This course analyzes the interplay between information and society. It focuses on how
technological developments affect social systems, and conversely, how social systems
affect the nature and use of technology for information exchange. Much of the course
is devoted to studying the impact of computerization and the advent of the information highway.
However, there was life before microcomputers, and to place current developments in context,
we also examine how earlier technological developments affected the nature of information
exchange in the realms of work and community. Some sessions feature guest lecturers.
- I. How has Society Changed with (and Shaped) Technology? How has technological development, along with
industrialization, urbanization and bureaucratization affected the nature of information exchange in
societies, work organizations and communities since the nineteenth century? How did the pre-computer
technological developments of trains, cars, planes, phones, etc. affect the ways in which people
communicated and exchanged information?
- II. What is the Nature of Computer-Mediated Communities? To what extent can people find "virtual community"
at a distance when connected by the Internet, the Web, videoconferencing and other parts of the information
highway? How do on-line information exchange relationships fit in a person(s) overall set of community ties?
What kinds of virtual communities exist within and between organizations as communities of inquiry, communities of
practice, and communities of shared interest? To what extent do online communities function as all-encompassing
worlds, and are such experiences enhanced by agents and avatars? To what extent do people develop special persona
online? What are the implications of the information highway for privacy, autonomy, gender/class relations and
- III. What are Computer-Supported Relationships Like? In what ways can people interact and exchange information
when connected by the Internet, the Web, videoconferencing and other parts of the information highway?
- IV. What is the Nature of Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Organizations? How does computer-mediated
communication affect information exchange relationships? What are the implications of computer-mediated communication
for organizational and inter-organizational structures? What are the implications of teleworking for domestic and work
Throughout the course, there will be discussion about writing, editing, making
presentations, and evaluating research.
Readings Ordered by Bookstore
Rob Kling, ed., Computerization and Controversy, 2nd ed. (San Diego: Academic Press, 1996).
Sara Kiesler, ed., Culture of the Internet (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum 1997).
Marc Smith & Peter Kollock, eds., Communities in Cyberspace. (London: Routledge, 1999).
Other readings, principally scholarly articles, available in photocopied course pack.
To save costs, when readings are available on the Web, they are not included in the course pack.
For flexibility, readings are organized by sections and subsections, not by lectures.
Some readings will be optional, except for that session(s) presenter. To save costs, optional readings
are not included in the course pack but are available from me.
Each major section will comprise approximately one month.
This is a new course, so we may need to adjust matters throughout the course.
We may also have to adjust readings to fit with the presentations of guest lecturers.
Midterm Exam . . . . . . . 20%. Covers sections I and II.
Final Exam . . . . . . . . 20%. Covers sections III and IV.
Presentation . . . . . . . 10% [pairs: 50 minutes: content, depth, organization,
visual aids, clarity]
These should enrich the lectures, not replicate them. In consultation with me, please develop a
presentation that goes beyond the required readings for the week. Some suggestions: examine the
required readings in greater depth, develop the optional readings, bring in outside material that
addresses matters at hand. Presentations will be done in pairs. The week after the presentation,
each member of the pair will hand in a 2 pp. evaluation of the presentation and statement of what
each member of the pair contributed to it.
Reaction Papers . . . . 10% [2 pp., 1 week turnaround, probably about 4 in total]
Term Paper . . . . . . . . 40% [20 pp. single-spaced; to be discussed in class]
Your choice in consultation with me:
- Use scholarly literature to analyze a scholarly issue;
- Use scholarly literature to analyze a public issue.
- Prepare a doctoral research proposal.
- Prepare a data analysis paper (your data or mine), taking into account scholarly issues;
- Use scholarly literature to analyze a professional issue or make a professional proposal.
Participation: Final grade can be adjusted +/- 10% to take into account participation:
thoughtfulness, originality, activity. It should go without saying, but always bears repeating,
that all participants are expected to have done the reading before class and are prepared to
- I. How Has Society Changed with (and Shaped) Technology?
