Keeping people apart
This paper reports findings of research into the nature of collaboration in a design company. Observations of the shared work of two groups, architects and building services engineers, are discussed and the role of meetings considered. It will be argued that the achievement of ultimate ends in this organisation is through a division of labour involving discrete working practices. Consequently, technology that brings people together is inappropriate and could unsettle working harmony. This finding is not offered as a discovery but as a reminder: CSCW is in part about sensitivity to social and organisational issues in system design and evaluation. However, in the pursuit innovative technology, those sensitivities can often be lost.