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The Trouble with Common Ground

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Tenenberg, Roth and Socha ( 2016 ) documents interaction within a paired programming task. The analysis rests on a conceptualization the authors term “We-awareness.” “We-awareness”, in turn, builds on Tomasello’s notion of “shared intentionality” and through it, upon Clark’s formulation of Common Ground (CG). In this commentary I review the features of CG. I attempt to show that neither Tomasello’s ( 2014 ) notion of “shared intentionality” nor Clark’s ( 1996 ) model of CG-shared develop an adequate treatment of the sequential emergence of subjective meaning. This is a critical problem for CG and other conceptualizations that build upon it (e.g., “shared intentionality”, “We-awareness”). And it calls into question their usefulness for building an analytic apparatus for studying mutual awareness at the worksite. I suggest that Schütz’s ( 1953 ) model of “motive coordination” might serve as a better starting place.


Koschmann, Timothy (42644): The Trouble with Common Ground. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 25. DOI: 10.1007/s10606-016-9245-x. Springer. PISSN: 1573-7551. pp. 303-311