1. bookVolume 18 (2021): Issue 2 (December 2021)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2256-0173
First Published
16 Jun 2016
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

The Difference Between Legal Control and Material Control - Coordination of Access Rights in Shared Workspaces

Published Online: 30 Dec 2021
Page range: 15 - 27
Received: 03 Sep 2021
Accepted: 23 Nov 2021
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2256-0173
First Published
16 Jun 2016
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

Research purpose. Modern work is increasingly taking place in temporary workgroups embedded in decentralized work environments that transcend organizational boundaries. The first implementations of the shared workspace idea emerged in the 1990s in the CSCW research area and are now firmly integrated into the working world with systems such as Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox. However, when it comes to accessing documents, problems arise in terms of coordinating access to documents. Who can access the documents, modify them, and upload them back to the shared workspace? It should be noted that concurrent changes can lead to inconsistencies. Furthermore, incorrect changes to the content of documents can have economic and legal consequences. Who is responsible for this? Strict access control can avoid this problem if necessary. However, it contradicts the approach of agile cooperation, which benefits, among other things, from access to documents that is not restricted in terms of time and place.

Design / Methodology / Approach. The article proposes a semantic approach for access coordination of shared workspaces. Its basis is the legal distinction between the levels of legal control (owner) and material control (possessor). The owner of an object has the right and the duty to allow the other participants of the shared workspace to access it, i.e., to have material control. This is done through an agreement between the owner and the possessor, which specifies the conditions of material control. In addition to coordinating access, the owner is also responsible for arbitrating in case of conflict and deciding which changes are valid and which are not.

Findings. Transferring the distinction between owner and possessor leads to three possible classes of conflicts: Ownership vs ownership, ownership vs possession, and possession vs possession. Conflict schemes within these classes of conflict are analyzed in detail. On the one hand, it is possible to use strict, conflict-avoiding settings, but this tends to limit cooperation. On the other hand, greater cooperation agility can be enabled if the owner situationally controls access or if the owner has preset flexible response tactics in case a conflict arises. A closer look at possible conflict classes shows that it is necessary to adapt the legal concepts of owner and possessor to the cooperation situation.

Originality / Value / Practical implications. The concept of the legal distinction between owner and possessor has not yet been applied to the domain of access coordination in shared workspaces. This approach can introduce the previously missing semantics for access coordination, at least on an informal basis. It also improves participants’ awareness of the context of cooperation.

Keywords

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