- What Has Technology Done/Not Done?
- 1. Leonard Dudley, "Communications and Economic Growth." European Economic Review: in press.
- 2. W.L. Bliss, "In the Wake of the Wheel" (1952).
- 3. Georg Simmel, "The Metropolis and Mental Life" in The Sociology of Georg Simmel, edited by Kurt Wolff.
- How Did Information Exchange Technology Affect Society? The Telephonization of America
- 1. Claude Fischer, America Calling (1992), chap. 5 (probable guest lecturer)
- 2. Barry Wellman & David Tindall, "How Telephone Networks Connect Social Networks." Progress in Communication
Science 12 (1993): 63-93
- How Has Computerization Affected Society? Hopes, Hypes and Fears
- 1 Articles by Rob Kling in Kling, 22-38 [review pp. 10-21, read in Infosys 204]
- 2 Brian Cantwell Smith, "Limits of Correctness in Computers" - Kling, 810-25
- 3. Tora Bikson and Constantijn Panis, "Computers and Connectivity" in Sara Kiesler, ed., Culture of the Internet.
- 4. Rob Kling, "Hope and Horrors" - Kling ,40-58 [review of article read in Infosys 204]
- 5. Barry Wellman, "Utopia and Dystopia along the Information Highway." Contemporary Sociology 16, 4 (7/97): 445-49
- 6. John King, et al., "Construction Boomtown in the Great Divide" in Kiesler
- What are the Characteristics of a "Network Society"?
- 1. Barry Wellman, "An Electronic Group is Virtually a Social Network" - in Sara Kiesler, ed., The Culture of the Internet
- 2. Manuel Castells, The Rise of the Network Society, chap. 3 (chap. 4 optional;.guest lecturer)
- 3. Mark Granovetter, "The Strength of Weak Ties (Revisited)." In Social Structure and Network Analysis, edited by Peter Marsden and Nan Lin. (1982): 105-130.
- 4. Barry Wellman. "From Little Boxes to Loosely-Bounded Networks: The Privatization and Domestication of Community." Forthcoming in Continuities and Cutting Edges: An Agenda for North American Sociology, edited by Janet Abu-Lughod. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wellman/links/index.html
- What are the Implications of the Information Highway for Civic Society?
- 1. Robert Putnam, "Bowling Alone" Journal of Democracy 6, 1 (1995): 65-78
- 2. Andrew Clement, "Computing at Work: Empowering Action" - Kling, 383-406
- 3. Denison Hatch, "Privacy: How Much Data Do Direct Marketers Really Need?" - Kling, 669-678
- 4. Rob Kling, et al., "Information Entrepreneurialism" - Kling, 727-45
- 5. Roger Hurwitz & John Mallery, "Managing Large Scale On-line Discussions: Secrets of the Open Meeting." In Communityware and Social Interaction, edited by Toru Ishida. Springer-Verlag, 1998. [optional]
- II. What is the Nature of Computer-Mediated Communities?
- What is the Relationship of Gender and Stability to Networks of Friendship and Community?
(joint with Centre for Working Families, Arlie Hochschild & Barrie Thorne, probably out of sequence March 15)
- 1. Beverly Wellman and Barry Wellman, "Domestic Affairs and Net-work Relations". Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 9 (Aug., 1992): 385-409.
- 2. Barry Wellman, Renita Wong, David Tindall and Nancy Nazer, "A Decade of Network Change: Turnover, Mobility and Stability". Social Networks 19 (January, 1997): 27-50.
- How Do Computer Networks Affect Communities Online and Offline?
