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Individual/group needs in many to many conversation

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  • Rachel Bodle
    Paul/Denham et el I haven t previously considered the question Paul raised It is the differences between the individual needs and the social or group need
    Message 1 of 37 , Aug 1, 2001
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      Paul/Denham et el
      I haven't previously considered the question Paul raised "It is the
      differences between the individual needs and the social or group need that
      delineates what is not available in collaborative software. So far, the
      software developers have focused in value propositions for large commercial
      systems. Peer-to-peer was different, but we all know what happened to
      Napister.

      In some sense, the needs of the organization and the individual are quite
      different. Honoring this difference is difficult, even when one wants to
      honor this. ... What do others here think about this distinction between
      individual need and collective need?"

      In the absence of a reasoned position I can only offer a few observations
      drawn from experience of f2f meetings, an OD & systems perspective, and some
      participation in selected listserves:

      >The group's needs and the needs of a collection of individuals are the same
      where there are no substantive connections between the individuals. I.e.,
      without substantive linkages the 'group' is only the sum of its parts. I
      don't think subscription to a common listserv would constitute a substantive
      link - any more than a shared telephone network is sufficient to forge a
      coherent organisation from a group of employees.

      >The linkages that would establish the 'group' as a systemic entity with
      characteristics and needs different from the parts are various but could
      encompass a common commitment to a profession or body of knowledge; or
      membership of the same enterprise: project team, or corporate or community
      initiative.

      >There are questions in my mind about the relationship between the progress
      a group/system can make in pursuit of its objectives and the extent of
      changes in membership of the group. I remember the experience of being a
      member of a 'consciousness-raising group' within the women's movement 30 (oh
      dear!) years' ago. We'd have a topic that would focus our discussions at a
      particular meeting. Each meeting would attract some, but not all, members of
      our group. At a certain stage we found it useful to declare our group
      'closed' - that is, we weren't prepared to have new members along. Over time
      we got to know one another and the quality of our dialogue shifted.
      'Closing' the group meant that membership of the group was more satisfying
      for those of us who participated - but it also meant that the group
      eventually died as women moved on/away. Meanwhile the wider movement was
      thriving - there were lots of opportunities for 'new women' to become
      engaged and new groups would 'spin off' to reflect new needs for
      consciousness-raising or for work around various campaigns.

      >The characteristics (and therefore needs?) of a group/system are an
      emergent property of the parts (intellectual capital) and the linkages
      between them (social capital). I don't know where this is taking me but,
      staying with the UK women's movement metaphor: In the UK the disparate
      groups were able to communicate with one another through a
      newsletter/mailing list and a 'central' office. What appeared in the
      newsletter was a calendar of events and summary information (if provided)
      from the various groups and active individuals. Thus each group had some
      sense of its place in the wider movement (ecosystem). The newsletter and
      office were run by a different group of women each year and moved around the
      country so that no-one person or group had a leadership role. Thus during
      change and uncertainty, the newsletter and office provided support for - and
      minimal constraints on - the development and continuing renewal of the
      'movement'. Does this metaphor add value to the consideration of
      collaborative software?

      Best wishes
      Rachel


      http://www.rachelbodle.co.uk/
      tel: (44) (0) 208840 6174
    • drjmpirone@microdsi.net
      Got back what is new j ... From: Paul Stephen Prueitt To: Sent: Monday, July 30, 2001 12:37 PM Subject: RE:
      Message 37 of 37 , Aug 2, 2001
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        Got back what is new j
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Paul Stephen Prueitt <bcngroup@...>
        To: <com-prac@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Monday, July 30, 2001 12:37 PM
        Subject: RE: [cp] Re: many to many conversation


