Online, nobody really knows if they are in a group; or what being in a group means. In fact, technologically mediated groups and communities are not experienced by their members in the same way that their face to face equivalents are.

To understand these differences, computational social scientists must begin to think more clearly at the small group unit of analysis. Dr Sean P. Goggins refers to this transformative shift as Group Informatics. Unlike prior work examining distributed teams with multiple collocated cohorts, Group Informatics research focuses on a new form of social organization, the small naturally asynchronous group (SNAG). Such groups are technologically mediated in the sense that members perform most work when not collocated. SNAGs rely on computer mediated communication for the performance of group work, the maintenance of group identity and to meet individual member needs.

This talk will describe the application of Group Informatics approaches to identifying group emergence and leadership behaviours in Government-NGO coordination during the crisis following the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, in software engineering teams on GitHub, in online learning teams and political discourse on Twitter and Facebook.


Dr. Sean P. Goggins currently leads the NSF-funded ³Toward a Context Adaptive Theory of the Relationship Between Structural Fluidity and Virtual Organization Performance² (2012-August 2015). This research is focused on developing measures of virtual organizational change, and connecting those measures to leadership, participation and performance on distributed teams. To date, this work has yielded two research articles (Goggins & Mascaro, 2013; Goggins, 2013) and four others in review or under development. Dr. Goggins is also a PI on an Office of Naval Research Grant Focused on Macrocognition and Leadership Identification in Distributed Teams, in Partnership with Carolyn Rose, Marcela Borge, Emily Patterson and Andrew Duchon; and COPI on Three other NSF Funded awards examining various aspects of teamwork across social and technical contexts. Dr. Goggins received his Ph.D from the University of Missouri in 2009 and is an Assistant Professor at the College of Information Science and Technology at Drexel University.

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