Design Theory for Collaborative Technologies: Electronic Discourse in Group Decision

James Sheffield


This paper proposes a theory based on pragmatism and multiple discourses for the design of technology-enabled collaboration. The practical value of the theory is explored in the context of an intervention enabled by Group Support Systems (GSS) in regional governance and comprehensive urban planning. Qualitative measures were obtained of the degree of confusion (lack of understanding) and conflict (lack of trust) before and after the meeting, and participant performance and satisfaction with electronic discourse. The focus question is “Do electronic discourses enhance participant’s understanding and trust in scenario planning?”


Communicative action; Critical interpretive case study; Facilitated collaboration; Inter-organizational conflict.

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