores the collective memory of astrophysicists about data analysis, and is used worldwide by astrophysicists. In this article, we also consider the architectural and theoretical issues involved when combining memory with task performance.
Relationship Between Organizational Form and Organizational Memory: An Investigation in a Professional Service Organization BIBAFull-Text 129-150
  Helena Karsten
The goal of this research is to study the relation between organizational form (OF) and organizational memory (OM). It examines what kind of roles OM plays in different OFs--that is, how OM is used in organizational action--and whether changes in a firm's organizational form relate to changes in the role of OM. These relationships are examined in the context of how information technology (IT) is used to support organizational remembering. The study outlines different manifestations of OM in 1 company as it underwent major organizational transformations during a 3-year period. The manifestations are grouped into "bins," expanding the storage structure concept by Walsh and Ungson to include OM contents and processes of use. The bins are supplemented with an additional bin, the organizational information space, to address the collaborative aspect of OM. Another new construct, the organizational memory profile, is introduced to summarize the combination of OM manifestations in a particular organization at a particular time. The OM profiles are outlined for the case company and they show marked differences between OFs. This upholds the claim that different OFs present different kinds of arenas for OM. IT support for various bins is analyzed and a variety of IT support is recognized. This upholds the view that several OM support systems are needed and that IT can play a significant role in making past events more accessible.
Providing for Organizational Memory in Computer-Supported Meetings BIBAFull-Text 151-169
  Gerhard Schwabe
Meeting memory features are poorly integrated into current group support systems (GSS). In this article, I discuss how to introduce meeting memory functionality into a GSS. The article first introduces the benefits of effective meetings and organizational memory to an organization. Then, the following challenges to design are discussed: How to store semantically rich output, how to build up the meeting memory with a minimum of additional effort, how to integrate meeting memory into organizational memory, and how to protect the privacy of the meeting participants. Finally, using the group-object object-oriented model of a GSS, the article shows how meeting memory functionality can be implemented in a GSS.
Supporting the Evolution of Teams With Transactions: A Design Architecture for Organizational Memory Systems BIBAFull-Text 171-187
  Munir Mandviwalla; Peter Grillo
In this article, we present a general-purpose architecture and design metaphor for supporting the evolution of teams. The architecture is based on the premise that the role of organizational memory involves active support for accessing the relations and content of past, present, and future information-based artifacts of collaborative work. The evolutionary work support role and structure of memory are outlined and contrasted with existing research. A set of design requirements for supporting memory are presented and the concept of a collaborative transaction is introduced. The collaborative transaction concept is the basis for the TeamBox architecture and prototype, which shows that it is possible to generically support the evolutionary needs of collaborative work. The article ends with a discussion of limitations and future research issues.
A Framework for a Dynamic Organizational Memory Information System BIBAFull-Text 189-203
  Henry Linger; Frada Burstein; Arkady Zaslavsky; Nick Crofts
Organizational memory information systems (OMIS) implement important aspects of organizational memory with the aim of enhancing organizational effectiveness. We propose a 3-layered framework for a dynamic OMIS. The framework consists of a pragmatic layer to support the actual activity, a conceptual layer to store the concepts inherent in that activity, and a process layer to store the experience of performing that activity. Both the conceptual and process layers represent organizational memory repositories in the form of respective models. The implementation of OMIS assumes that any activity is the instantiation of relevant conceptual and process models and includes the reuse of knowledge stored in association with those models. In this way, organizational memory is always mapped to current activity, and its adequacy is constantly evaluated. This provides the potential for the models to evolve as a direct result of the current activity. A partial implementation of this framework to support epidemiological research is illustrated.
Dual Information Systems: Supporting Organizational Working and Learning by Making Organizational Memory Transparent BIBAFull-Text 205-232
  Timo K. Kakola; Kalle I. Koota
The conceptual design of most computer-based information systems reflects a dualism of technology. During the development phase, part of the work-domain-related knowledge is formalized and encoded in the software, making it difficult for users to reflect on and use this knowledge. This design--use dualism contributes to the deterioration of the interpretive flexibility of information systems. In this article, we outline an information systems architecture called Dual Information Systems (DIS) that incorporates the concepts of an organizational memory information system (OMIS) in a broader framework. DIS help bridge the design--use dualism by providing organizations with a set of services that enable and reinforce both effective, institutionalized working and the questioning and (re)construction of computer-supported work routines. DIS have a 4-layered conceptual structure: (a) people draw on the business layer to work and learn; (b) people use the breakdown layer to handle unexpected break-downs; (c) self-organizing project teams use the project layer to create innovative work and information system (re)designs; and (d) the knowledge sharing server acts as an OMIS by storing these redesigns and making them organizationally available to facilitate working and learning as well as subsequent redesign efforts. We outline the theoretical background, conceptual structure, and generic services of DIS. We elaborate on the services and the conceptual design of the business and breakdown layers of DIS. The services help people work effectively and develop competence needed to handle breakdowns and participate in the redesign project teams. The conceptual design extends the hyperknowledge framework of Chang et al [1]. Finally, we demonstrate the conceptual design and services in a financial services organization with the help of the ReDIS prototype.

