Flexible Interactive Technologies for Multi-Person Tasks

Current Problems and Future Prospects

by Tora K. Bikson, John D. Eveland, Barbara A. Gutek

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Whether organizations are creating networks of personal computers, decentralizing their mainframe environments, or building group-level computing structures, they share a concern to provide flexible interactive technology to support and augment multi-person work. This Note reviews cross-sectional, case study, and pilot research carried out by RAND's Institute for Research on Interactive Systems, which explores the deployment of current information technology in diverse user groups. While research indicates that today's technologies can make multi-person information tasks more manageable and work groups more flexible, the same research suggests that realizing these benefits depends heavily on the resolution of social questions about collaboration — questions about group norms and values, equitable role structuring, and shared task management.

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