Coordinating computer-mediated work
Coordination of inter-dependent work activities is central to CSCW. However, little is known about how people coordinate their work activities, especially when confronted with computer systems that are intended to support collaboration. This paper examines how a close-knit group of engineers attempt to collaborate when managing a networked system whilst at the same time trying to maintain coordination of their interdependent work activities. Drawing from theoretical constructs developed in distributed cognition, an analysis is presented that contrasts the role played by common objects and mediating mechanisms in coordinating such activities with the negotiative practices that emerge when they break down. The implications of the problematic and dynamic nature of coordination is subsequently discussed in relation to CSCW design.