CSCW 2014 Lasting Impact Award

Dr. Jonathan Grudin

Why CSCW Applications Fail: Problems in the Design and Evaluation of Organizational Interfaces

CSCW 2014 will host a special session in honor of the paper awarded the inaugural CSCW Lasting Impact Award.

The CSCW Lasting Impact Award Committee is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2014 CSCW Lasting Impact Award is Dr. Jonathan Grudin, who is being recognized for his seminal paper Why CSCW Applications Fail: Problems in the Design and Evaluation of Organizational Interfaces, which was published in the Proceedings of CSCW 1988.

This influential paper challenged why CSCW systems that seemed otherwise well-poised to succeed actually failed due to a variety of primarily organizational concerns. Grudin’s reasons for failure were generally applied by others to reconsider other system successes and failures. The concepts introduced in his article are still routinely invoked both to explain system failure and to motivate organizationally-oriented design. His work laid the framework for broad conceptual analysis of social systems from a perspective that was unusual at the time, and which still needs to be communicated to new audiences of students and practitioners today.

Jonathan Grudin has degrees in physics, mathematics, and cognitive psychology. The work being recognized was based on his experiences as a software developer at Wang Laboratories and written while he was at the consortium MCC in Austin, Texas. He was subsequently at Aarhus University and the University of California, Irvine before taking his current position as Principal Researcher at Microsoft. He was Editor of ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction and on the National Academy of Sciences Human-Systems Integration Board. He is an ACM Fellow and SIGCHI Academy member. Coincidentally, the first CHI conference was held near Wang Laboratories in Boston in 1983 and the first CSCW conference was held in the MCC building in Austin in 1986. As a developer interested in research, Jonathan registered for them, realized that his work belonged in them, and has been active in the organization of both conference series since. Links to his publications are at

About the Award

This is the inaugural year for the CSCW Lasting Impact Award, which will henceforth be awarded annually at the ACM CSCW conference to recognize a paper published at the CSCW conference at least 10 years prior that has been extremely influential since its publication. After a public call for nominations, the award winner was determined by the Lasting Impact Award Committee, which consists of past CSCW Papers Chairs. This year’s committee members were:

Saul Greenberg, University of Calgary (CSCW 1998 & 2006 Papers Chair)
Irene Greif (CSCW 1986 Papers Chair)
Sara Kiesler, Carnegie Mellon University (CSCW 2000 Papers Chair)
Cliff Lampe, University of Michigan (CSCW 2013 Papers Chair)
Meredith Ringel Morris, Microsoft Research (CSCW 2014 Papers Chair)
Gary Olson, UC Irvine (CSCW 1996 Papers Chair)
Madhu Reddy, The Pennsylvania State University (CSCW 2014 Papers Chair)
Tom Rodden, University of Nottingham (CSCW 2002 Papers Chair)
Loren Terveen, University of Minnesota (CSCW 2013 Papers Chair)
Steve Whittaker, UC Santa Cruz (CSCW 2010 Papers Chair)