Establishing Trust via Context, Content, Process, and          Leadership: A Pattern Language Approach                    ...
pattern language is an organized set of patterns designed to           •    An expectation of what happens (based on story...
combined with different backgrounds may lead to mistrust,             ignored if they are temporarily unavailable for a di...
getting feedback and practicing changes.                         facilitators should encourage behaviors that reflected ot...
Earnshaw, R. Guedj, A. van Dam, and J. Vince (Eds.),       Springer-Verlag.Frontiers of human-centered computing, onlineco...
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Chi2006 workshop paper on trust


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A workshop paper for a workshop on trust at CHI 2006

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  1. 1. Establishing Trust via Context, Content, Process, and Leadership: A Pattern Language Approach John C. Thomas IBM T. J. Watson Research Center PO Box 704, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598 USA (01)-914-784-7561ABSTRACT Nonetheless, most of the interactions of most people mostIn this paper, we describe some often overlooked factors of the time were face to face. The characteristics of thisrelating to trust. We describe those parts of a socio- spatial reality automatically worked to help generate trust.technical Pattern Language that should lead to greater trust. One characteristic of typical face to face interactions isThese deal with context, content, process, and leadership. reciprocity of information. When I speak, we can both hearWe describe how some of these apply to a series of large, what I am saying. If I can see you, you can see me.on-line events called “Jams.” Moreover, if we are in close physical proximity, the possibility for doing physical harm is always present.Author Keywords When physical harm does not occur, though it could, trust isTrust, community-building, collaboration, on-line built. Furthermore, it is relatively easy for us to look at ancommunities, problem solving, virtual communities, pattern artifact or vista from nearly the same angle; that is, we arelanguage. largely subject to and aware of the same physical stimuli. The possibility exists for rhythmically coordinated physicalACM Classification Keywords action such as dancing, singing, clapping, rowing a boat,H5.m. Information interfaces and presentation (e.g., HCI): pulling on a rope, and so on. The act of engaging in suchMiscellaneous. activities makes us seem to be part of a larger whole. Even in speech, people tend to coordinate their gestures andINTRODUCTION rhythms. When strangers meet face to face, they oftenPeople in industry, academia, politics, and commerce often engage in shared ritualistic behavior as well; e.g., statingfind themselves engaged in communication, collaboration, names, shaking hands, saluting, exchanging small talk,and transactions taking place at a distance, sometimes with striving to “find connections” of shared experiences,strangers, often without face to face contact. In our people, or places.evolutionary history, this is a relatively recent development,though not unique to the recent proliferation of computing In the widespread remote collaborations that people engageand communication equipment and the Internet. For the in today, some of these many methods for creating andlast few thousand years, some people have followed maintaining trust do not naturally occur. Yet, we know that“orders” purportedly given by kings, priests, and military trust is important. For example, a high degree of mutualleaders, often without personal contact with those leaders. trust is one of four major characteristics of long-livedVarious mechanisms were put in place to insure the organizations deGues, [1]. Putnam et al [2] found it to beveracity of these communications; e.g., a letter might be an excellent indicator of which regions in Italy weresealed with the “King’s Seal;” officers might wear the color “successful” and which ones were not. Researchers writingof the King’s army and insignia designating rank. In many on trust have variously distinguished two, three, or evencases, a chain of trusted associations was used to transfer seven types or dimensions of trust. While these distinctionsinformation across time and space. are important, there is no consensus on a typology. In this paper, I argue that the patterns presented help build mutual trust without specifying the type(s) of trust most affected. I describe some of the aspects of context, content, process, and leadership that may lead to greater mutual trust and show how these may be applied in the case of remote collaborations. I then show how some of these means were used in a series of on-line collaborations called “Jams.” Space does not permit a complete rendering of each of the ideas presented; they are more fully explained in the form of a socio-technical pattern language. A pattern is a named recurring problem along with the outline of a solution. A 1
