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Intra- and Inter-Cultural Usability in Computer-Supported Collaboration

Ravi Vatrapu and Dan Suthers

Journal of Usability Studies, Volume 5, Issue 4, August 2010, pp. 172 - 197

Article Contents


Research Questions

Four separate lines of empirical research have demonstrated thatculture influences social behavior,(House et al., 2004), communication(Hall, 1977), cognitive processes(Nisbett & Norenzayan, 2002), and interacting with computers (Vatrapu & Suthers, 2007). These four lines of empirical research were integrated into a conceptual framework, and an experimental study was designed to empirically evaluate the framework. The primary purpose of the study was to answer two basic research questions. The first research question asked “To what extent does culture influence the appropriation of socio-technical affordances?” The second research question asked “To what extent does culture influence technological intersubjectivity?” As mentioned before, an experimental study was originally designed and conducted to answer these two primary research questions. Several theoretical predictions were generated from prior empirical evidence (Hall, 1977; House et al., 2004; Nisbett & Norenzayan, 2002) warranting the claim that both the perception and appropriation of affordances vary across cultures and that interpersonal perceptions and relations also vary across cultures (see Vatrapu, 2007, 2008). This paper presents a usability analysis of the empirical data generated by the experimental study. Specifically, this paper seeks to answer the following two research questions on cultural usability in computer-supported collaboration settings:

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