Groupware is often used in distributed organizations to support communication and coordination. Managers direct resources and set up goals for the deployment of groupware. It is however difficult to foresee the effect of groupware and many cases report that groupware is either hardly used or does not produce the intended effects. We have analyzed the deployment and use of the web-based groupware application Lotus QuickPlaceTM in a large financial distributed organization that has just emerged as the result of a major merger. Based on interviews, survey, and http log-analysis, we have identified four general types of settings where the groupware has been used: Newly established organizational units, special interest groups, short term projects, and teams handling recurrent tasks. We characterize these settings and present the overall conditions that have proven to be critical to the deployment of groupware in the case. Challenges and expectations are discussed and ideas concerning strategies for change are suggested. It is concluded that change related to groupware faces conditions that challenge ambitious goals in three of the settings, while conditions in general favour successful change related to recurrent tasks.
Proceedings of the 11th European Conference on Information Systems, Ecis'2003: New Paradigms in Organizations, Markets and Society, 2003