Article
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

This paper argues that Gibson's concept of affordance inserts a powerful conceptual lens for the study of sociomateriality as enacted in contemporary organizational practices. Our objective in this paper is to develop a comprehensive view of affordances that builds upon the existing conceptualizations in the psychology, human–computer interaction, sociology and information systems literatures and extend them in three important ways. First, we show that taking an integrative interpretation of affordance as dispositional and relational, rather than the standard unidimensional interpretation, provides a theoretical articulation of how the material and the social influence each other. Second, we propose to broaden the focus from the affordances of technology to the affordances for practice provided jointly by technology and organizing. This means considering social affordances alongside technological affordances. Finally, we argue that the best way to integrate the study of social and technological affordances is not to stretch Gibson's original concept to include the social but rather to complement it with a sociological concept that fits it neatly: Bourdieu's idea of habitus. Our claim is that the concepts of affordance and habitus complement and complete each other. Affordance offers a useful way of thinking about how practice is patterned by the social and physical construction of technology and the material environment and habitus offers a useful way of thinking about how practice is patterned by social and symbolic structures. We describe how affordances and habitus may be used together to provide a theoretical apparatus to study practice as a sociomaterial entanglement, thus adding to the methodological toolkit of scholars embracing a sociomaterial perspectives.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... Therefore, compared with other social media platforms, the change of short videos in information presentation and reception is more attractive to users. Ordinary users mainly use short videos for entertainment, escapism, and peeking (Fayard and Weeks, 2014;Omar and Dequan, 2020;Rach and Peter, 2021). Although selfpresentation is also one of the motivations for people to use short videos, in this context, the goals of ordinary users and vloggers are not different. ...
... Based on the affordance perspective, Norman (1988) believed that the perceived affordance was subject to the mental models of users. Users can perceive a range of action possibilities from technology, but the nature and level of the perceived affordance depend on the goals and usage scenarios of users (Fayard and Weeks, 2014). Thus, based on affordance theory, this study infers those goals for short video use will facilitate the perceived explainability of recommendation algorithms. ...
... However, few studies explore the algorithmic resistance among ordinary users. Some scholars claim that the variations in an affordance may relate to different outcomes, even contradictory behavior (Fayard and Weeks, 2014;Evans et al., 2016). Thus, our findings supplement empirical evidence to support how perceived algorithmic affordance might trigger the behavioral outcomes of resistance. ...
Article
Full-text available
Algorithms embedded in media applications increasingly influence individuals’ media practice and behavioral decisions. However, it is also important to consider how the influence of such algorithms can be resisted. Few studies have explored the resistant outcomes of the interactions with algorithms. Based on an affordance perspective, this study constructed a formation framework of algorithmic resistance in the context of short videos in China. Survey responses from 2,000 short video users to test the model. Exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, and structural equation modeling were used for data analysis. The findings reveal two types of “moderate” resistance: avoidance and obfuscation. Specific needs, such as the motivations of peeking and escapism, are significantly related to perceived algorithmic affordance, which, in turn, encourages the tactics of avoidant and obfuscated resistance. The results provide new insights into the potential formation mechanisms of algorithmic resistance. The forms of resistance highlighted in the paper evolve alongside algorithms and have significant practical implications for users and platforms.
... My approach to the concept of affordance has been inspired and informed by scholars working within the anthropology and sociology of technology, including Bruno Latour (1992Latour ( , 2005, Michel Callon (1986), Bryan Pfaffenberger (1992, Alan Costall (1995), François Sigaut (1996Sigaut ( , 2002, Ian Hutchby (2001), Tim Ingold (2000), Tim Dant (2005) and Auke Pols 2012Pols , 2015. Two other very valuable resources are Andrea Scarantino's Philosophy of Science article, 'Affordances Explained' (Scarantino 2003) and Anne-Laure Fayard and John Weeks' Information and Organisation article, 'Affordances for Practice' (Fayard and Weeks, 2014). Perhaps the most concise and accessible overview of affordances (applied as a principle in design) can be found in Don Norman's entertaining book, The Design of Everyday Things (Norman 2002). ...
... Gibson called this relationship 'complementarity,' which defined the two entities as a functional pair. This relationship has been also been termed 'entanglement' by thinkers in the fields of design (Maier and Fadel, 2009) and information and organisation studies (Fayard and Weeks 2014). ...
... However, for an affordance to exist for a given individual, it is not enough that the functional interaction is theoretically possible (e.g. that a person is in fact strong and dextrous enough to move a given object). The potential for use must be present in the mind of a potential user (Scarantino 2003, Fayard andWeeks 2014). ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper discusses how the theory of affordances can be used to investigate how a spectrum of opportunities, benefits, costs and risks is generated and unevenly distributed by different kinds of technology (where ‘technology’ is understood as techniques, processes and practices of doing and making, rather than technical artefacts and systems). Affordances are possibilities for action, which arise from relations between humans and entities that surround them. This paper discusses three kinds of affordances: material, cultural and socio-economic. The theory of affordances offers a coherent way to explain why different technologies have different implications, and why those implications vary for different stakeholders. Applied to the domain of development-oriented agricultural research and innovation, the theory of affordances could be used by researchers and practitioners to examine the differentiated implications of different kinds of farming technology and alternative programmes of technological change in agriculture, both ex ante (e.g. in their design, development and implementation) and ex post (e.g. in their evaluation). To illustrate the argument, the paper uses the example of weeding in the System of Rice Intensification. Since affordances in theory are generated relationally and situationally for each person, the full array of implications arising from the introduction of new technology could be wide and diverse. A practical challenge, therefore, is whether and how the theory of affordances can be used practically and operationally to design, implement and evaluate the appropriateness, accessibility, utility and value of agricultural technology and technological change for specific people and groups of interest.
... The concepts allow a better understanding of how the combination of new technologies and organizational characteristics affect organizational innovation and operations. "Affordance" not only provides a powerful theoretical perspective for studying the relationship between technology and people together in organizations but also a better language for structured and patterned descriptions of specific practices [24]. ...
... Treem and Leonardi proposed four dimensions of affordance, namely visibility, association, editability, and persistence, which are widely used [24,25]. Later, Treem and Leonardi, Leonardi et al., and Oostervink et al. proposed five dimensions of affordance: visibility, selectivity, attention, persistence, and editability [25][26][27]. ...
... It can be seen from Table 2 that product affordance is divided into four dimensions from the attributes of the product itself, namely reliability, economy, selectivity, and uniqueness [24,25], which refer to the possibilities provided by the product to the user. Platform affordance mainly refers to the possibilities provided by the IT platform to the user and can be divided into four dimensions: visibility, convenience, association, and persistence [27,28]. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study uses the structured–pragmatics–situational case study approach to explore the intrinsic mechanism of enterprise digital enablement using affordance theory and how traditional enterprises enable customers to participate in value co-creation through information technology, then realize business model innovation and maintain continuous consumption. The study revealed the following: (1) Product affordance drives customers’ original willingness to engage in value co-creation in four dimensions: economy, reliability, uniqueness, and selectivity; (2) The visibility, convenience, association, and persistence of the platform affordance enhance users’ abilities to engage in value co-creation; (3) The interaction of affordance, structural enablement, and digital enablement drives the interaction of willingness and capability to engage in value co-creation; and (4) User participation behaviors in value co-creation can be divided into three dimensions (informational, actionable, and attitudinal participation)and four stages. The findings explain how traditional enterprises use IT enablement to promote business model innovation of customer participation in value co-creation and enrich the theories of digital enablement. The conclusions reveal the managerial implications of the ways, paths, and mechanism of business model innovation by IT enabling customers to participate in value co-creation.
... The valence model by Peter and Tarpey (1975) represents risk as a negative valence, and Mou et al. (2016) have defined negative valences as barriers. Along this line, we explain negative valences through constraints, which are perceived as negative attributes depending on how the materiality of the technology constrains user actions (Fayard and Weeks, 2014). These constraints signify the barriers that users face in daily use of the technology and therefore may need policy interventions. ...
