Resource title

Diffuse collaboration: copying as a collective activity

Resource image

image for OpenScout resource :: Diffuse collaboration: copying as a collective activity

Resource description

Based on observations of patterns of interactions in copier rooms conducted at three different sites, this paper claims that making copies is a collective activity involving the joint activity of a number of people. Because such collaboration is often neither taking place at a single point in place or time nor between identified participants, this activity often goes unnoticed, and even becomes invisible. The authors call it diffuse collaboration. The paper describes the activity of copying as a combination of the "target task" (operating the copier) and support activities. It then turns to evidence of the different types of collaboration involved. It shows that the orchestration of diffuse collaboration varies with and is a reflection of the organizational context. The paper broadens the notion of collaboration and provides a frame of the network of cooperative links involved in the activity of copying. It closes by proposing some implications for space and organizational design.

Resource author

Resource publisher

Resource publish date

Resource language


Resource content type


Resource resource URL

Resource license

Copyright INSEAD. All rights reserved