Mark, G. & Semaan, B. Resilience in Collaboration: Technology as a Resource for New Patterns of Action. In CSCW’08. pp. 137-146.

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The article presents results of a quite extreme case study of technology usage. The authors have interviewed 59 persons living in countries that are or have just been in war. The focus of the study has been on how IT is used in a situation where the physical environment is continually disrupted and how IT usage is impacted by the disruptions. The article is a nice example of case study that reports the current activities and habits of people without presenting any new IT solutions to possible problems in studied people’s lives.

The main findings of the study are interesting but not revolutionary. The main use for IT seems to have been to be independent of physical environment (e.g. enabling virtual work). The other dominant use was to coordinate activities in dangerous environments. Naturally IT usage has not been without problems. Also the communications infrastructure was effected by the war, IT enabled “cross-organizational” communication was sometimes contradictory to official protocols, and transferring to virtual work impacted to group dynamics. In addition the authors witnessed some cases where disturbance caused needs to transfer from one technology to another (e.g. when IP-network went down but telephone network still worked).

Posted by Petri

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