This thesis investigates and discusses how workers in nomadic work environments communicate using genres of communication. Work praxis in several nomadic work environments is investigated with a focus on the use of Information and Communicational Technology (ICT). The use of these ICTs is analyzed using communication genre theory, and media richness theory to analyze the form of the genres, i.e. the media. In addition, Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS) is analyzed using the same concepts with the aim of investigating the possibilities of genres of multimedia messaging in the nomadic work environments that have been studied.
Five case studies, which investigate four blue-collar work environments and the work environment of soda salesmen, have been conducted. The investigation of the case studies follows the Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) ‘tradition’, focusing on the use of ICT services in collaborative activities. The work environments are all examples of typical service professions where the work tasks require that the workers travel to the customers’ location. The results show that the workers use several different media (e.g ICTs) and that the media are better suited in some communication situations than in others. The mobility properties of the media that are used and in which way they support the mobility requirements of the workers influence the way they are used by the workers, the micro mobility properties are especially important while the local mobility properties are not utilized as intended by the administration. Another important result is that the introduction of a new media into a work environment has little impact on the use of the existing media. In general it can be stated that the media that are used are well-suited for the communication situations that they are used in.
The investigation shows that MMS messages have medium media richness. They have many of the same characteristics as SMS messages, but the ability to send pictures makes them appropriate to use for communication where SMS does not offer sufficient richness. MMS messages are best suited for communicating problems regarding task work and for documenting tasks that have been completed.
These findings suggest that the administration in nomadic work environments should reconsider the use of communication media to handle the flow of information to make sure that the media are well-suited for the communication situations they are used in. The aim of this thesis is also to increase the current understanding of the use of communication media and the importance of mobility of both people and technology in work environments.