... When designers build a technology, such constraints are inevitably incorporated in the artifact that the designers had not planned (Norman, 1988). Norman, one of the pioneers of affordance theories, focuses extensively on how people shape affordances based on their design, especially in the context of human-computer interfaces (Fayard and Weeks, 2014). Different kinds of users who are not used to the existing design conventions are likely to face physical and logical constraints concerning operating the technology. ...
... Three, the affordances and constraints lens used to understand the positive and negative valences offer an understanding of factors as they evolve through the usage, and help in policy recommendations. The use of affordances theory is gaining popularity in IS literature (Fayard and Weeks, 2014), and has also been used for policy designs (Kaaronen, 2017). This holds implications for policy research. ...
Article
Mobile payment technology continues to spread across the globe, but its diffusion has not been uniform. Its low usage in developing economies is of particular concern to policymakers since this technology has the potential to enable financial inclusion. In this study, in order to develop policy interventions for greater usage, we comparatively analyze factors impacting actual usage and future use intention. India, with its uneven trajectory of mobile payments, gives us an appropriate field to investigate citizens’ usage behaviour. Considering users’ perceptions of both positive and negative attributes of the technology, we develop research models under the umbrella of the valence framework. We utilize technology affordances and constraints theory (TACT) to refine the research models through an understanding of various innovative uses. To test the valence-TACT models, we collect survey responses of 551 citizens across four Indian cities. The results from the models show how certain factors, such as convenience, reflection, and security, have different impacts on actual usage and future use intention, respectively. These findings have implications for critical issues like security, risk, and digital literacy, and can help in the design of policy recommendations for enhancing the use of mobile payments, thereby impacting financial inclusion for all. The valence-TACT model provides a theoretical contribution to mobile payment and innovation literature and also offers several policy insights.
... Following design-oriented IS research (Seidel et al., 2017), we adopt a duality view to conceptualise the affordance as 1) the action potentials between the IT artefacts and goal-oriented actors and 2) the material properties of the information system that allow for these potentials (Fayard & Weeks, 2014;Seidel et al., 2017). This conceptualisation of affordance captures both its relational (i.e., affordance is a relation between the actor and artefact) and dispositional (i.e., affordance is a property of the artefact) characteristics, which are highlighted in many studies (Fayard & Weeks, 2014;Maier & Fadel, 2009;Volkoff & Strong, 2017). ...
... Following design-oriented IS research (Seidel et al., 2017), we adopt a duality view to conceptualise the affordance as 1) the action potentials between the IT artefacts and goal-oriented actors and 2) the material properties of the information system that allow for these potentials (Fayard & Weeks, 2014;Seidel et al., 2017). This conceptualisation of affordance captures both its relational (i.e., affordance is a relation between the actor and artefact) and dispositional (i.e., affordance is a property of the artefact) characteristics, which are highlighted in many studies (Fayard & Weeks, 2014;Maier & Fadel, 2009;Volkoff & Strong, 2017). In synthesising the literature, we identify two advantages of affordance that could be used as a suitable lens to guide the design of IS artefacts. ...
... Design science research is a constructive process that "focuses on what reality might look like in the future -and recognises that the outcome is not preordained" (Volkoff & Strong, 2017). As we mentioned before, affordance is also a process that transforms the input state (e.g., user uses the artefact) to an output state (e.g., realised outcome) in a nondeterministic way (Fayard & Weeks, 2014). Therefore, it is helpful for IS researchers to construct and explore different artefacts during design. ...
Article
Full-text available
Wildlife management is becoming increasingly critical to improving the sustainability of biodiversity and the welfare of human beings. This paper uses affordance as a lens to explore the design of information systems that can assist in managing wildlife in protected areas. Through an action design research (ADR) study with a forest department, we develop and test design principles for a class of wildlife management analytics system (WMAS). We identify the initial design principles, including elements of the action potential, materiality, and boundary condition, and iteratively refine them based on an instantiation of WMAS through two iterations of design and implementation cycles. Through our work, we contribute to design knowledge by abstracting the artefacts, design principles in particular, and the ADR approach by generalising two new activities and corresponding principles when designing analytical models. Our findings can also be used to address a class of similar problems and systems in practice.
... Along these lines, Fayard and Weeks (2014) proposed the concept of affordances for practice to reorient the affordance research from centering on technology to centering on human activities that involve technologies and/or other artifacts (including both tangible and intangible tools). This shift allows researchers to go beyond technological artifacts to understand "how the social and physical construction of technology and the material environment shape practice" (Fayard and Weeks, 2014, p. 238) and, in turn, how practice further shapes the technology and the material environment (Leonardi, 2013). ...
... information practices; Allen et al., 2011). Affordance theory arises from the encounters of subjects (who have certain physical and psychosocial attributes and needs) with a sociocultural environment (Fayard and Weeks, 2014); it provides a conduit to the direct analysis of tools and guides the design of tools, which, in the context of information practices, could be information systems and services (Sadler and Given, 2007;Zhao et al., 2013), and/or community practices (Kitzie, 2019;Lloyd, 2005). We expect that the integration of the two theories can help narrow the gap between information research and practice. ...
... Theoretical and empirical work has been done since 2005, which is reflected in the creation and importation of multi-level theories in the field (theories that consider factors at not only the individual level, but also the group, organizational, and social levels) (e.g. Fayard and Weeks, 2014;Kaptelinin and Nardi, 2012;Kitzie, 2019;Leonardi and Barley, 2008;Sadler and Given, 2007;Zhao and Zhu, 2016). Nevertheless, the level that connects understanding and its application remains lacking. ...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose-In the domain of information science, affordance is a relatively new concept that deserves further exploration. It may serve as a bridge to narrow the research-practice gap that has persisted in information studies. Building upon previous research, we call for a broader concept of affordance that would help researchers understand information practices from an ecological perspective. Design/methodology/approach-The study focuses on conceptualizing affordances for information practices in order to theorize engagement among people, technology, and sociocultural environments. We develop a hierarchical model and a component model to illustrate how key tenets of affordances can be linked with the decomposition of activities and its mechanism. Following this, we describe an illustrative case of a popular Chinese cloud-based music platform to demonstrate the utility of our conceptual frameworks in guiding studies of information practices. Findings-The study proposes to shift the focus of technology affordances, which highlights the features and functions of particular technologies, to the affordances for practices that are enacted through technology and social construction within a sociocultural environment. The illustrative case of the cloud-based music platform shows that the proposed models can provide a structured view of operations, actions and motives for music information practices. The processes of internalization and externalization offer insight into the decomposition of information practice as a chain of activity-action-operation. Originality/value-This study contributes to the literature on theorizing engagement among people, technology and sociocultural environments through the theoretical lens of affordances and sheds new light on the challenges of information practice.
... Along these lines, Fayard and Weeks (2014) proposed the concept of affordances for practice to reorient the affordance research from centering on technology to centering on human activities that involve technologies and/or other artifacts (including both tangible and intangible tools). This shift allows researchers to go beyond technological artifacts to understand "how the social and physical construction of technology and the material environment shape practice" (Fayard and Weeks, 2014, p. 238) and, in turn, how practice further shapes the technology and the material environment (Leonardi, 2013). ...
... information practices; Allen et al., 2011). Affordance theory arises from the encounters of subjects (who have certain physical and psychosocial attributes and needs) with a sociocultural environment (Fayard and Weeks, 2014); it provides a conduit to the direct analysis of tools and guides the design of tools, which, in the context of information practices, could be information systems and services (Sadler and Given, 2007;Zhao et al., 2013), and/or community practices (Kitzie, 2019;Lloyd, 2005). We expect that the integration of the two theories can help narrow the gap between information research and practice. ...