- 1. Barry Wellman "The Network Community: An Introduction to Networks in the Global Village." Pp. 1-47 in Networks in the Global Village, edited by Barry Wellman. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. 1999. http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wellman/links/index.html
- 2. Barry Wellman & Milena Gulia, "Net Surfers Don't Ride Alone" In Communities in Cyberspace, edited by Marc Smith and Peter Kollock. Routledge, 1999. A slightly later version in pp. 331-66 in Networks in the Global Village, edited by Barry Wellman. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. 1999. Preliminary draft at: http://www.acm.org/ccp/references/wellman/wellman.html
- 3. Robert Kraut, et al., "The Internet Paradox", The American Psychologist 53 (9), Sept., 1998: 1017-1031. http://www.apa.org/journals/amp/amp5391017.html
- 4. Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash [optional]
- How Do Online Communities Function? (Jerry McDonaugh, guest lecturer)
- 1. Rob Kling, "Social Relations in Electronic Forums" - Kling, 426-54.
- 2. Kristin Mickelson, "Seeking Social Support" - in Kiesler
- 3. Malcolm Parks and Lynne Roberts, "Making MOOsic: The Development of Personal Relationships On Line and a Comparison to their Off-Line Counterparts." Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 15 (4): 517-37.
- 4. Bruce Damer, Stuart Gold, Karen Marcelo, Frank Revi, "Inhabited Virtual Worlds in Cyberspace." http://www.digitalspace.com/papers/vwpaper/vw98chap.html#introduction
- 5. Judith Donath, "Identity and Deception in the Virtual Community."In Smith & Kollock.
- 6. Howard Rheingold, Virtual Community (selections) [optional]
- How do Computer Networks affect Virtual Communities of Inquiry and Practice (Neil Larson, MaxThink, guest lecturer)
- 1. John Walsh and Todd Bayama, "Computer Networks and Scientific Work" - in Kiesler
- 2. Sirrka Jarvenpaa and Dorothy Leidner, "Communication and Trust in Global Virtual Teams." Journal of Computer Mediated Communication 3, 4 (June, 1998): http://www.ascusc.org/jcmc/vol3/issue4/jarvenpaa.html
- 3. Amy Bruckman, "Community Support for Constructionist Learning." http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~asb/papers/cscw.html (Also in Computer Supported Cooperative Work 7 (1998):47-86 [guest lecturer]
- 4. Peter and Trudy Johnson-Lenz, "Rhythms, Boundaries and Containers." http://www.awaken.org
- 5 S. Roxanne Hiltz and Barry Wellman, "Asynchronous Learning Networks as Virtual Communities" Communications of the ACM, 9/97
- 6. Lisa Covi and Rob Kling, "Organizational Dimensions of Effective Digital Library Use" - in Kiesler
- 7. Hal Berghel, et al., ACM Electronic Community Center report, http://www.acm.org/ccp/reports/ccp_rpt_5-30-97.html [optional]
- 8. Marc Smith, "Measuring the Social Structure of the Usenet." In Peter Kollock and Marc Smith, Communities in Cyberspace. http://netscan.sscnet.ucla.edu/ [optional]
- 9. Jeanne Pickering and John Leslie King, "Hardwiring Weak Ties: Interorganizational Computer-Mediated Communication, Occupational Communities, and Organizational Change." Organizational Science 6, 4 (1995): 479-85. [optional]
- III. What are Computer-Supported Social Relationships Like?
- Can Computer-Mediated Communication be Complex?
- 1. Janet Fulk, Joseph Schmitz and Charles Steinfield, "A Social Influence Model of Technology Use." In Organizations and Communication Technology, edited by Fulk and Steinfield (1990): 117-40.
- 2. Joseph Walther, Jeffrey Anderson and David Park, "Interpersonal Effects in Computer-Mediated Interaction." Communication Research 21 (8/94): 460-87.
- 3. Caroline Haythornthwaite and Barry Wellman, "Work, Friendship and Media Use in a Networked Organization" Journal of the American Society for Information Science 49, 12 (Oct, 1998): 1101-14.
