This essay briefly considers the increasingly important role of computer-mediated tools in effective organizational communications: (1) electronic mail, offering one-to-one communication; (2) electronic conferencing, offering many-to-many communication; and (3) corporatewide information systems (CWIS), offering one-to-many communication. It then proceeds to explore in greater detail the role that a new generation of computer software, so-called groupware, is coming to play as an enabler and enhancer of these technologies, thus transforming information resource management (IRM) within the modern organization. The author illustrates his points through the use of three mini-case studies. The first and primary example considers the impact of groupware on the operations of Babson College. The Babson study is supplemented by two summary references to the use of similar products within a global accounting/consulting firm and within a large U.S. government agency.
This essay was prepared for the American Archivist in October 1992. Although some of the bibliographic notes have been superseded, the concepts and issues addressed in this paper are as relevant today as they were when originally written.