... Theoretical and empirical work has been done since 2005, which is reflected in the creation and importation of multi-level theories in the field (theories that consider factors at not only the individual level, but also the group, organizational, and social levels) (e.g. Fayard and Weeks, 2014;Kaptelinin and Nardi, 2012;Kitzie, 2019;Leonardi and Barley, 2008;Sadler and Given, 2007;Zhao and Zhu, 2016). Nevertheless, the level that connects understanding and its application remains lacking. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
In the domain of information science, affordance is a relatively new concept that deserves further exploration. It may serve as a bridge to narrow the research-practice gap that has persisted in information studies. Building upon previous research, we call for a broader concept of affordance that would help researchers understand information practices from an ecological perspective. The study focuses on conceptualizing affordances for information practices in order to theorize engagement among people, technology, and sociocultural environments. We develop a hierarchical model and a component model to illustrate how key tenets of affordances can be linked with the decomposition of activities and its mechanism. Following this, we describe an illustrative case of a popular Chinese cloud-based music platform to demonstrate the utility of our conceptual frameworks in guiding studies of information practices. The study proposes to shift the focus of technology affordances, which highlights the features and functions of particular technologies, to the affordances for practices that are enacted through technology and social construction within a sociocultural environment. The illustrative case of the cloud-based music platform shows that the proposed models can provide a structured view of operations, actions, and motives for music information practices. The processes of internalization and externalization offer insight into the decomposition of information practice as a chain of activity-action-operation. This study contributes to the literature on theorizing engagement among people, technology, and sociocultural environments through the theoretical lens of affordances and sheds new light on the challenges of information practice.
... Applying an institutional logics perspective to digital innovation and transformation offers two ready areas of conceptual purchase: (1) understanding the complexities of the environment into which digital technologies are introduced or embedded and (2) understanding how institutional logics shape technological affordances (both the design mode and the in-use mode). Technological affordances provide the "conceptual link in the recursive relationship between institutional logics and IT-in-use" (Faik et al., 2020(Faik et al., , p. 1364; see also Faraj & Azad, 2012;Fayard & Weeks, 2014). For example, studies of civic crowdfunding websites have shown that users who draw on a community logic are more likely to focus their attention on IT affordances that support community building and collective decision-making, while other users of civic crowdfunding sites draw more from a market logic and are more likely to focus their attention on affordances that enable faster and larger fundraising (Faik et al., 2020;Leonardi & Vaast, 2016). ...
... That is, they focus on how user attention is activated and shaped by institutional logics, and so "the ways in which the attention of the users become intertwined with material elements of IT to produce new possibilities of action" (Faik et al., 2020(Faik et al., , p. 1361). This builds upon previous studies that show how collective affordances may emerge when goals of multiple users generate common and shared patterns of IT use (Fayard & Weeks, 2014;Leonardi, 2013;Vaast, Safadi, Lapointe, & Negoita, 2017;Zheng & Yu, 2016). In this way, technological affordances may become stable and institutionalized themselves, forming and generating governance structures that change the functioning of fields and institutions. ...
... 407). In a similar way, Fayard and Weeks (2014) suggests complementing technological affordances with Bourdieu's understanding of habitus. Other studies have emphasized that the relational nature of the affordance concept makes it useful as a lens to study the interplay between technologies and work practices in a more general way (Anderson & Robey, 2017;Costa, 2018). ...
... In the last decades, theories of affordances have emerged as a powerful conceptual lens emerged for studying the sociomateriality enacted when new technologies enter organizations and work groups. Recently, there have been several calls to build bridges between the strands of practice theories and social affordances (Anderson & Robey, 2017;Fayard & Weeks, 2014;Leonardi, 2013). Here, we have followed up on this and suggested that the concept of communities of practice can be combined with a relational view of technological affordances to give more weight to the social processes and community-based learning. ...
Article
Full-text available
A combination of business-to-business car sharing and electric cars—shared electric cars (SECs)—has the potential to significantly reduce emissions from local travels during work time in organisations. In this paper, we analyse the uptake of SECs in two communities of mobile workers in Norway based on a combination of community of practice and affordances theories. The term community-based affordance is coined to describe how new mobility technologies are enacted and made sense of in the community, leading to transformations in work and mobility practices. Five community-based affordances are located for the SEC-system as follows: replacements of private cars, customised use of vehicles, rapid reimbursement, co-riding to meetings and commuting mode reconfigurations. Together, these affordances indicate how an SEC- system can contribute to the development of sustainable mobility practices in enterprises with many mobile workers.
... It has been proved that the physical expression of organisations is a strong signifier of organisational life, culture and employee experience as well as cultural congruence, personorganisation fit and potential career performance (Dale, 2005). In fact, according to the social affordance framework, the characteristics of a workplace are evaluated in terms of the possibilities employees perceive in them (Fayard and Weeks, 2014). This means that both architectural and atmospheric elements can determine employee perceptions about social norms, organisational behaviour and social interaction possibilities (Zalesny and Farace, 1987). ...
... Organisational theory and organisational aesthetics theory have long recognised workplace aesthetics as a driver of employee well-being (Dale, 2005;Fayard and Weeks, 2014). Workplace aesthetics not only increases employee satisfaction, comfort and perceptions of pleasantness (Wineman, 1982;Danielsson, 2015), but also acts as a signifier of cultural congruence or potential career performance (Dale, 2005;Vignoli et al., 2021). ...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose Drawing from experiential theory and decision-making theory, this article aims to posit that workplace aesthetics acts as a driver for job choice when included with an employment offer. Whilst organisational literature has recognised that office experiential cues in general, and aesthetics in particular, affect employee performance and well-being, employer attractiveness scales have not yet incorporated office aesthetics as a component of job-offer choice. Design/methodology/approach A choice-based conjoint (CBC) experiment was conducted to estimate the weighted utilities of three aesthetic and three non-aesthetic employer attributes. Subsequently, the attributes' importance in the job choice decision was estimated. Findings The results indicate that aesthetic attributes in the workplace can be equally important in the decision-making process as non-aesthetic attributes and that aesthetic attributes deliver as much utility as non-aesthetic attributes in driving job choice. Practical implications These conclusions are relevant for Human Resource (HR) managers engaged in crafting job offers, who should consider that employees may improve their assessment of a job offer as a result of superior organisational aesthetics demonstrated during the recruitment process as well as in contexts where employees would be expected to combine remote and office-based work. Originality/value The present study represents a novel approach to understanding job applicants' preferences for aesthetic elements in the workplace. The results suggest that the workplace experience is relativistic and that considering applicants' latent preferences is crucial when designing efficient job offers.
... In recent years, it has become more popular in organizational research and can be used to better understand the impact of the combination of new technologies and organizational characteristics on organizational innovation and operations [23]. "Affordance" provides not only a strong theoretical perspective for studying the relationship between technology and personnel in an organization but also a better language for the structured and patterned description of specific practices [24]. 2 Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience ...
... ere are many research results around the dimension of affordances. Treem and Leonardi [27] proposed four dimensions of social media affordances, visibility, associating, editability, and persistence, which have been commonly used [24,26,28]. Majchrzak and Faraj [23] proposed four dimensions of affordances for knowledge sharing (meta voicing, trigger attending, network-informed associating, generative role-taking). ...
Article
Full-text available
With the support of network information technology, the Online Knowledge Community (OKC) has emerged. Among different OKC applications, some entered into the new era of popular knowledge production, while others experienced the process to decline. In order to solve the dilemma faced by the OKC platforms, the needs-affordances-features (NAF) perspective on OKC is proposed by taking Zhihu, one of the most popular OKC applications in China as an example. According to NAF, the psychological needs of individuals motivate the use of Zhihu to the extent to which Zhihu offers affordances that satisfy the individuals’ needs. By collecting data through questionnaires and using SPSS and AMOS for data analysis, the relationship between individuals’ psychological needs and Zhihu affordances is identified. This paper generates two aspects of implications. In terms of theoretical implications, a more comprehensive framework is developed for the affordances of OKC as a whole, and the NAF model is leveraged to identify related psychological needs which motivate the use of a specific OKC application—Zhihu. Further research can leverage NAF to identify different OKC platform features which satisfy the psychological needs of their targeting users to optimize the system of OKC platforms. As for practical implications, by building the relationship between the affordances of OKC platforms and users’ psychological needs, marketers have to realize that although the digital platform system has a certain degree of imitability, the value positioning, user community, and core capabilities behind those platforms are all different. Thus, the platform system must also be differentiated. In order to determine the appropriate business model, a clear understanding of these organizational features should be identified.
