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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
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

slide10
…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
slide11
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 ?