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Viewing Text-Based Group Support Systems

Viewing Text-Based Group Support Systems
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Author(s): Esther E. Esther E. Klein (Hofstra University, USA) and Paul J. Herskovitz (College of Staten Island, CUNY, USA)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 6
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch634

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Abstract

With interdisciplinary approaches leading to new and enriched perspectives, we argue that an encounter between information technology (IT) and sociology will result in a heightened understanding of the problem of textual ambiguity in text-based computer-mediated communication (CMC)1 in general and in group support systems (GSS) in particular. Such approaches where IT meets sociology have already been taking place in other areas of group research (e.g., see Ahuja & Carley, 1998). “[W]ith the global and technological transformations of the workplace” (Aakhus, 2001, p. 341), as IT and the Internet gain wide acceptance throughout society as well as the global economy (e.g., see Friedman, 2000) and as CMC and computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) become commonplace, both information systems (IS) scholars and sociologists have increasingly studied the patterns of human behavior in virtual groups. This article2 is an attempt to advance that effort. Specifically, the purpose of this article is to apply the insights of Georg Simmel—an early and oft-neglected German theorist of sociology working in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—on written communication to text-based GSS, which are interactive computer-based information systems that support and structure group interaction and intellectual teamwork (see also Ackermann & Eden, 1994; Fjermestad, J., 2004; Klein, 2000; Klein & Dologite, 2000; Nunamaker, 1997; Poole & DeSanctis, 1990; Zigurs & Buckland, 1998), “promot[ing] communication, collaboration and coordination among teams of people” (Ahalt, 2000, p. 1159).

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