... Coined by American psychologist James Gibson [27], the concept of affordances is described as "the affordances of the environment are what it offers the animal, what it provides or furnishes, either for good or ill" (p.127). Based on Gibson's original concept, scholars from multiple disciplines have conceptualized various kinds of affordances [3,10,11,17,20,24,25,33,38,42,64,66,70,73,78,82,93,94]. Prior studies reveal that a consensus on the definition of affordances does not exist and indiscriminately applying these concepts in the field of social media studies may lead to further confusion and misinterpretation. ...
... To bridge the gap between the technological and the social, several scholars develop the theory of affordances by integrating the technological features and the social factors. Influenced by Orlikowski's concept of technologies-in-practice [69], Fayard and Weeks [24] combine the concept of affordances and Bourdieu's notion of habitus [9] and propose the notion of affordances for practice as "both dispositional and relational and that focuses on the practice in which technology is used rather than on technology features" (p.241). A habitus is formed through the objective economic and social conditions, and these conditions make certain thoughts and behaviors more desirable [9]. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
... These constraints are not created by the designer on purpose; nevertheless, they are a result of the technology used throughout the design process (Norman, 1988). Norman (one of the pioneers of affordance theories) is particularly interested in how humans alter their affordances in response to new technological design, particularly with respect to human-computer interfaces (Fayard & Weeks, 2014). Numerous types of users are likely to face different kind of design constraints, on the basis of their learning ability, frequency of usage, and peer group support (Song, 2011). ...
Article
Purpose – Due to country-wise lockdown and state-wise curfews in COVID-19, people were not able to make offline payments (i.e. cash payments) during purchases in India. So, people are switching their payment behavior from offline to online mode. But, as per the central bank report, the rate of adoption through mobile payments is still slow. The paper focuses on identifying critical barriers to mobile payment systems (MPSs) adoption in India. Innovation resistance theory (IRT) has been used as a base model for barriers, despite the wide range of choices of barriers available in the MPSs context. Additionally, three external variables which are out of the wider coverage of IRT constructs were incorporated in this paper. The study, on the other hand, adds to innovation resistance theory in the frame of reference of MPSs from a theoretical perspective. Interpretive structural modeling (ISM), together with MICMAC analysis is brought into play to analyse the direct and indirect relationship amongst the barriers. Research methodology – ISM approach has been used to establish the relationship among the eight (08) identified barriers, through literature and expert opinions. The key barriers to high driving power are then identified with the help of MICMAC analysis. Findings – The results reveal that value barrier (b2), image barrier (b5) and visibility barrier (b7) are the most significant variables. Interestingly, IRTs’ risk barrier (b3) and privacy barrier (b6) from the literature fall in the lowest level of the ISM model. The majority of the barriers fall under quadrant III of MICMAC analysis, indicating the high driving and dependence power. Research limitations – The developed ISM model is based on the sentiments of five (05) experts, which could be biased and influence the structural model’s final output. Due to COVID-19, data has been collected through online video conferencing mode, this may vary if data will be collected through an offline or face-to-face interview. The proposed model’s key findings aim to assist in explaining the barriers that exist during MPS adoption. Originality/Value – This study is the first attempt to use the ISM approach in conjunction with IRT to detect barriers within MPSs. The result of this paper will guide and motivate the researcher to analyse more critical barriers with IRT to contribute to the theoretical development.
... Whereas physical material properties refer to largely unchangeable, visible, and tangible properties, such as sensors and actuators, digital material properties refer to "what the software incorporated into an artifact can do by manipulating digital representations" (Yoo et al., 2012(Yoo et al., , p. 1398. Affordances link an object's or technology's materiality (i.e., material properties) to its use context (Fayard & Weeks, 2014;Markus & Silver, 2008;Zammuto et al., 2007). In a business context, organizations can draw on smart products' material properties to achieve their organizational goals as well as goals that go beyond their boundaries. ...
Article
Full-text available
As physical products are increasingly augmented with digital technology, manufacturing firms have become part of the development of so-called smart products and smart services. As such, manufacturing firms are challenged by new market participants and ecosystem partners, particularly from the software development industry, and by the dynamic nature of business relationships. While the academic literature on the distinctive characteristics of ecosystems, particularly digital ecosystems, is rich, the effect of smart service ecosystems' emergence on the foundation of smart products remains uncertain. This study reports on case study research based on 47 semi-structured interviews with four companies that participate in an industrial smart service ecosystem. Taking an affordance-theoretic perspective, we uncover the antecedents of and the process of emergent smart service ecosystems. We find that smart service ecosystems have three socio-technical antecedents: a shared worldview, structural flexibility and integrity, and an architecture of participation. We explain the emergence of smart service ecosystems as the result of specialization in shared affordances and integration of idiosyncratic affordances into collective affordances. We derive seven propositions regarding the emergence of smart services, outline opportunities for further research, and present practical guidelines for manufacturing firms.
... Yet this information is discarded and not taken seriously by many because the environment of propaganda and ideology in which they grew up discourages any objective epistemic norms and epistemic autonomy. 5 Affordances have both an objective and subjective character since these are concrete features in the environment but can be used only when the agent has the skills and abilities of the agent to perceive them (Fayard & Weeks, 2014). To perceive a door handle as an affordance for opening the door, one must first have learned how to open the door through repeated interactions. ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper proposes a conceptual framework for evaluating how social networking platforms fare as epistemic environments for human users. I begin by proposing a situated concept of epistemic agency as fundamental for evaluating epistemic environments. Next, I show that algorithmic personalisation of information makes social networking platforms problematic for users’ epistemic agency because these platforms do not allow users to adapt their behaviour sufficiently. Using the tracing principle inspired by the ethics of self-driving cars, I operationalise it here and identify three requirements that automated epistemic environments need to fulfil: (a) the users need to be afforded a range of skilled actions; (b) users need to be sensitive to the possibility to use their skills; (c) the habits built when adapting to the platform should not undermine the user’s pre-existing skills. I then argue that these requirements are almost impossible to fulfil all at the same time on current SN platforms; yet nevertheless, we need to pay attention to these whenever we evaluate an epistemic environment with automatic features. Finally, as an illustration, I show how Twitter, a popular social networking platform, will fare regarding these requirements.
... Using the affordance lens to explore information practices helps researchers to make a holistic understanding of technology, i.e., technology is not just a tool but an effective mediator that connects users to sociocultural contexts [20,22]. Information science scholars have begun to draw on the affordance lens to study information behavior and practice [3,9,27,57], especially extending from general affordance to affordance-in-practice [7,12,58], emphasizing the expansion from a cognitive to an ecological perspective, i.e., considering the sociomateriality refracted by users when interacting with technology in a specific context [50]. ...
Conference Paper
The library's information practices on immersive technologies help to enhance the scenario-based user experience. However, there has been limited research on user engagement with immersive technologies in the medical library setting. In this exploratory study, we conducted interviews and on-site observations with 17 medical students who had experience with immersive technologies at the medical library. The affordance lens was used to explore how the relationship between immersive technologies and medical students enables and constrains their information practices. The preliminary results suggest that users’ perceived affordances of immersive technologies are not a solid outcome but a dynamic process. In our case, users’ perceptions of technology affordances can be categorized into perceived entertainment affordances, perceived learning affordances, perceived instrumental affordances, and perceived socializing affordances. We also identified three perceived constraints in medical students’ experiences with immersive technologies in the library setting. The study contributes to the literature on user engagement from an affordance perspective, and yield practical implications for medical training and education by leveraging the immersive technologies in the library context.