  2. 2. pattern language is an organized set of patterns designed to • An expectation of what happens (based on storycover a field [3]. The author’s may be found at and experience) can help mold what does anda more extensive collaborative site can be found at Solution: All the sub-groups that need to cooperate in a larger group should get together periodically for a meeting of “Greater Gathering.” This should be periodic and structured. Activities need to be formulated that helpPATTERNS RELATING TO CONTEXTWhat is appropriate at a “beer bash” is quite different from everyone visualize and experience common ground.what is appropriate at a wedding, a funeral, or a cocktail Eating, drinking, dancing, singing, athletic contests, andparty. In the physical world, we have numerous cues about other physical activities should also be included since thesethe types of behavior expected in various places. This is are experiences people will relate to and enjoy regardlesscaptured in a pattern called, Context-setting Entrance of which sub-group they belong to or which sub-problemwhich explains that it is important that the initial screen of a they are working or collaborative interface provide cues about the Examples: Company picnics. Company sponsored sportingtype of behavior that will be appropriate; e.g., how formal events, Boy Scout Jamborees, CHI Conferences, Familyor informal the behavior is expected to be. When people reunions,early IBM yearly 100 % club meetings, the “Jams”are given such cues and they behave appropriately, trust is referred to later in this paper.enhanced. When they do not, trust is diminished, butappropriately so. Without such cues, people may behave in Abstract Social Proxy is a pattern that refers to a display,a way to “accidentally” reduce trust. available equally to all participants, that shows various properties of participation. For example, such aAnother pattern relevant to setting a trust-inducing context representation might show who is “present” in ais Greater Gathering. To give a flavor for the basic format collaboration space, each person’s recent level of activity,of a pattern, this one is shown in shortened form below: history of activity, what tasks they are working on and theGreater Gathering level of completion. Richer descriptions of such proxies and the design rationale behind them may be found in [4].Context: A group of people has been attempting toaccomplish a task effectively and efficiently. To do this, a Another related pattern of use in generating trust iscommon method is to break down a large, complex task Reminders of Shared Goals. While this reminding mayinto smaller, less complex tasks. Often, those people also be dynamically introduced by proper leadershipworking on a subtask naturally spend more time with others activity, a collaborative tool or website can help byon that subtask. Since people spend a lot of time together, providing a statement or icon that reminds people of whythey may develop common interests and also spend leisure they are collaborating in the first place. For example, thetime together as well. Sharing common sub-goals, physical home page of Greenpeace has this statement prominentlycontexts, and leisure activities and working on the same displayed along with poignant and apt images:subtasks may eventually lead to an “in-group” feeling. “Welcome to Greenpeace International: Greenpeace existsProblem: People in the “in-group” may begin to limit their because this fragile Earth deserves a voice. It needslearning because of a lack of diversity in perspective. solutions. It needs change. It needs action.”Furthermore, they may come to work so hard to solve their PATTERNS RELATED TO PROCESSown sub-problem that they lose sight of the larger problemand make sub-optimizing decisions. Other patterns relate to various processes that may help the group to be more productive while simultaneously helpingForces: to build trust. One of these is Small Successes Early. Here is a short version of this pattern. • People working on a common problem often bond as well. Small Successes Early • People working on a common sub-problem often Context: A complex undertaking requires the interaction lose sight of the larger problem. of many people with various backgrounds, skills, and temperaments. They have not worked together before. The • Social sanctions can lead to a lack of diversity of group wants to get started and wants to be successful. perspectives. Problem: Although diversity is a potential source of • All people share certain basic drives. strength, at first, when strangers try to work together, there • Shared special events help build social bonds. is likely to be natural confusion about how to proceed because people will have different experiences about the • People enjoy novel experiences and viewpoints, best way to organize and proceed. This natural confusion, under some circumstances
