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Hard and soft information genres: an analysis of two Notes databases

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2 Author(s)
Schultze, U. ; Case Western Reserve Univ., Cleveland, OH, USA ; Boland, R.J.

Recent work on communication genres explores some ways in which technology enables and constrains communicative action (Orlikowski and Yates, 1994). We elaborate the notion of genre by incorporating the quality of hardness or softness evident in the informing practices that produce and reproduce genres. Including an awareness of information hardness and softness in communication genres, provides a meta-level for considering the processes of informing that produce those genres and their possibility for change over time. We investigate the extent to which groupware supports soft information genres, when these genres are desirable, and how and why they change. Two Lotus Notes discussion databases used in a large insurance company over a seven-month period are analyzed. Our analysis shows that there are numerous elements of hard and soft information genres in each of the databases

Published in:

System Sciences, 1997, Proceedings of the Thirtieth Hawaii International Conference on  (Volume:6 )

Date of Conference:

7-10 Jan 1997

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