... In recent years, it has become more popular in organizational research and can be used to better understand the impact of the combination of new technologies and organizational characteristics on organizational innovation and operations [32]. "Affordance" not only provides a strong theoretical perspective for studying the relationship between technology and personnel in an organization but also provides a better language for the structured and patterned description of specific practices [33,34]. e affordance of social platforms has an important influence on the process of organizational communication, employee and user behavior, and psychology, so it has become an important research object. ...
Article
Full-text available
In the digital economy era, knowledge platforms have both the functions of knowledge collaboration and social media. At the same time, how to promote knowledge collaboration through platform empowerment is getting more and more attention. Since there are few types of research on how to realize the micromechanism of platform empowerment, the purpose of this paper is to take knowledge platforms as an example to study the conceptual system of platform affordances based on the social-technical perspective. Through the theoretical integration of technological empowerment and authorization empowerment, this paper provides new perspectives and future themes for explaining the platform empowerment mechanism of knowledge collaboration. As for the method, the deductive research approach is adopted in this paper. First, through the critical literature review, the gaps in platform empowerment research have been identified. Second, from the analysis of the characteristics of knowledge platforms such as Wukong Q&A and Zhihu, the relationship between platform affordances, platform organizational characteristics, and customer needs has been explored. In the final, according to knowledge platform characteristics, the conceptual system of platform affordances has been deduced. The result shows that through integrating organizational theory, knowledge management theory, and platform ecological viewpoints, the main components of the affordances of knowledge platforms have been summarized. In addition, the relevance of those components to the functions, interfaces and rules of the platform system has been illustrated, and the corresponding relationship between the affordances of the platform and the main components of authorization empowerment has been established. With regard to the implication of this study, it establishes the theoretical connection between technological empowerment and authorization empowerment and provides a more intuitive and operable method for platform empowerment of knowledge collaboration through the perspective of social-technical interaction. This paper emphasizes that starting from the mission of the platform, the stickiness of the platform can be enhanced by building platform affordances. In addition, extensive development ideas that purely pursue Internet traffic and capital need to be avoided, which is conducive to the high-quality development of knowledge platforms and the digital economy. Furthermore, this paper calls for more research on the affordances and empowerment mechanism of the platform to provide theoretical guidance for the highly unified practice of platform organizational characteristics, platform system characteristics, and target customer needs, so as to develop a more active and meaningful platform knowledge management field. 1. Introduction Zhihu is a famous Q&A platform in China, which was founded in 2010. Wukong Q&A is a follower of the Q&A platform industry and was founded around 2016 by a famous Internet company ByteDance. In 2017, the Wukong Q&A paid a huge amount of money to sign contracts with 300 influencers of Zhihu, which caused a disturbance in the industry. However, Wukong Q&A, which once invested over 2 billion RMB in building a group of creators, stopped its operation in early 2021. During the same period, Zhihu ushered in its tenth birthday celebration and was listed on the NYSE at the end of March 2021, showing a good development trend. Thus, Zhihu became a rare winner with Internet giants in the competition in a vertical domain in China. “The failure of Wukong Q&A has given a fatal blow to the traffic-only theory and capital-only theory on the Internet. Internet traffic and capital can create a content platform, but they cannot give creators the fundamental element of retention, the platform ecology” (https://tech.ifeng.com/c/83GoPKeRiGP). In addition to the quality of user groups, platform functions, interfaces, and rules, incentive mechanisms and interactive atmosphere are all pain points for the Wukong Q&A. Relevant research also shows that Wukong Q&A has problems such as fewer topic tags, weak search engines and interactive functions, low content specialization, and low user quality [1]. In the Internet age, knowledge platforms that combine the functions of “knowledge collaboration” and “network social” have emerged, such as Zhihu and Wukong Q&A. With the opening of user registration and the import of Internet traffic, the scale of platform users has rapidly expanded, and the user group has shown an obvious long-tail structure. This is so-called the era of public knowledge production [2]. However, the huge information capacity, random insertion, and editing at any time have greatly increased the amount of information and the level of confusion. Under these circumstances, the traditional online communication methods have been changed [3, 4]. Therefore, the operation of knowledge platforms is facing a complex situation. In the face of the withdrawal of Wukong Q&A from independent operation for less than four years, it is quite important to figure out why high-quality content creators prefer Zhihu platform. In addition to Internet traffic and capital, what should be done to build a platform ecosystem? It seems that the digital platform system can be imitated easily. In fact, the value positioning, user community, and core capabilities behind it are all ecologically evolving and nonreproducible, which can neither be obtained by capital power nor be surpassed in a short period of time. Although many studies have shown that digital technology and platform ecology can greatly impact the innovation, entrepreneurship, and strategy of users or enterprises [5, 6], these studies ignore the differences of the platform itself. It gives people the illusion that the empowerment effect can be achieved as long as they have a platform and digital technology. Therefore, in the face of the popularization of knowledge collaboration, it is necessary to crack the platform “black box” of the empowerment mechanism. It is also necessary to study the interaction relationship between the platform and users from the dimensions of core functions, interactive interfaces, and interaction rules on the basis of organizational characteristics, so as to achieve the integration of technological empowerment and authorization empowerment (in this paper, authorization empowerment refers to the traditional concept of empowerment, which is different from technological empowerment, digital empowerment, and platform empowerment.) of knowledge collaboration, enrich the theoretical system of platform empowerment in knowledge management, and realize theoretical innovation. 2. Literature Review 2.1. Knowledge Collaboration Knowledge collaboration is the basic operating mechanism of the knowledge platform [7, 8]. Driven by questions, community users interacted based on different needs such as knowledge seeking and knowledge contribution. In this way, knowledge innovation can be promoted, and the appreciation of knowledge capital and social capital can be realized [9, 10]. The realization mechanism of knowledge collaboration is not only directly affected by user motivation, cognitive conflict, group size, content quality, and other factors [11] but also closely related to platform empowerment and incentive mechanisms. In a lot of researches that focus on platform ecology and value cocreation [12–14], “empowerment” has received widespread attention as an essential source of cocreation value [15]. However, as a new research proposition, the discussion of platform empowerment is currently mainly about phenomenon description, concept definition, and effect verification [16]. In addition, the platform is mostly used as an intermediary connection point and ecological core node and there is a lack of analysis of the internal micromechanism based on platform personalization and differentiation [17, 18]. From a social-technical perspective, a knowledge platform is a collection of possibilities and needs of user behaviors of knowledge collaboration in social media and organizational environments [19]. Its value is not only created by digital technology but also cocreated by the interaction between the user, the technology, and the purpose of use [20]. The platform positioning and organizational characteristics determine its user empowerment method [21] and the search and aggregation method of social resources [18]. The platform system (for the convenience of discussion, this paper uses “platform” to refer to platform enterprises or platform organizations, emphasizing the role of organizations. “Platform system” specifically refers to digital software systems, emphasizing the role of products.) (including platform architecture, interaction rules, transaction and value sharing mechanism, etc.) is the technical realization of platform positioning and organizational characteristics [22], which has a high degree of asset specificity and has a dominant position in the platform ecology, so it directly determines the user experience and empowerment effect. Song and Mao [23] have already pointed out that the technological differentiation of Internet platform systems will eventually be imitated, and only organizational differentiation that continues to deepen with customer needs will remain ahead. The obstacles to survival and competition of Internet companies in a changing environment often come from the inside of the organization rather than from the outside, as shown in some studies. Under the guidance of the latter viewpoint, many companies strive to look for Internet traffic, market, and financing, neglecting to adjust their operating models better to create organizational value [22]. 