  3. 3. combined with different backgrounds may lead to mistrust, ignored if they are temporarily unavailable for a discussionblock communication, and limit future success. or decision. Such a process helps bind the interests of the community across the peculiarities of a specific situation.Discussion: At the kick-off to a software developmentproject, rather than “throw” an event for them, encourage Another useful process pattern is presented below.them to organize a party, cookout, pot-luck, song-fest, or Support Flow and Breakdown.storytelling event among themselves. In the process, theywill learn about each other’s styles, to trust each other, and Context: A group of people has been attempting tobe encouraged by success. accomplish some task as effectively and efficiently as possible. To do this, they naturally have developed variousAlternatively, the team might simply work on an easy individual habits, social conventions, and have adoptedaspect of the problem to be solved, provided it is something certain technologies. Now, some change in some aspects offairly clear that will result in “success” quickly. For work is needed. This can be due to a change in the natureinstance, the team might initially work profitably on a short of the problem, the nature of the context in which they arepresentation, poster, or scenario. working, learning, or the invention of new technologicalSolution: Therefore: support. A plan is being developed to manage change.When bringing new teams or organizations together, it is Problem: How can people re-organize their work to reflectuseful to begin with a small success. In this way, people the new situation while at the same time retaining progressbegin to learn about each other and trust each other. This that has been made, keeping what still works and avoidingmakes tackling more difficult problems later relatively the case where people resist change? One way ofeasier. minimizing the need for change being too sudden or radical is to allow change to be more evolutionary and part of theAnother process pattern is Who Speaks for Wolf? See [5] ongoing process of a workgroup, community, orfor an expanded version of this pattern based on a Native organization. How can such learning be incorporated intoAmerican story recounted by Paula Underwood [6]. work processes in such a way that it minimizes anyWho Speaks for Wolf? negative impact on productivity?Context: A group is designing and developing a complex Forces:system such as a new social institution or a complex • People have a drive to learn and practice newinteractive system. There are many stakeholders. skills.Problem: Those responsible for the system may not beaware of the goals, contexts, expertise and perspectives of • People have a drive to acquire new experiences.all the stakeholders. Without these views, the builders will • People have a drive to defend against change thatbuild a system that will probably not be accepted and will is too sudden, radical, or where the consequencesprobably be deficient in major ways. are perceived to be too negative or too uncertain.Discussion: Briefly, a tribe had someone so empathic with • The costs of change tend to be more front-loadedwolves that he was known as “Wolf.” While he was away than the benefits.on a long hunting expedition, the tribe decided to move to anew location. Shortly after, they discovered that they had • People are most productive when they are in amoved into the spring breeding ground of the wolves which state of “flow.”were now stealing food and threatening the children. The • In order to learn effectively, people need to be in atribe now decided to move again, but asked themselves, reflective state about their own behaviors.“How can we prevent ourselves from making a similarmistake in the future?” “If Wolf had been present, he Solution: Intelligent change should be supported bywould have counseled against our move. From now on, instrumenting on-going productive processes so that allwhen we make decisions, we will ask, ‘Who speaks for relevant data is collected with no or minimum impact onwolf?’ to remind us about missing stakeholders.” productivity. When flow breaks down or an integral piece of work is finished, use the data collected during productiveSolution: Therefore, provide automated reminders of work to guide a feedback, reflective learning and practicestakeholders who are not present. These could be cycle.procedural (as the Native Americans who ask, "WhoSpeaks for Wolf?") or technological. Examples: It is not helpful to analyze your strengths and weaknesses and make corrections during a golf match, aSuch a process has benefit beyond an improved solution to speech, or a tightly scheduled software development. It isthe problem. As community members observe this process, helpful to set aside specific times, places, and processes forthey gain trust that their viewpoints and interests will not be 3
