We all recognize how first impressions color potential human relationships. In real life, we tend to be drawn to others who exhibit proper etiquette and suitable conduct similar to our own. An encounter with someone ill-mannered or with bad habits typically sparks a reaction of distrust or displeasure. So, as we invite software systems to play an increasingly intimate and autonomous role in our daily lives, is it any wonder we look for these tools to display the kind of etiquette rules we favor in human relationships?
A growing community of researchers, practitioners, educators, psychologists, and sociologists are exploring the etiquette perspective, believing systems that display proper behavior not only win user acceptance, but enhance the accuracy and speed with which users develop trust and confidence in systems and software. This month's special section examines human-computer etiquette with intentional agents, namely, complex systems built with "social actors" displaying subtle rules of decorum befitting human-like collaborators. Guest editor Christopher Miller, chief scientist at Smart Information Flow Technologies, explains the etiquette perspective is a field in its infancy; it is the goal of this section to bring the early research to the forefront. The authors provide a variety of perspectives on the use and potential of etiquette-based design, including many examples of its application and utility.
Also in this issue, Krishna et al. contend a critical step in managing global software projects is to examine the cross-cultural issues that may hinder progress. Wallace and Keil explore the relationship between the risks related to software projects and their ultimate outcomes. With multimillion-dollar failures dominating track records, their findings offer valuable insight managers must consider before initiating a project.
It may be unrealistic to expect users to apply (and remember) a different password for every online account they keep, but as Ives et al. warn, the practice of reusing passwords poses a real domino threat of untold damage on heretofore secure systems. Li discusses the implications of "herding," that is, the practice of managers following the same IT adoption decisions rather than thinking strategically and independently.
In "The Profession of IT," Peter Denning celebrates innovation by tracing the roots of some of the industry's classic innovative notions and illustrating ways innovation can be better understood. And in "Technical Opinion," John Gerdes offers a rare look at the mechanisms that support anonymous employment while addressing government reporting requirements.
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