2.2. Empowerment Theory In the early, the empowerment originated in the field of psychology and management has three key dimensions: structural empowerment, psychological empowerment, and resource empowerment (Carmen et al., 2015). Recently, “technological empowerment” [15], platform empowerment, data empowerment, and digital empowerment have received widespread attention (Makine, 2006). Technological empowerment has prominent digital information technology “prints” (Hasler and Chenal, 2017) [24], and practical exploration based on digital technological empowerment has already developed before theoretical construction [25]. Most studies focus on the difference between technological empowerment and authorization empowerment, and only a small amount of literature focuses on the dialogue and integration between them. Kong [15] analyzed the core elements of value cocreation in the digital age by tracing to authorization empowerment and technological empowerment. Sun [26] pointed out that data empowerment is a kind of resource empowerment. Behind the platform system, there is a set of functions, technologies, knowledge, and rules, which are the technical realization of organizational characteristics [22]. Platform empowerment is a combination of authorization empowerment and technological empowerment, which directly determines the quality of human-computer interaction and knowledge collaboration. Kozinets et al. [27] pointed that earlier studies of consumer empowerment on the Internet were overly general and exuberant because they failed to recognize the constraining impacts of network effects, affordances, and algorithms. Mei et al. [28] pointed out that the modularity, hierarchical nature of digital platform architecture design, and the dynamic nature of platform boundary resources are the empowerment mechanism for complementary innovation. It can be seen that starting from the design of the architecture, the platform must consider how to empower users to participate in knowledge sharing and knowledge innovation, not to mention platform functions, interfaces, and interaction rules. Therefore, the platform empowerment mechanism of knowledge collaboration must be discussed from the perspective of social and technology at the microlevel. 2.3. The Theory of Platform Affordances The platform system is constituted by the platform’s core function, interactive interfaces, and interaction rules in the digital world [29]. The core function expresses the value proposition of the platform. In addition, the interactive interfaces are a collection of user relationships, and the interaction rules reflect the algorithms and instructions for connection and interaction. The algorithm is also a concentrated expression of corporate values, value chain, and code of conduct [30]. It can be seen that a certain organizational mechanism is embedded in the platform system, and it is at the front end of user interaction, which is a functional carrier empowered by the platform. So, how to empower users through the platform system? The concept of affordances provides theoretical support for this [27]. Affordances originally refer to the support that objective things can provide for a certain behavior, that is, the possibility that things provide a certain behavior [31]. In recent years, it has become more popular in organizational research and can be used to better understand the impact of the combination of new technologies and organizational characteristics on organizational innovation and operations [32]. “Affordance” not only provides a strong theoretical perspective for studying the relationship between technology and personnel in an organization but also provides a better language for the structured and patterned description of specific practices [33, 34]. The affordance of social platforms has an important influence on the process of organizational communication, employee and user behavior, and psychology, so it has become an important research object. Postigo [35] analyzed how YouTube guides users to conduct behaviors that are beneficial to the commercial interests of the platform through the design of platform architecture from the perspective of social-technical interaction. Rice et al. [19] defined social platform affordances as the relationship of the possibility of behavior perceived by users and the need (or purpose) aggregated in social media and the organizational environment under the constraints of the potential features or functions of the social platform. Furthermore, the affordances are critically important, and they can provide opportunities for consumer choice, voice, justice, and inclusion [27]. It can be seen that the affordance of the platform represents the integration of user needs and technology characteristics, and the strength of the affordance means the extent to which it can help users achieve their psychological goals. 3. Analysis and Result In the era of Web 1.0, the traditional website is a one-way information release. With the in-depth application of Web 2.0 technology, the knowledge platform provides users with editable and publishable functions and permissions. In fact, it is a kind of structural empowerment in the traditional sense to transform ordinary content viewers into content producers from the institutional arrangement, which promotes the formation of the ecology of knowledge collaboration. By extension, through the combination of specific technology characteristics and users’ psychological needs, the knowledge platform forms the functional affordances of the platform and gives users the ability to achieve social actions of knowledge collaboration. This is the specific realization mechanism of platform empowerment. So, this paper adopts the deductive method to discuss the concept of the affordances of knowledge platforms. Based on the analysis of the characteristics of the knowledge platform, the affordances theory is applied to study the concept of the knowledge platform affordances. In this way, two components of the platform affordances have been proposed: social affordances and knowledge affordances. Furthermore, the corresponding relationship between platform affordances, platform technology characteristics, and platform functions has been demonstrated. Finally, it discusses the empowerment mechanism of knowledge collaboration supported by platform affordances. 3.1. The Platform Affordances The knowledge platform is not only an intermediary in the multilateral market but also a heterogeneous production organization with different value propositions and market positioning and different resource endowments. It is “productive” (convening and empowering socialized producers) and “intellectual” (providing industry-specific knowledge and proprietary resources), which is unique and decisive in the empowerment mechanism. Based on the social-technical perspective, affordance theory can better demonstrate the interactive relationship between Internet technology, user needs, and organizational characteristics and better understand knowledge collaboration and innovative operations under the guidance of affordances. By studying the micromechanism of the interaction between users and the platform, it can reveal the key elements and necessary institutional arrangements to empower users through the affordances of knowledge platforms and provide useful theoretical guidance for the realization of platform value. The platform affordances can be divided into social affordances and knowledge affordances. The knowledge platform has accumulated two types of knowledge resources in the process of supporting knowledge seekers and contributors to achieve knowledge collaboration: “knowledge about users” and “knowledge produced by users.” The former refers to the knowledge about the user’s individual attributes, social networks, behavior patterns, etc., which are accumulated on the platform through digital interaction. It promotes the evolution of collaboration tools, user portraits, and precise recommendations, which are finally reflected in platform functions, interfaces, and rules, leading to the formation of social affordances of the platform [36, 37]. The latter refers to the knowledge collaboration outcomes contributed or completed together by users, which becomes the strategic resource accumulated by the platform, which is manifested as the knowledge affordances of the platform [22] (see Table 1). Knowledge platform affordances Platform system factors Platform affordances Social affordances Platform functions Interactive interfaces Interaction rules Knowledge affordances Platform resources
... Affordance states the correlation between an object (physical) or some facet of the environment and an organism. A characteristic of the object or environment affords an organism to determine some prospective action (Fayard and Weeks 2014). Gibson (1977) introduced affordance theory, where he described affordance as "the properties of an object that allow it to function." ...
Preprint
Full-text available
BACKGROUND The current digital health context is incapable of supporting the future need for data security and storage in digital health services. It requires implementing a robust, interoperable, and scalable data storage and security solution to address this future need. Blockchain is an emerging information technology that can support this industry's timely needs. Therefore, a clear foundational understanding of Blockchain affordances for digital health is significant to harness its full potential. OBJECTIVE Objective: This paper presents a comprehensive review of Blockchain affordances for digital health. The review aims to: 1) identify the perceived Blockchain affordances and 2) explore the recent Blockchain research in digital health (actualized). METHODS We applied the Systematic Literature Review (SLR) methodology to review the literature extant. Furthermore, we applied the affordance theory lens to define and defend our findings on Blockchain affordances. RESULTS A total of 3627 relevant papers have been identified and analysed in this review study. Of these, 90 were probed deeply. Our analysis identified 14 Blockchain affordances (Access control, Interoperability, Security, Tamper-resistance, Traceability, Anonymity, Data Provenance, Identity, Immutability, Integrity, Privacy, Transparency, and Trust) which are perceived and actualized in digital health. Our study also discovered several constraints in Blockchain implementation such as security and privacy, interoperability, scalability, and infrastructural support that requires further research attention. CONCLUSIONS We believe this study will guide further Blockchain research in the digital health domain and informatively contribute to eliminating (decreasing) the dark side of digital health and improving (increasing) the bright side for the future.