  4. 4. getting feedback and practicing changes. facilitators should encourage behaviors that reflected other patterns such as Expressive Communication BuildsSuch a pattern helps build trust for two reasons. First, Mutual Trust, and Follow the Pain. The training sessionspeople are not interrupted during on-going work flow in a themselves which included demonstration and practice withway that draws attention and blame. Second, they can work Babble, constituted a use of Small Successes Early.more confidently in the moment knowing that there will bea later time for reflection and improvement. Several additional Jams have been held; for instance, July 29th through August 1, 2003, all IBMers worldwide werePATTERNS RELATING TO CONTENT encouraged to participate in a 3 day on-line collaborativePatterns also provide some guidance about content. For discussion to develop new defining values for IBM. Fiftyinstance, Expressive Communication Builds Mutual Trust thousand IBMers viewed some of the Jam content, and oversuggests that communications such as stories that reveal 10,000 posted. Within a few weeks of the summary beingsomething about the personality, interests, and values of the posted, over 200,000 IBMers globally viewed the article onteller are more trust-inducing than are merely the Intranet. The design rationale for using this mechanism“instrumental” communications that describe objective to develop values is laid out in a Harvard Business Reviewreality or attempt to achieve some business goal. interview with the IBM CEO (2004).One of the patterns that can help guide on-line discussions On December 1-3, 2005, IBM co-sponsored, along withis Follow the Pain, an expression taken from Gerry Spence UN-Habitat and the government of Canada, a world-wide[7]. Basically, he suggests that when someone gets angry, on-line Jam to discuss how to make cities better and morethe natural reaction is to become defensive and get angry sustainable. In the spirit of Who Speaks for Wolf? aback. A more effective technique is to determine what the number of mechanisms were used to extend this Jam tohurt is beneath the anger and to address that hurt. stakeholders who had no direct access to the Internet. Jam participants registered from all 191 UN-member countries.Another guide for effective content (on-line or face to face) There were 459,402 page to focus on “I-talk” rather than “you-talk.” “I get nervouswhen the car is moving so fast” typically causes less CONCLUSIONdefensiveness than, “You drive too fast.” Patterns provide a succinct way to capture what works in terms of facilitating on-line trust. These can be used both toPATTERNS RELATING TO LEADERSHIP aid in the design of on-line systems and in guiding humanSeveral patterns relate specifically to suggestions about behavior in the use of the systems.leadership. For example, a higher level pattern is SpecialRoles and then there are several specific varieties such as REFERENCESRater, Facilitator, Moderator, Stake Warrior, and 1.De Gues, A. (1997). The living company. Boston, MA:Authority Figure. Harvard Business School Press.EXAMPLE: PATTERNS INHERENT IN ON-LINE “JAMS” 2.Putnam, R.D., Leonardi, R., Nanetti, R. (1993). MakingPartly inspired by a paper [8], in May 21-24, 2001, all democracy work: Civic traditions in modern Italy.300,000 IBMers were invited to participate in “WorldJam”, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University on-line collaborative meeting to improve IBM organized 3.Alexander, C., Ishikawa, S., Silverstein, M. Jacobson, M.,around 10 topics. Fifty two-thousand visitors showed up Fiksdahl-King, I. and Angel, S. (1977). A patternand viewed an average of six postings each. Over 6000 language. New York: Oxford University Press.suggestions were made. Results were analyzed into 4.Erickson, T. and Kellogg, W.A. (2000). Socialcategories using natural language clustering techniques. translucence: An approach to designing systems thatThe Jam itself was an example of Greater Gathering. support social processes. ACM Transactions onThe prospect of having employees discuss company Computer-Human Interaction, 7(1), pp. 59-83.problems and how to solve them could prove daunting. In 5.Thomas, J. (2002). “Who Speaks for Wolf?” IBMthis case, people used their normal user ID’s and hence Research Report. RC-22644.contributions were easily traceable to individuals.Moreover, both the website itself and preliminary publicity 6.Underwood, P. (1983). Who speaks for Wolf: A Nativewere used to create a Context-Setting Entrance. An American Learning Story. Georgetown TX (now SanAbstract Social Proxy was designed into the website. Anselmo, CA): A Tribe of Two Press.Another was also provided a back-channel (Babble) for 7.Spence, G. (1995). How to argue and win every time.moderators, facilitators, and the technical support staff to New York: St. Martin’s Press.communicate any problems or solutions (Support Flow 8.Thomas, J. C. (2001). An HCI Agenda for the Nextand Breakdown).. The site also used Reminders of Shared Millennium: Emergent Global Intelligence. In R.Goals. In training sessions, we suggested moderators and
  5. 5. Earnshaw, R. Guedj, A. van Dam, and J. Vince (Eds.), Springer-Verlag.Frontiers of human-centered computing, onlinecommunities, and virtual environments. London: 5