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Journal Article:

Author(s) :


Olson, J. S., Olson, G. M., Storrosten, M., & Carter, M.

Date of Publication :


1993 Oct

Article Title :


Groupwork close-up: A comparison of the group design process with and without a simple-group editor

Journal Title :


ACM Transactions on Information Systems

Volume ID :



Pages(s) :



Abstract :


A simple collaborative tool, a shared text editor called ShrEdit, changed the way groups of designers performed their work, and changed it for the better. First, the designs produced by the 19 groups of three designers were of higher quality than those of the 19 groups who worked with conventional whiteboard, paper and pencil. The groups with the new tool reported liking their work process a little less, probably because they had to adapt their work style to a new tool. We expected, from the brainstorming literature and recent work on Group Support Systems, that the reason the designs were of better quality was that the supported groups generated more ideas. To our surprise, the groups working with ShrEdit generated fewer design ideas, but apparently better ones. It appears that the tool helped the supported groups keep more focused on the core issues in the emerging design, to waste less time on less important topics, and to capture what was said as they went. This suggests that small workgroups can capitalize on the free access they have to a shared workspace, without requiring a facilitator or a work process embedded in the software.

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