... Affordances are action potentials that are best phrased using action verbs or gerunds, such as "share knowledge" or "information sharing," and can be regarded as the acts or behaviors afforded by the environment and perceived by the learners (Majchrzak & Markus, 2012;Michaels & Carello, 1981). Fayard and Weeks (2014) further stress that the action orientation emblematic of the concept of affordances needs to be preserved in the treatment of the concept. Consequently, organizing affordances can be defined as action potentials for assembling the available resources to attain order and structure and to accomplish the team task. ...
Article
Full-text available
Extant research has identified the significance of technological affordances in computer-supported learning environments. However, until recently, there is scarcely empirical research on affordances for organizing collaboration in these learning environments. To address this gap, this study empirically examines affordances for organizing collaboration in a simulation-based learning environment. We focus, in particular on understanding how the organizing affordances of the learning environment are perceived and employed by the learners during a simulation-based learning task. The study was executed among 177 undergraduate higher education (HE) business students from 10 universities in Belgium, China, Estonia, New Zealand, the USA, Austria, and Finland. The data were obtained from the students’ reflective essays, and analyzed with a qualitative content analytical approach. The results of our analyses yield in four types of organizing affordances: (1) organizing the division of work, (2) managing information and resources, (3) managing tasks, and (4) strategizing. Each type of organizing affordance was required in the joint learning task. The study offers an advanced understanding of affordances for organizing and of their use/nonuse in simulation-based learning environments. The findings of this study have theoretical and empirical implications and can contribute to both the development of pedagogic and educational practices as well as the design of learning tasks and environments.
... The built structures alone may not change behaviours of its users [47,48]. To be effective, we need a combination of disciplines to apply principles of active design across all levels, from the physical structure of the building to the personal, social, cultural and political environment, in line with ecological models. ...
Article
Full-text available
Active design is an emerging concept to incorporate physical activity into daily life through thoughtful design, and is often implemented in new building designs. It is, however, not known what evidence base there is to support the claims. Through this systematic review, the current evidence for active design was investigated. Seven databases were searched. A range of search terms relating to active design, physical activity, sitting, performance and wellbeing were used. After title and abstract screening of 1174 papers and full-text screening, 17 were selected for inclusion. The papers provided promising evidence of active design aiding a reduction in sitting and increase in standing time. Limited evidence was found for physical activity; a few studies reported an increase in step counts. Musculoskeletal effects were investigated in few studies, but there is some evidence of benefits to lower back pain. There was consistent evidence for better light and air quality, but no evidence for other features of the workplace environment. No conclusive evidence was found on associations between active design features and work performance. There is hence some evidence to support the benefit of active design on physical health; however, the dearth and heterogeneity of the study designs, measures and findings warrant further research.
... First, working with our vocabulary, researchers can extend their conceptualization of IT affordances (Faik et al. 2020;Fayard and Weeks 2014;Leonardi and Vaast 2017;Volkoff and Strong 2013;Zammuto et al. 2007) by decentering their classic focus on the interaction between users' intentions and technology's features as the locus of the emergence of action possibilities. Instead they can explore: ...
Article
Full-text available
Ongoing digital innovations are transforming almost every aspect of our contemporary societies—rendering our lives and work evermore fluid and dynamic. This paper is an invitation to likewise remake our theorizing of socio-technological transformation by shifting from actor-centric orientations towards a flow-oriented approach and vocabulary. Such a shift from actors to the flows of action allows us to offer an innovative theory of socio-technological transformation that does not rely on self-contained actors or technologies as originators of transformation. To do this, we turn to the work of social anthropologist Tim Ingold to advance a theoretical vocabulary of flowing lines of action and their correspondences. We expound three modalities of correspondence, namely: timing, attentionality, and undergoing, which together explain the dynamics of creation, sensing, and actualization of (trans)formative possibilities for action along socio-technological flows. We demonstrate the application and utility of this vocabulary through an empirical illustration and show how it reveals novel insights for research vis-à-vis existing theoretical alternatives. Finally, we outline the implications of our approach for research and suggest some guiding principles for studying and theorizing digital phenomena through this orientation. Besides theory, our vocabulary also provides practitioners an alternative approach on managing digital transformation—one that emphasizes cultivating favorable conditions under which transformative possibilities can be created, sensed, and actualized at timely moments. As such, we invite both scholars and practitioners to engage with our approach to develop novel ways of understanding, theorizing, and engaging with socio-technological phenomena along our increasingly fluid and dynamic digital world.
... Thus, affordances are not properties of IT artefacts or humans alone but emerge from their interactions (Majchrzak & Markus, 2013). As already noted, the relational principle is considered useful for addressing problems of technical and social determinism in IS research (Fayard & Weeks, 2014;Thapa & Sein, 2018). ...
Article
Although smart service systems have received increasing attention in information systems research, their affordances and constraints processes are less studied. In this study, we draw on interpretive case study methodology and technology affordances and constraints theory to investigate a smart service system use for seaport security in Ghana. With insights from the case of Ghana, we introduce an affordance constraints process as a framework to complement the existing affordance actualisation process framework in information systems. Thus, this study contributes to affordance theory with a new constraints process. The study’s findings show that smart service systems for seaport security afford autonomous access control, real-time security monitoring, and autonomous data capturing for analytics and reporting. However, such affordances can be constrained by power and internet outages, limited storage capacity, and device breakdowns. From these findings, we discuss implications for theory, research, and practice as well as limitations and directions for future research.
... Affordances may change depending on the context (i.e., constraints and relationship of actor and environment) even though the material properties do not and persist over time (Gibson, 1986;Hutchby, 2001;Leonardi, 2012). Recently, affordance theory gains renewed interest among IS scholars to explain the interrelationship of technical and social systems (Fayard & Weeks, 2014;Leonardi, 2011;Majchrzak & Markus, 2012;Strong et al., 2014;Volkoff & Strong, 2013;Zammuto et al., 2007). IS scholars use affordance theory to elaborate and investigate the consequence of IT artifact use in organizations (Majchrzak & Markus, 2012;Markus & Silver, 2008) and the related organizational changes (Leonardi, 2011;Volkoff & Strong, 2013;Zammuto et al., 2007). ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The study of sociomateriality in Information Systems (IS) research has been increasing its impact and interest. Primarily focusing on how the material and the social are intertwined and its implication for organizations, IS research on sociomateriality does not account for role of the individual and the "self". Enactive approaches to cognition are also concerned with sociomateriality focusing on how the self-individual-engages with an intertwined sociomaterial environment. To contribute to bridging this g ap, we leverage from developments in the cognitive sciences and philosophy of mind to propose an enactive-ecological approach to sociomateriality. In this paper, we bridge the phenomenological concept of solicitations and the affective-self approach to previous research on sociomateriality and affordances in the IS community. IS researchers and practitioners will benefit from a strong and robust theoretical foundation with a richer account of the individual engagement in sociomaterial studies as well as new research possibilities.
... Affordance provides important clues for conceptualizing and designing user-centered blockchain services (Gaver, 1991). Affordance describes the relationship between a physical object or some aspect of the environment and an organism in which a characteristic of the object or environment affords an organism an opportunity to perform some action (Fayard and Weeks, 2014). Rather than the traditional view of visual stimuli, he preferred to conceptualize visual elements of the environment as information (Markus and Silver, 2008). ...
