The theme of the workshop is to address questions on how research on “sharing economies” connects with longstanding CSCW concerns, specifically with issues regarding work, collaboration, and trust. We will explore how this new domain of research could help shift forward conceptual and theoretical efforts within CSCW, and how, on the other hand, we might more effectively utilize prior work to inform our research agenda and efforts in this emerging sub-area of CSCW.
Throughout the history of CSCW, there has been continued interest in examining the ‘nature of work’, as it actually happens in practice, with the goal of applying these insights to better support the design of computer technologies for the workplace. With platform economies, cooperative computer-supported work is taking on new forms, including crowdwork and crowdsourcing, the establishment of on-demand mobile work forces, and novel infrastructures for volunteering. Sharing/platform economies challenge us to revisit workplace studies and consider how might we best approach work and collaborative technologies in circumstances that are often characterized as flexible yet precarious, mobile, time-sensitive, algorithmically mediated, and lacking a traditional sense of “workplace” or “coworkers”.
Collaboration, that is, how people are able to get things done together, has been a central concern throughout the history of CSCW. Work in the community has often taken the form of detailing coordination in action, that is, “how workers align and adjust their activities in relation to the actions of others.” Moreover, the field is, as its name indicates, particularly interested in “cooperative work practices in which coordination technologies serve, or may serve, as technical resources of coordinative practices”. There are many questions to consider when it comes to exchange, work, and interaction that is mediated through current and emerging platforms: What does collaboration mean in this context? Who collaborates with whom? How is collaboration currently designed for (if at all) in these platforms? What might alternative approaches look like?
Studying trust, and designing for it, has become a core concern for HCI and CSCW over the past decades, in part due to the increasing number of technologies that support a variety transactions/exchange over distance, with the help of computer-mediated communication: This line of work has included, first, studies on trust in technology-mediated exchanges, such as analyzing what factors warrant trust in another actor and how the presence of these factors can be signaled reliably to allow the formation of well-placed trust. Second, there have been efforts to support identifying trust requirements in design processes. The now 20-year-old eBay, and the reputation mechanisms it has developed over the years, is an obvious forebear for many of the platforms that are now discussed as part of the purported sharing economy. When it comes to peer-to-peer exchange and platform-mediated forms of work, the roles that trust, reputation, and metrics related to them are central topics to consider.
For more details, here is the full workshop proposal with references (pdf).