[Air-l] Listserv research

Dr. Steve Eskow drseskow at cox.net
Fri Sep 22 20:25:21 PDT 2006


Perhaps the key variable is not "governance," but the idea of an "agenda':
some sort of organizing center that is more specific than the concern that
is at the center of many online groups. 

In the "Fielding model," to the extent that I understand it, the agenda that
brings an online group into being is a "KA," a "Knowledge Area." Is that
right? That "KA," although open to many variations, is defined in advance by
the institution; all members of the group are required to complete the "KA";
and although the faculty member is nominally a democratic leader , he or she
has some authority. And, of course, the members are all highly motivated:
they all need to complete the KA as part of their search for a graduate

Most online groups do not have that clarity of structure, do not have an
"agenda' in that sense, although they have a zone of interest, members have
different motivations for joining and differing levels of interest.

Hypothesis: Tuckman only applies when a "group"--online or face-to-face--has
a clear "agenda," a clear set of obligations for participants, and an
authority structure in place and visible and respected.

Steve Eskow

-----Original Message-----
From: Rosanna Tarsiero [mailto:rosanna at gionnethics.com] 
Sent: Friday, September 22, 2006 7:49 PM
To: drseskow at cox.net; air-l at listserv.aoir.org
Subject: RE: [Air-l] Listserv research


You wrote:
"How would a "governance" that is "problematic" relate to the Tuckman

It has much to do with what you wrote here, IMHO: 
"One hunch: this kind of loose federation, with members joining at different
times, dropping in and out, isn't really a "group" at all in the sense that
Tuckman thinks of groups. If that is so, the group is always "forming" for
some--you mention that you are new, so you're "forming"-- and "storming" and
"norming" and "performing" go on together and endlessly, rather than in
clearly marked stages."

There is a lot of fuss, and a lot of studies, about "community", online as
well as offline. The bottom line of what makes a community is participation
in shared governance forms (any form).

When groups form and especially *norm*, they create rules as well as
procedures to create new rules and change old ones, ie governance.

That's why I said that whenever there is a governance problem Tuckman can't
be applied, in my opinion. If governance is problematic, there can be no

"In which case Tuckman doesn't apply."

In fact, I wholeheartedly agree with you.


More information about the Air-L mailing list