This thesis challenges to understand communication process in computer supported collab- oration among professionals with different knowledge background. Regarding collaboration is a social communication process facilitated by artifacts, we consider common ground and the practice of sign systems to be two theoretical constructs that are useful for under- standing collaboration. With the concept of boundary objects, we introduce a view of computational artifacts as boundary objects and describe the collaborative process as a creative process of unique local language (project jargon) in the development process of common ground. The practice of sign systems in computational artifacts will provide a complementary explanation for this view of common ground. We show that semiotics in computational artifacts can explain the importance of signs to reify professionals tacit knowledge in computer mediated collaborations. Furthermore, we try to show how the practice of sign systems contributes the development process of common ground in inter- cultural collaboration. Using statistical conversation analysis and ethnigraphical inquiry techniques such as observation and interviewing, we study the communication process of five intercultural collaborations from the software design domain as well as the architecture and product design domains. In order to understand intercultural collaboration, this thesis presents several cases including two cases not facilitated by computational artifacts. The collabora- tion we consider can be understood as a combination of creative process and cooperative practice, the latter of which is a highly established routine work where one culture is dominant and has been a central investigation target in Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). The former is our target where the differences of stakeholders are wider and where intercultural collaboration is critical. Our analysis of five different intercultural collaborations cases allows us to outline some salient features of intercultural collaboration and its communication. Our observation of the intercultural collaboration process suggest that when professionals with different knowledge background collaborate for collective concern in the early design period, their collaboration style is characterized by creating local and temporary alignment of practices facilitated by complexes of interrelated communication modalities carried by artifacts. Our study of how computational artifacts are used as boundary objects and how project jargon is created and used in work situations facilitated by computational artifacts has deepened our understanding of collaboration among professionals with different knowledge background. In this way, the thesis provides insight on collaboration in situations where professionals with unique abilities and knowledge work together to solve complex objectives. Since the thesis deals with phenomena for which little prior work exist, it has been necessary to take a somewhat exploratory approach. The thesis, however, still aims at clarifying the main components of this kind of collaboration and making a foundation for further studies.
Yasuoka, M. (2009). Bridging and Breakdowns - Using computational artifacts across social worlds. Methods.