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The structurational model of technology (Orlikowski, 1991) 

The structurational model of technology (Orlikowski, 1991) 

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Conference Paper
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In this paper we present potential insights provided by Giddens' structuration theory to study the effects of cultural differences experienced by western companies establishing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software in their Chinese subsidiaries. We use the data from a case study of a French firm's ERP project in its Chinese subsidiary to demo...

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Context 1
... himself has written very little that directly relates to technology. In the original book “Constitution of society” (Giddens, 1984), there is a short reference to the role of IT in time space distantiation. He argues that email and video may substitute to some extent for face-to-face interaction in achieving social integration. However, there are no further references relating IT systems to structural properties. Nevertheless, many IS researchers have made reference to Giddens’ theory in their work. The most influential of these has been the Orlikowski (1991). She has suggested the term “duality of technology” to explain that “technology is created and changed by human action, yet it is also used by humans to accomplish some action”. She also argues the importance of “time-space discontinuity” between software design and its use. Figure 2, which is taken from Orlikowski (1991), presents the relationship between institutional properties, human agents and technology. Orlikowski emphasizes the fact that the different relationships between human agents, institutional properties and technology may vary over time and sometimes, act in contradiction with one another, thus creating points of tension that may give rise to change and transformation. From this schema (Figure 2), Orlikowski draws four key influences that operate continuously and simultaneously in the interaction between technology and organizations: • Information technology is the outcome of human action being developed and used by humans. • Information technology is also the means of other human action, serving to facilitate the accomplishment of computer mediated-work or communication. • Information technology is built and used within particular social contexts. • Interaction with information technology influences the social contexts within which it is built and used. Our study will be focused on the two last points in the context of a French firm attempting to implement an ERP system in China. On the one hand, we can affirm that the current problems from the ERP system occurred because it was originally designed and developed within a particular social context but used within other social contexts, and on the other hand the IT solution influences the social contexts within which it is used. In the following section, we present a discussion of a situation of conflict between the design of software in the west and its use in China. We argue that structuration theory and the ‘technology’ dimension added by Orlikowski, as presented above, informs this discussion and provides valuable ...
Context 2
... himself has written very little that directly relates to technology. In the original book “Constitution of society” (Giddens, 1984), there is a short reference to the role of IT in time space distantiation. He argues that email and video may substitute to some extent for face-to-face interaction in achieving social integration. However, there are no further references relating IT systems to structural properties. Nevertheless, many IS researchers have made reference to Giddens’ theory in their work. The most influential of these has been the Orlikowski (1991). She has suggested the term “duality of technology” to explain that “technology is created and changed by human action, yet it is also used by humans to accomplish some action”. She also argues the importance of “time-space discontinuity” between software design and its use. Figure 2, which is taken from Orlikowski (1991), presents the relationship between institutional properties, human agents and technology. Orlikowski emphasizes the fact that the different relationships between human agents, institutional properties and technology may vary over time and sometimes, act in contradiction with one another, thus creating points of tension that may give rise to change and transformation. From this schema (Figure 2), Orlikowski draws four key influences that operate continuously and simultaneously in the interaction between technology and organizations: • Information technology is the outcome of human action being developed and used by humans. • Information technology is also the means of other human action, serving to facilitate the accomplishment of computer mediated-work or communication. • Information technology is built and used within particular social contexts. • Interaction with information technology influences the social contexts within which it is built and used. Our study will be focused on the two last points in the context of a French firm attempting to implement an ERP system in China. On the one hand, we can affirm that the current problems from the ERP system occurred because it was originally designed and developed within a particular social context but used within other social contexts, and on the other hand the IT solution influences the social contexts within which it is used. In the following section, we present a discussion of a situation of conflict between the design of software in the west and its use in China. We argue that structuration theory and the ‘technology’ dimension added by Orlikowski, as presented above, informs this discussion and provides valuable ...