Beki Grinter

Arguments about IT

In computer science, discipline, HCI, research on October 6, 2009 at 6:18 am

I meant to post this a long time ago. And guess what it’s work related. I have colleagues that separate their work and personal lives more effectively in blog form than I do (either through omission in one category, or through having two separate blogs…). My lives are more intertwined I suppose!

So, anyway, here are some ways in which ICTs are made manifest in arguments. Each one highlights perspectives on machinery, making some explanations possible, and others less so.

— from the past…

Well this seems appropriate given my previous post (which is not actually my previous post).  I should have known that someone somewhere would have written about this… what are the different ways that we think about machines and what do those positions make it possible to explain or not?

It’s an analysis of a journal, I can’t remember which one, but it looks at the ways (metaphors)

Read a paper by Orlikowski and Iacono that I found really fascinating.

How do scholars conceptualize the IT artifact.

Tool View: as engineered artifact doing what it is supposed to do. (In a historical order I think)

  • Labor substitution: technologies substitute/replace labor
  • Productivity: labor augmentation
  • Information Processing: helping humans, organizations process information
  • Social Relations: ICTs may alter social relations, hierarchies, processes,

Proxy View:  one or few key elements of ICT stand for the essential value of IT.

  • Perception: IT represented by measures of users perceptions of the technology (e.g., “ease of use)
  • Diffusion: IT represented by measures of diffusion within some socio-institutional context (e.g., how many current users)
  • Capital: IT represented by financial (e.g., costs associated)

Ensemble View: technology is part of a package of things that make it happen in a socio-economic context

  • Development Project: IT is a “work in progress”, social process of designing and implementing IT.
  • Production Network: IT development with a focus on industry/nation-state level.
  • Embedded System: IT evolving system in a complex and dynamic social context
  • Structure: IT enmeshed in the contexts/conditions of its use—structuration

Computational View

  • Algorithm: IT as algorithmic, the algorithms that accomplish the systems
  • Model: IT models social, economic or informational phenomena

Nominal: IT barely mentioned (e.g., studies of CIO compensation)

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