The Organizational Layer of the User Interface (sponsored by HCI)
Organizations, according to Pfeffer (1981) are “systems of shared meanings and beliefs” that are built in part by language, symbolism, and ritual. Individuals learn how to cope with problems, identify important information, and manage change largely through these shared meanings and beliefs. This definition implies boundaries beyond which the language and symbols no longer work. Both endogenous and exogenous forces such as corporate mergers, cooperative ventures, a contracted workforce, and telecommuting are some of the forces redefining organizations and resetting the boundaries between them. While cultures may remain distinct, there is a growing need for organizations to share elements of their information and culture in order to achieve common goals.
Information systems are designed to support organizational functions. These systems may establish a formula for computing a value, follow a routine to complete a transaction, define a concept utilized by the function, or support other tasks. The purpose of the user interface of these systems is to help the individual to complete a task or function efficiently and effectively. Organizations typically customize and personalize these interfaces and these systems to apply their own formulas, processes, definitions and brands for the application. When organizations enter cooperative ventures and attempt to share data and processes, problems arise due to the varied, and perhaps conflicting, meanings and processes. The goal of this session is to examine issues related to developing an “organizational interface,” including the challenges of integrating functions, vocabularies, and data.
Moderator: Deborah Barreau
Gary Marchionini, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “The Interplay Between Organizational and User Interfaces: Lessons from Federal Statistical Agencies.”
Stephanie Haas, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “What is context? Providing vocabulary help in the context of documents, tasks, and organizations.”
David Mendonca, New Jersey Institute of Technology, “Managing shared physical infrastructure systems: The case of the 2001 World Trade Center attack.”