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Adoption and Diffusion Introduction

Page history last edited by ealexand01@aol.com 10 years, 3 months ago

Adoption and Diffusion of Groupware Outline


Adoption and Diffusion of Groupware




The crux of business and organizational effectiveness is the ability to use knowledge to create and transmit information. Groupware, or “Group Management Software,” refers to applications with related tool sets that enable collections of people to communicate with each other and share information in collaborative ways.


The purpose of this chapter is to  provide the reader with background on the objectives and evolution of Groupware, and more importantly, to discuss the primary drivers for successful adoption of such applications and tools sets and the ultimate diffusion, or institution, of these tools as an organic part of the enterprise or organizational group work processes.


The importance of Groupware to organizations and to project work in particular, has evolved with the increasing importance of teams for organizational goal achievement.  As teams and teamwork have become the main method of organizing work groups, Groupware has become the essential engine for collaborative team processes.


Groupware itself evolved from two basic models of the flow of work within a business organization. The “Share” model, is the traditional use of shared files of documents or databases on a server allowing concurrent access to files. Users must go to the data to retrieve it, perform actions on the data, and then re-deposit it.   The “Send” model uses tools to push the data out to the individual, usually via messaging, email, or routing, after which the user performs activities without having visibility to other group members. The intent of Groupware is to allow the directional flow of work both ways and to enable group members to have visibility and means of communication while the workflow is taking place. (Kern, 2003)


The Adoption of Groupware includes not only the selection of the best application for the specific organizational need, but also the training, maintenance and eventual deployment of the Groupware throughout the using population in order to achieve "critical mass."  By critical mass, we mean reaching a large enough number of people within the group such that the number of users of the Groupware begins to exceed the non-users, essentaily a tipping point permitting the Groupware to become the norm for group use. Once this critical mass has been achieved and the Groupware has become a part of the standard work toolkit, the Groupware is sufficiently deployed or diffused to become the standard for producing work output. (Constantine, 2001)


Specific success factors to adoption and diffusion will be discussed within this chapter.



Some Definitions for this Chapter




Groupware can be defined as a solution set of collaborative tools for business or goal-directed organizational communication. Essentially, Groupware facilitates connected individuals to communicate with each other and manage common work products and projects.  Groupware has typically included many or all of these tools:

  • ·         Document and file management
  • ·         Calendaring
  • ·         Task Management
  • ·         Message boards
  • ·         Electronic Mail
  • ·         Chat capability
  • ·         Collaborate page /document writing and editing
  • ·         Wiki features
  • ·         Blogging



Online Groupware, also called Virtual Officeware (aka “VOware”)

 Traditional Groupware is an application set that is housed by the using organization, typically on a centralized server. Online Groupware is a web-based suite of similar collaboration tools that is housed in the “Cloud” i.e. web-base hosting that removes the physical constraints of the traditional organizational collaboration software. (Cranor, 2005)



Adoption of Groupware

Adoption is the process of selecting, introducing, training and initiating the use of collaborative Groupware technologies. Adoption must take into consideration the people, processes, work output and technologies available. Traditional collaboration rested with older technologies, such as telephone, fax, and email. As collaboration technologies have evolved into suites of Groupware as solutions to multiple collaborative needs, the adoption process focuses on the introduction and use of these tools by specific work groups.



Diffusion of Groupware, also referred to as Deployment

Diffusion can be defined as the sustained use of Groupware tools by enough of the group members to achieve critical mass. Critical mass of users, much like the adoption and proliferation of fax capabilities, relies on enough users such that the utility of the tool is perceived to be an essential benefit to the user. Diffusion of Groupware is highly reliant on perception of the benefits of use, the culture of the using organization, the group dynamics, the individual group members attitudes towards learning new tools, the functionality and the support of the software application itself, and other factors such as metrics indicating that the applications have, in fact, reduced time, effort or other factors in completing work. (Coleman, 2008)



Key Points to remember


     ·         Groupware is an application of related tools for collaboration that has become increasingly important as more work is being done by  teams.


  • Adoption of Groupware encompasses more than just the selection of an application. It considers the culture, technological experience, work needs and working experience of the intended users.



  • Diffusion or deployment of Groupware happens when a critical mass of users has begun to incorporate the Groupware as part of their workflow processes based on perceived usefulness and value.  






Adoption and Diffusion of Groupware Outline

Comments (5)

Santhosh said

at 1:55 pm on May 31, 2010

A very well written introduction. The table of contents and this section is not matching. did we miss some sections in the outline here.

gushuang said

at 7:35 pm on May 24, 2010

You list most improtant features in the groupware and what process to deploy the groupware. Very good start,

aeyassu@... said

at 4:20 pm on May 24, 2010

Good Introduction. Nicely and thoroughly written. The one thing I have is : what is you substitute the title “Diffusion of Groupware, also referred to as Deployment” to “ Diffusion of Groupware – Deployment”.

kcarrero@depaul.edu said

at 10:48 am on May 24, 2010

- The way the citation are done in this part of the chapter do not coincide with how they were done in the rest of the chapter.
- Paragraph 2: Does the word Chapter need to be capitalized? If the capitalization was done for emphasis I don't think this will be the case in the rest of the book, and may to be changed to fit in better with the rest of the book.
- Paragraph 3, line 1: Add another comma before the first and.
- Paragraph 3, line is there a true difference between teams and work groups?
- Paragraph 5: In line two I think "user population" sounds better than using population. For clarity consider defining critical mass.
-Under Groupware definition line 2 replace mange with manage.


at 11:52 am on May 23, 2010

Well written and laid out. I don't see any issues with this section - it sets up the chapter nicely.

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