Theorizing it
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Theorizing IT. Eric Monteiro NTNU and Univ. i Oslo 460 Spring 2003. ”One-way traffic”. ’everything imported’ … Technology traditionally second order citizen … or rather incorporated already Ex.: Phenomenology (structure of expectations)

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Theorizing IT

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Theorizing it

Theorizing IT

Eric Monteiro

NTNU and Univ. i Oslo

460 Spring 2003


One way traffic

”One-way traffic”

  • ’everything imported’ …

  • Technology traditionally second order citizen

  • … or rather incorporated already

    • Ex.: Phenomenology (structure of expectations)

    • Ex.: Structuration theory (Orlikowski =/= Walsham)


The contiunuum

The contiunuum

Social determ.

Tech. determ

Causal

Ed Moses

User centered

Tailorability

End-user computing

’participation’


The contiunuum1

The contiunuum

”Contradictory”

Dan Robey

Social determ.

Tech. determ

Causal

Ed Moses

User centered

Tailorability

End-user computing

’participation’


The foucaultian heritage

The Foucaultian heritage

structural

mechanisms


The foucaultian heritage1

The Foucaultian heritage

’performative’

’productive’

Actually achieved

….

Process orieneted

structural

mechanisms

Ex.: - Portugues vessels / long distance control

- Panopticon

- New Public Management, auditing


Mechanisms a few issues

’Mechanisms’ – a few issues

  • supporting vs. transforming action

    • M Berg’s critique of CSCW

    • Bowker & Star’s ’convergence’ (ex. Kodak)

  • intended vs. unintended outcomes

    • control

    • ”the slight surprise of action”

  • producer vs. consumer

    • inscription

  • in isolation vs. concerted

    • network

  • descriptive vs. political

    • ”politics by other means”


It the problem too often

IT: ”The problem, too often”

”stable”

”discrete”

”independent”

”fixed”

”monolithic”


State of the art a la orlikowski

State-of-the-art (a la Orlikowski)

Ensemble - network

Proxy - characteristics

Tool - black-boxed, stable

Computational - algorithmic

Nominal - generic


Theorizing it

…more…

  • ”stable”- ongoing/provisional/performed

    • Ex.: wanda’s help desk

  • ”discrete”- network/alliances/alignment

    • Ex.: integration of electronic patient record systems

  • ”independent”- irreversibility

    • Ex.: installed base

  • ”fixed”- unplanned, drifting, improvisation

    • Ex.: sinking plattforms

  • ”monolithic”- never only one network

    • Ex.: mobile phones + internet


Theorizing it

ANT

  • With fidelity, clearly a candidate

  • Strategicly formated argument by Wanda O

  • Fidelity, but how … ?

    • Method gone mad

    • The rational man

    • Drift, improvisation and all that

    • Politics


1 sense making

1. Sense-making

  • ANT encourages excessive bureacracy

    • Endless enumerations of components

    • Networks are never-ending

  • The fundamental principle of hermeneutics … ?

    • Klein & Myers, MISQ 1999

  • Relevance ?


2 rationality

2. Rationality

  • Crudely : ANT is goal-directed (agendas, interests, translations)

  • Response

    • ”always overtaken by action” (Pandora)

    • Last decade, more projects and less ethographies

  • Symbolic aspects

    • ’culture’


3 drift etc

3. Drift etc.

  • Projects always drift (Claudio)

  • … but what then ?

  • Structure to drift – or anything goes ?

    • Relevance to practioners

    • Analytically problematic


4 politics

4. Politics

  • Critique : purely descriptive (L Winner)

  • Response

    • The politics of mechanisms

    • ’Politics by other means’

  • Increasingly hollow ?


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