JOCEC 1999 Volume 9 Issue 4

A Conceptual Model of an Intelligent Meeting-Scheduler BIBAFull-Text 233-251
  Chanan Glezer; Surya B. Yadav
This research proposes a conceptual model for an intelligent meeting-scheduler (IMS) [1, 2] that is capable of assisting organizations in the scheduling of meetings. The IMS is an integrated software system. It combines scheduling tools and organizational knowledge to support various activities within the scheduling process, such as meeting-content planning and group composition. Our model is based on the notion of software agents [3] and consists of the following functional agents: communication manager, scheduling manager, and calendar manager. These agents are coordinated by a control manager and work in cooperation to assist a host and invitees in negotiating an acceptable time slot during a scheduling session. We also describe the knowledge architecture of the IMS, which consists of a set of knowledge-base agents supporting the above functional agents.
   We developed a prototype to explore the feasibility of the conceptual model. The prototype was used in 2 real-life case scenarios, and a simple questionnaire was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the model. Our architecture was found to be useful and innovative by the users; however, they raised concerns about several issues, such as calendar maintenance and privacy.
   Future integration of our model into real business organizations will need to address these concerns. In addition, evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of the model in such organizations is expected to be a major challenge.
Organizational and Interorganizational Determinants of EDI Diffusion and Organizational Performance: A Causal Model BIBAFull-Text 253-285
  K. Ramamurthy; G. Premkumar; Michael R. Crum
Electronic data interchange (EDI), a specific form of interorganizational systems, has the potential to significantly influence business operations and the exchange of business documents in a number of industries and to provide substantive tangible and intangible benefits to the participating firms. However, successful implementation and diffusion of these systems innovations requires the cooperation and commitment of all participating member firms. A number of interorganizational as well as internal, organization-specific factors can influence both the extent to which EDI is diffused and used and the level of subsequent benefits that accrue to the firms.
   Research from sociopolitical process framework in marketing, organizational theory, innovation theory, use of information technology for competitive advantage, and information systems (IS) implementation was used to identify 3 interorganizational variables (customer support, customer expertise, competitive pressure) and 4 organizational variables (internal support, EDI's benefits potential, EDI compatibility, resource intensity). In this study, we develop a multidimensional measure for EDI diffusion to capture both external integration and internal integration. We then examine the influence of these 7 variables on the extent to which EDI adopter firms pursue diffusion and whether more diffusion leads to superior organizational-level outcomes.
   Two senior executives (the chief executive officer and a senior manager responsible for the IS function or EDI) from 83 firms in the motor carrier industry participated in a field survey. The results from a structural equation model (SEM), developed using LISREL, provide quite a strong support for the hypothesized relations. All 4 organizational variables and 2 of the 3 interorganizational variables (customer support and competitive pressure) influence EDI diffusion. The results also indicate that external integration dimension of diffusion enables adopter firms to achieve improved operational and market-oriented performance, whereas internal integration contributes only to operational performance.
Using Stakeholders, Domain Knowledge, and Responsibilities to Specify Information Systems' Requirements BIBAFull-Text 287-296
  Andrew Blyth
The most crucial aspect of information systems (IS) engineering is the gathering and validating of requirements. Requirements can be seen as coming from 1 of 2 domains: the technical and the social. Consequently, 1 of the questions currently facing IS engineering is: How do you capture and validate requirements from the social domain? In an attempt to answer this question, researchers have started to examine the role that stakeholders and domain knowledge play in IS development. The belief is that the best source of requirements is domain knowledge, and the best source of domain knowledge is stakeholders. Current requirements engineering methods, which are being used in industry, are failing to adequately identify stakeholders and their associated requirements. In an attempt to address this issue, the responsibility modeling technique developed in this article focuses on the specification of requirements and domain knowledge through the identification of stakeholders and the specification of the roles they play and the actions they perform within an organization.
A Framework for Identifying Web-Based Electronic Commerce Opportunities BIBAFull-Text 297-310
  Frederick J. Riggins
Companies are finding that the development of World Wide Web presence sites is becoming a competitive necessity, particularly the need to establish online storefronts. Even so, there are few useful frameworks in the electronic commerce (EC) literature to help managers identify online opportunities and what types of applications can add business value to the user. I expand on an existing framework originally developed by Hammer and Mangurian [1] to identify opportunities from Web-based EC applications. I argue that firms compete along 5 dimensions of commerce: By using various modes of interaction, firms compete over both time and distance to provide some product or service to their customers through a chain of relations. In addition, new investments in information technology are typically justified using 3 different criteria-generating efficiency, effectiveness, and/or strategic benefits. These 2 perspectives can be combined to create the Electronic Commerce Value Grid, which identifies 15 areas in which managers can use Web-based electronic storefronts to add value for their customers.