3.12 Pors, J.K. and J. Simonsen (2003): "Work Practice Characteristics: a Framework for Understanding Complex Issues of Groupware Integration", in C. Ciborra et al. (Eds.) Proceedings of the 11th European Conference on Information Systems, ECIS'2003: New Paradigms in Organizations, Markets and Society, 19.-21. June 2003, Naples, Italy.


Integrating groupware in work practices poses a range of interrelated problems comprising organisational and technological issues. These are complex issues, since they derive from the combined influence of a range of heterogeneous elements and emergent phenomena in the intersection of groupware and work practice. To understand these issues a framework of characteristics is identified and termed work practice characteristics to describe important aspects of the hybrid configuration of groupware and situated work practices. Drawing on concepts and work practice studies in the field of computer supported cooperative work (CSCW) the paper argues that the interrelations of heterogeneous elements and emergent phenomena arising from the integration of groupware in practice should be made visible from a perspective encompassing both the social and the technical. Two cases from an empirical investigation of how groupware is employed to support new ways of working in a large European financial organisation are analysed to illustrate situations with high and low integration of groupware. The framework of work practice characteristics is discussed in the light of these findings and implications for further work practice research are drawn.