Joining together online: The trajectory of CSCW scholarship on group formation

Alexa M. Harris, Diego Gómez-Zará, Leslie A. Dechurch, Noshir S. Contractor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The field of Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) has an enduring interest in studying and designing technologies that bring people together in partnerships, teams, crowds, communities, and other collectives. As the technologies enabling group formation have evolved, so too have the guiding questions pursued by CSCW scholars. This review outlines the trajectory of scholarship on group formation with an eye towards the most pressing future questions in this area. To understand how CSCW researchers have studied technology-enabled group formation, we systematically review articles published at CSCW from 1992 to 2018. Exploring more than 2,000 potentially relevant works, we identified 35 focused on technologies and group formation. Content coding and thematic analysis revealed four periods and six themes in the study of online group formation. These themes include: group composition, self-presentation, assembly mechanisms, recruitment, organizing structures, and group culture. Quo vadis? Based on our review, we offer recommendations for the next generation of CSCW scholarship seeking to understand and enable collectives joining together online.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number148
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • CSCW models
  • Communities
  • Crowds
  • Group assembly
  • Group formation
  • Groups
  • Systematic literature review
  • Teams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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