- 4. Janet Beavin Bavelas, Sarah Hutchinson, Christine Kenwood and Deborah Hunt Matheson. 1997. "Using Face-to-Face Dialogue as a Standard for Other Communication Systems." Canadian Journal of Communication 22: 5-24. [optional]
- How does Social Status, especially Gender, affect Online Relationships?
- 1. Susan Herring, "Gender and Democracy in Computer Mediated Communication" - Kling, 476-89
- 2. Suzanne Weisband, et al., "Computer-Medated Communication and Social Information." Academy of Management Journal 38, 4 (1995): 1124-1151.
- 3. Byron Rukhalter, "Reading Race Online: Discovering Racial Identity in Usenet Discussions." In Smith & Kollock.
- Development of Information Exchange Networks
- 1. Peter Monge and Noshir Contractor. "Emergence of Communication Networks." In F.M. Jablin & L.L. Putnam, (eds.), Handbook of Organizational Communication (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 1997.
- 2. Noshir Contractor, et al., "Self-Organizing Communication Networks in Organizations." International Communication Association, Jerusalem, Sept., 1998.
- 3. Elizabeth Reid, "Hierarchy and Power: Social Control in Cyberspace." In Smith & Kollock.
- How Do Networks Diffuse Information?
- 1. Thomas Valente and Everett Rogers. "The Origins and Development of the Diffusion of Innovations Paradigm as an Example of Scientific Growth." Science Communication 16, 3 (1995): 242-273.
- 2. Noshir Contractor , Dan Zink and Mike Chan. "IKNOW: A Tool to Assist and Study the Creation, Maintenece, and Dissolution of Knowledge Networks." Presented at Sunblet Social Networks Conference, Sitges, Spain, May, 1998..
- 3. Anatol Rapoport. "Some Problems Relating to Randomly Constructed Biased Networks." Pp. 119-136 in Perspectives on Social Network Research, edited by Paul Holland and Samuel Leinhardt. New York: Academic Press, 1979.
- 4. Allen Pred. Urban Growth and the Circulation of Information: The United States System of Cities, 1790-1840. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1975. [optional].
- How Does Computer Mediated Communication Affect Cooperation?
- 1. Jane Siegel, et al., "Group Processes in Computer-Mediated Communication." Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 37 (1986): 157-87.
- 2. Peter Kollock and Marc Smith, "Managing the Virtual Commons." In Computer-Mediated Communication, edited by Susan Herring. (1996).
- 3. Peter Kollock, "The Economies of Online Cooperation: Gift Exchange and Public Goods in Cyberspace." In Smith & Kollock.
- 4. David Constant, et al, "The Kindness of Strangers" - in Kiesler
- 5. Terry Connolly, "Electronic Brainstorming" - in Kiesler
- 6. S. Roxanne Hiltz, et al. "Experiments in Group Decision Making." Human Communications Research 13, 2 (1986): 225-52. [optional]
- What Sorts of Problematic Effects Does Computer Mediated Communication Have?
- 1. Peter Carnevale and Tahira Probst, "Conflict on the Internet" - in Kiesler
- 2. Steve Whittaker and Candace Sidner, "Email Overload" with Warren Thomgate, "More than We Can Know" - in Kiesler
- IV. What is the Nature of Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Organizations?
- How Have Technological Changes Affected Work Relations? (Christine Pevey, DVC magazine, guest lecturer)
- 1. Laura Garton and Barry Wellman, "Social Impacts of Electronic Mail in Organizations." Communication Yearbook 18 (1995): 434-53.
- 2. Lee Sproull and Sara Kiesler, "Increasing Personal Connections" - Kling, 455-75
- 3. M. Lynne Markus, "Finding a Happy Medium: Exploring the Negative Effects of Electronic Communication on Social Life at Work" - Kling, 490-524
- 4. Barry Wellman, et al., "Computer Networks as Social Networks" Annual Review of Sociology 22 (1996) [optional]
- 5. Stephen Barley, "Technology as an Occasion for Structuring: Evidence from Observation of CT Scanners and the Social Order of Radiology Departments," Administrative Science Quarterly 31 (1986): 78-108. [optional]
- 6. Shoshona Zuboff, In the Age of the Smart Machine (1988): 58-96, 315-61. [optional]
- How Have Computerized Information-Exchange Networks Affected Organizational Structure?
