About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4464-4475
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain

A MASSIVE ROLE-PLAYING EXPERIMENT WITH CSCW TOOLS: TOWARDS A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION IN VIRTUAL MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAMS

P. Mechant1, A. Jacobs2, W. Konings3, D. Schuurman1, S. Paulussen1, L. De Marez1

1MICT/UGent/IBBT (BELGIUM)
2SMIT/VUB/IBBT (BELGIUM)
3CUO/KUL/IBBT (BELGIUM)
This paper discusses a large-scale role-playing experiment that was played on March 31st 2009 with more than 200 scientific researchers from the Interdisciplinary institute for Broadband Technology (IBBT). This independent research institute, founded by the Flemish government in 2004, unites 16 research groups from various Flemish universities and knowledge centers in order to carry out multi-disciplinary demand-driven ICT research in joint projects with companies, authorities and non-profit organizations.

The goal of the role-playing game was to create an experimental ‘real-life’ setting where small teams of researchers from various disciplines and backgrounds were expected to jointly fulfill a relatively simple task by making use of a variety of tools and means that they have at their disposal in their own office environment. Each participant played a fictitious character (a ‘persona’) together with one or two IBBT colleagues and had to reach certain goals in collaboration with the other persons. Participants were assigned to one out of three (fictitious) goals: (scenario 1) ‘create a team building activity for 45 researchers’; (scenario 2) ‘write a joint abstract of maximum 250 words for a conference’ or (scenario 3) ‘create a robot demonstrator with Lego Mindstorms’. To reach this goal, participants had to work together with persons who were geographically dispersed and could only be contacted through CSCW tools (Computer Supported Cooperative Work). Both scenarios and personas had aspects in them that came as a result of previous fieldtrips studying the current intra group working practices.

In the first part of the paper we provide an overview of the characteristics of the massive role-playing experiment, briefly describing the personas, scenarios and available CSCW tools, as well as the two folded aims of the experiment: collecting insight in the usage patterns and reactions, creating awareness about the problems of collaboration within the organization. The second part of the paper digs deeper into the results of the massive role-playing game and the feedback we received afterwards. We look at the communication patterns between the persons and analyse how interaction problems such as lack of trust, lack of loyalty and free-rider problems are coped with. The final part of the paper tries to correlate the results on the use of certain CSCW types for certain tasks or goals with earlier conclusions on collaboration within and between IBBT-teams.

Overall, we conclude that when using CSCW-tools, one should take into account that different types of users stress different types of usage and that each CSCW-tool has its own merits and pitfalls, thus making generalizations about certain tools for certain tasks very difficult.

The experiment described in this paper was part of a larger IBBT project, called ‘Communication and Collaboration Network Utilities’ (CoCoNUT), that wants to gain insight into the social models, the processes, and the technology solutions that will enable more efficient communication and collaborative work in virtual – physically separated – multidisciplinary teams.
@InProceedings{MECHANT2009AMA,
author = {Mechant, P. and Jacobs, A. and Konings, W. and Schuurman, D. and Paulussen, S. and De Marez, L.},
title = {A MASSIVE ROLE-PLAYING EXPERIMENT WITH CSCW TOOLS: TOWARDS A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION IN VIRTUAL MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAMS},
series = {2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2009 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-2953-3},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {4464-4475}}
TY - CONF
AU - P. Mechant AU - A. Jacobs AU - W. Konings AU - D. Schuurman AU - S. Paulussen AU - L. De Marez
TI - A MASSIVE ROLE-PLAYING EXPERIMENT WITH CSCW TOOLS: TOWARDS A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION IN VIRTUAL MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAMS
SN - 978-84-613-2953-3/2340-1095
PY - 2009
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2009
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2009 Proceedings
SP - 4464
EP - 4475
ER -
P. Mechant, A. Jacobs, W. Konings, D. Schuurman, S. Paulussen, L. De Marez (2009) A MASSIVE ROLE-PLAYING EXPERIMENT WITH CSCW TOOLS: TOWARDS A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION IN VIRTUAL MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAMS, ICERI2009 Proceedings, pp. 4464-4475.
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