GroupWare & Learning Orgs LO11596

Michael Gort (
Sun, 29 Dec 1996 11:23:31 -0400

Replying to LO11565 --

Ben writes:

"This is a small beginning to a much larger topic. I think it's clear,
however, that E-Mail -- or better, GroupWare -- can be a powerful tool in
creating a learning environment."

Groupware can be a powerful tool in helping create shared vision and in
surfacing mental models - but like any other organizaitonal change tool, it
is subject to several resistance patterns that can limit or destroy its
effectiveness. An example: We experimented this fall with a new groupware
tool from Lotus called TeamRoom. For those in the team who wanted a higher
level of shared vision and collaboration, the tool was very effective and
in fact easy to start up on an ad hoc basis, with no formal training or
initial meeting. For team members who were unconvinced of the value of
collaboration and who resisted reaching a shared vision, the tool became a
focal point of resistance.

Groupware does provide one extremely effective tool, which is the ability
to communicate through pictures, systems diagrams and charts and graphs
which is lacking from most mail systems. Even if attachments are
available, our organization (and, I suspect, others) has multiple mail
systems and clients which are not very effective at sharing attachments.
In fact, lacking the ability to draw a systems diagram in this discussion
illustrates the weakness of email tools as groupware. The system that
accepts or rejects groupware is something like this: as an organization
begins to understand the value of shared vision, its motivation to create a
shared vision will rise, which will drive its understanding of how to
create shared vision with email and groupware, which in turn will lead to a
better understanding of of the value of shared vision.

Alternatively, the same cycle can inhibit a movement to shared vision. If
there is no understanding of the value of shared vision, there is no
motivation to create a shared vision, and thus no improvement in the
understanding of the value of shared vision.

Michael Gort


"Michael Gort"<>

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