        > Rachel,
        >
        > Denham may be able to develop a wish list for the demand side of new
        > collaborative technology that has more of the needs of individuals in
        mind.
        >
        > It is the differences between the individual needs and the social or group
        > need that delineates what is not available in collaborative software. So
        > far, the software developers have focused in value propositions for large
        > commerical systems. Peer-to-peer was different, but we all know what
        > happened to Napister.
        >
        > In some sense, the needs of the organization and the individual are quite
        > different. Honoring this difference is difficult, even when one wants to
        > honor this.
        >
        > Rachel, why do you think this is true? Or (so I do not presume) do you
        > think that this is an issue? What do others here think about this
        > distinction between individual need and collective need?
        >
        > ****
        >
        > PS. Ed's perceptions regarding knowledge economics are always welcome. I
        > feel, however, that both Denham and I , and all people switch roles from
        > demanders to suppliers. The switching is done to accommodate both
        personal
        > and social needs.
        >
        > As a theortician, I feel the need to use a stratified paradigm that allows
        > individuals to have interiors (self images)and to behave in
        non-predictable
        > fashion. Perhaps the distinct "micro-knowledge economics" and
        > "macro-knowledge economics" might work here?
        >
        > (Side note: I claim that economic theory has never integrated the two
        > viewpoints - and that a similarity exists between economic theory and
        > physical theory at this very point. The statistical physics is not
        > integrated with particle physics except via the notion of an uncertainty
        > principle.)
        >
        > The side note is a knowledge claim which Ed may be able to discuss -
        without
        > diverging to far from the interests of the com-prac forum. I am not sure,
        > but I think that this is a point of disagremeent in principle between his
        > paradigm and mine, but I am not sure. I myself do not know if this claim
        is
        > fully valid - it is just one that seems to make the case for stratified
        > reasoning - because physical nature reveals a structure based on
        > non-homogensious distributions - the electron shells and Plank's
        constant..
        > (sorry for the digression.. I know that this is not what folks here have
        > spend decades looking at. But there may be some understanding to pass for
        > one community to another here.)
        >
        > ****
        >
        > Denham's note deserves to be copied and read several times. I have a few
        > comments to intersperse. As Lorraine so nicely pointed out, e-forum
        > interspering is good when used carefully and NOT as a mean to argue but
        > rather to amplify and support. I apologize for taking up so much space.
        >
        > ***
        > <Denham>
        > Face to face:
        > Great for the communication of complex & emotional / sensitive
        > concepts, faster relationship building and tacit intentions. Best
        > done in small groups (10-15?) where participants engage in dialog
        > with some explicit purpose. Issues how to capture group meaning.</Denham>
        >
        > <Paul> How to capture group meaning is essential to the knowledge economy
        > and this has not been done very well up to now. We (as a society) do not
        > even know what it would feel like to capture intellectual work product
        well.
        > Encoding into concept ontology seems to make sense, but topic maps and
        > context maps and what ever has not yet been able to overcome deep
        conceptual
        > problems related to situated-ness.</Paul>
        >
        > <Denham>Conferences:
        > The value of one to many PowerPoint presentations is being
        > increasingly questioned as a knowledge transfer method. Most of the
        > learning seems to take place via informal networking. There is benefit
        > of extending conversations beyond the scheduled meeting but so far
        > I'm not aware on blended web-conferencing and f2f, wrangles over
        > intellectual property?.</Denham>
        >
        > <Paul> A story can be told here. I have worked for two decades on the idea
        > that imminent scholars might collaborate intellectually in a virtual
        > fashion. This notion was criticized by my mentors (Karl Pribram, Stephen
        > Grossberg and Lofti Zadeh and a few others) as not workable due to the
        > importance of f2f meetings. However, it seemed to me, and still does,
        that
        > f2f can be done a few times and virtual done a lot and the process of
        > establishing agreement on what is being done can be accomplished.</Paul>
        >
        > <Denham>
        > Listservs:
        > The most common form of computer exchange. Recent advances include
        > web archives, repositories for links, files and personal profiles. E-
        > mail distribution lists and shared folders on intranets account for
        > much of the business traffic. Preservation of context is problematic
        > and there is redundant copying from message to message and e-mail
        > boat due to appending. The general impression is lists are a poor
        > environment for eLearning. Subject heading become critical due to e-
        > mail filtering and there are virus risks. </Denham>
        >
        > <Paul> I suspect that everyone here knows that this is where the next big
        > killer app will occur. The argument might be made the (1) the app will be
        > much simpler than we expect, (2) the app must be free since the value
        added
        > is due not to the software systems but to the use of these systems by
        users.
        > Both (1) and (2) are a bit of a paradox in may peoples minds. </Paul>
        >
        > <Denham>
        > Web conferencing:
        > Two main types, threads and linear scrolling. Integrated ecologies
        > (boards, IM, chat, group e-mail, web presence, & static repositories
        > are on the rise. Key affordances are persistent conversation,
        > situatedness and privacy gradients. It takes far longer to build
        > trust and facilitation skill to manage key divergence - convergence
        > cycles. Chief advantages are anywhere, anytime (asynchronous)
        > exchange and a log of records. </Denham>
        >
        > <Paul> Again I think of the book "Communities of Practice" by E. Wenger.
        > She, and many of the com-prac practitioners her in this forum; are
        patience
        > beyond belief. Web conferencing MUST have a deeply committed moderator /
        > fascinator. </Paul>
        >
        > <Denham>
        > Hybrids:
        > Some interesting hybrids are surfacing e.g. web logs, and single
        > topic discussion e.g. QuickTopic and webrings which aggregate and
        > connect webpages. Wiki which has a focus on collaborative writing is
        > an interesting alternative too
        >
        > http://www.voght.com/cgi-bin/pywiki?PersistentConversation
        >
        > Hope this helps somewhat.</Denham>
        > ***
        >
        >
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        >
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        >
        >
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