- 1. Ronald Rice, "Network Analysis and Computer-Mediated Communication Systems." In Stanley Wasserman and Joseph Galaskiewicz, Advances in Social Network Analysis (1994): 167-203.
- 2. Robert Kraut and Paul Attewell, "Media Use in a Global Corporation" - in Kiesler
- 3. Michael Scott Morton, "How Information Technologies Can Transform Organizations" - Kling, 148-160
- 7. Wanda Orlikowski, "Learning from Notes" - Kling, 173-89 [review of article read in Infosys 204]
- 8. Martin Neal Baily, "Great Expectations: PCs and Productivity" - Kling, 219-26
- 6. John Leslie King, "Where are the Payoffs from Computerization?" - Kling, 239-60.
- 7. Rob Kling, "Computerization at Work" - Kling, 278-308
- 8 Barry Wellman, et al., "The Virtual Reality of Virtual Organizations." [optional]
- Do Loosely-Coupled Organizations Work?
- 1. Karl Weick, "Educational Organizations as Loosely-Coupled Systems." Administrative Science Quarterly 21 (1976): 1-19.
- 2. Rob Kling, "The Centrality of Organizations in the Computerization of Society" - Kling, 108-132
- 3. Mark Granovetter, "Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness." Pp. 430-51 in Social Structures: A Network Approach, edited by Barry Wellman and S.D. Berkowitz. JAI Press, 1997. [optional longer version in American Journal of Sociology 91 (1985): 481-510.
- 4. Noshir Contractor, et al., "Self-Organizing Communication Networks in Organizations: Validation of a Computational Model Using Exogenous and Endogenous Theoretical Mechanisms." Presented to the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Jerusalem, July, 1998. [optional]
- 5. Emmanuel Lazega and Philippa Pattison, "Social Capital, Multiplex Generalized Exchange and Cooperation in Organizations: A Case Study." Working Paper. [optional]
- 6. Mark Granovetter. 1992. "Economic Institutions as Social Constructions: A Framework for Analysis." Acta Sociologica 35: 3-11. [optional]
- To What Extent Do Network Computing, Personal Computers and Teleworking Represent Conflicts About Organizational Control?
- 1. Rob Kling,"The Institutional Character of Computerized Information Systems,"Technology and People 5, 1 (1989): 7-28.
- 2. Rob Kling, "Coordination, Control and the Internet" - Kling
- Home and Work: Telework
- 1. Janet Salaff, Barry Wellman and Dimitrina Dimitrova, "There's a Time and a Place for Telework." Pp. 11-31 in the Proceedings of the Third International Workshop on Telework, Sept, 1998, Turku Finland. Turku Centre for Computer Science General Publication No. 8.
- 2. Arlie Hochschild, Time Binds (selections; guest lecturer)
- Interorganizational Networks
- 1. Gene Rochlin, Trapped in Cyberspace, chaps. 1, 3, 12. http://www.pupress.princeton.edu/books/rochlin/ (guest lecturer)
- 2. Carl Shapiro and Hal Varian, Information Rules, Chapter 7.
- 3. Manju Ahuja and Kathleen Carley, "Network Structure in Virtual Organizations." Journal of Computer Mediated Communication 3, 4 (June, 1998). http://www.ascusc.org/jcmc/vol3/issue4/ahuja.html
- 4. A. Hadjiyianni, J. Kallas and P. Ktendis, "Identification of Social and Economical Parameters Governing the Formation of a Network Firm." Presented to the International Social Network Conference, Sitges, Spain, May, 1998. [optional]