Chapter X The Mobile Workplace: Collaboration in a Vast Setting

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Daniel Normark

The Interactive Institute, Sweden and

Göteborg University, Sweden

Mattias Esbjörnsson

The Interactive Institute, Sweden

Abstract

This chapter discusses how truly mobile occupational groups relate to

locations in a vast working area when collaborating with each other. It

brings forth two ethnographic studies on mobile professionals working on

the road. Their work setting has predominantly been described from a

perspective where they are isolated in the driver’s seat. However, seeing

that the environment in which they drive through constitutes their

workplace, the chapter examines their relation to the surroundings when

performing their tasks. The empirical data illustrates the importance of

mutual understanding of locations to successfully perform collaborative

tasks. For example, coordinates supplied by a GPS receiver are not

sufficient in the performance of their tasks. It is rather the mutual

understanding of locations, being in proximity or other visual clues that

are of importance. We argue the need for a detailed understanding

regarding the use of locations to succeed in the development of future

mobile position-based services.