... Many researchers consider affordances to be a promising theoretical concept that enables a middle ground between technological determinism and social constructivism (Leonardi and Barley, 2010;Faraj and Azad, 2012;Robey, Anderson and Raymond, 2013). However, the affordance concept originates from ecological psychology and the adaptation of this concept for IS research constitutes an ongoing challenge (Fayard and Weeks, 2014). In particular, it has been difficult to translate the original affordance theory focusing on animals in their natural environment to the study of organizational actors interacting with IT artifacts (Volkoff and Strong, 2017). ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In recent years, there has been an increasing demand to investigate IT-associated organizational change with equal consideration of the materiality of IT artifacts and their human interpretation. Many researchers consider affordances to be a promising theoretical concept that enables a middle ground between technological determinism and social constructivism. However, the transfer of the affordance concept that originated in ecological psychology to the field of Information Systems gave rise to ontological discussions and methodological questions. With our research, we aim to answer the call for more precise methodological guidelines for affordance research. Therefore, we conducted a systematic literature review of empirical affordance studies in Information Systems publication outlets. Our search resulted in 152 relevant articles, from which we analyzed 29 journal articles as part of our research-in-progress. From these articles, we extracted data regarding the concepts of technology type, application area, technology affordances, research design, research methods, and methodological best practices. In our article, we provide insights about the current state of affordance research and derive eight recommendations for conducting affordance research in the field of Information Systems. By doing so, we contribute to a systematic approach for developing affordance-based theories of IT-associated organizational change in the field of Information Systems.
... In investigating how technology can support the cocreation of public value, we employed the affordances lens approach in which the unit of analysis was the entanglement between 'people purposes' and the technology's capabilities (Majchrzak & Markus, 2013;Fayard & Weeks, 2014;Volkoff & Strong, 2017). ...
Article
By combining the academic literature on public administration and public management with that on human–computer interaction, this paper contributes discussions about how digital technology can support the co-creation of public value in co-production activities. The authors examine two case studies of participatory requirements elicitation for a technology used to support childcare services. Digital technology was intended to satisfy ‘ancillary values’, which are the values that support the main value associated with the service and that constrain how the co-production is operated. The authors’ analysis clarifies how the instrumental and the institutional roles of the technology intersect and fulfill each other.
Article
Full-text available
Nurses use electronic medical record (EMR) systems to accomplish a variety of care-related tasks. Nurses, therefore, encounter a range of stressful situations and events related to using EMR systems, a phenomenon known as technostress. Previous research suggests that individuals appraise technostress differently. However, not much is known about the appraisal process of technostress. By integrating the literature on technostress, affordances, and appraisal theory, this paper introduces the appraisal theory of technostress, which is developed empirically through an interpretive case study involving interviews with hospital nurses. The appraisal theory of technostress explains how individuals process and appraise information about how to potentially act on technology-related stressful events through a system's features. Information about the event, and information about the action potential afforded by the system's features, is evaluated through an appraisal process that includes three appraisal checks: goal relevance, goal conduciveness, and value compatibility. The appraisal checks verify whether the action possibilities of the system's features align or misalign with an individual's goals and values related to action, and shape how the event and the system's features are appraised as challenge or hindrance techno-stressors. Overall, the study offers a novel theoretical perspective and methodological approach to conceptualizing and investigating technostress. More detailed contributions to research and practice are also discussed.
Article
Full-text available
On online labour platforms, algorithmic scores are used as indicators of freelancers' work quality and future performance. Recent studies underscore that, to achieve good scores and secure their presence on platforms, freelancers respond to algorithmic control in different ways. However, we argue, to fully understand how freelancers deal with algorithmic scores, we first need to investigate how they interpret scores and, more specifically, what scores can do for them, i.e., perceived algorithmic affordances and constraints. Our interviews and other qualitative data collected with knowledge intensive gig workers on a major platform allow us to explain how the perceived affordances of algorithms (i.e., barrier, individual visibility, self-extension, rule of the game) act as mechanisms that explain different behavioural and emotional responses over time. Our work contributes to the current debate on the positive and negative consequences of algorithmic work by portraying the fundamental role paid by the individual interpretation of algorithmic scores and by integrating the affordance perspective into our understanding of algorithmic work.
Chapter
Full-text available
Given widespread digital transformations in all sorts of organizations, it is increasingly difficult to ignore the role of digital technologies in institutional change. In this essay, we characterize existing scholarship in terms of whether they emphasize how digital technologies are either "triggers" or "carriers" of institutional change. As triggers, digital technologies serve as catalysts that afford novel structuring as they are enacted in practice. As carriers, digital technologies can shape those practices in ways that are consistent with structuring of other fields. We thus propose a view of institutionally-embedded affordances, where digital technologies are both triggers and carriers that afford institutional change. We conclude with a reflection on how digital technologies are implicated in the convergence of previously distinct industrial fields. Note: this is an earlier version of the following published book chapter:
Article
Purpose This conceptual review paper aims to extend the human resource (HR) management literature by introducing a holistic employee experience (EMX) framework to conceptualize the relationship between EMX entities and employee well-being. Thus, the EMX framework stimulates future research in HR and organizational studies by incorporating a transformative impact of experiences designed by organizations on the overall well-being of their employees. Design/methodology/approach The paper draws on the customer experience literature in the marketing literature and reviews the existing conceptualizations of the EMX construct in HR management studies, along with other disciplines through an extensive and in-depth analysis of the academic and business literature that examines EMX. Findings The EMX framework provides a comprehensive outlook on the relationship between EMX and well-being, where the latter is considered both a driving force and an outcome of the overall EMX. EMX is a multilevel model offering a big-picture view of how the three entities – personal, social and cultural – of the organization referring to different levels of the EMX can affect employees' well-being in terms of their functional, emotional, hedonic and eudaimonic needs. Research limitations/implications The EMX framework utilizes a richer definition of the EMX and highlights the need for research that bridges other disciplines and paradigms outside of and within HR management. This research develops the understanding of each component of the EMX framework with the ultimate goal of moving the field towards the EMX approach. This research identifies some unanswered questions related to a new management tool that enhances employee well-being, improves the delivered customer experience and contributes in making the current body of knowledge on the EMX more organized. The analysis of the different issues addressed by the literature suggests avenues for future research. Originality/value The paper contributes to the HR literature and the emerging research on the EMX by presenting a comprehensive framework that incorporates a holistic understanding of the concept in the HR field. The paper offers scholars and organizations that struggle with engaging employees, a modern and practical perspective – one that helps organizations develop an in-depth understanding of today's workplaces in a globalized context to implement successful and engaging customer and EMXs.
Article
Full-text available
Loic Wacquant’s concept of territorial stigmatisation has resonated widely across the social sciences and is increasingly called upon in analyses and critique of contemporary modes of governing marginality. It forms a key part of his broader theorisation of the polarised city and urban scholars have responded to his call for comparative analyses of neoliberal state-crafting in applying it to other urban contexts. This paper focuses on non-urban deindustrialised and peripheral spaces in discussing the ways in which the shifting interdependencies, differing historical trajectories, geographies (including terrain), and social relations of such spaces mark them out as outliers within, but not necessarily incompatible with, Wacquant's schema. It focuses on the former coalfield communities of the Welsh Valleys in the UK as one such example of a peripheral, deindustrialised ‘area of relegation’ distinct from urban locales. We bring together a rich body of UK scholarship that articulates the coalfields as ‘laboratories of deindustrialisation’ with Wacquant’s framework. In doing so, we offer a critique of Wacquant’s integration of social, physical and symbolic space. We argue that the physical and the landscape is weakly incorporated within Wacquant’s theorising, and those influenced by his writings, and discuss the potential of the theory of affordances as a useful complement in more fully integrating physical space in accounts of territorial stigmatisation.
Article
Purpose Virtual organizations present numerous challenges for managers, especially in regards to organizational identity formation. This paper aims to address this gap in the extant literature by exploring how organizational narratives can foster identification with the virtual organization. Moreover, information technology can further catalyze the positive effects of narratives on identity formation. Design/methodology/approach Qualitative data from in-depth interviews with 18 members of a nonprofit, virtual organization – DiverseCS – were collected. Participants were asked about their roles in the organization, challenges and collaborative efforts. Grounded theory methodology was used to analyze the data. Findings Efforts to instill a sense of identity and community through the adoption of information technology was met with resistance. Rather, senior leaders encouraged and institutionalized the creation of organizational narratives. Novel use of information technology – social media and hyperlinks – became a means to amplify the positive effects of narrative creation and sharing by organizational members. Originality/value This study investigates how some members of a virtual organization use information technology in novel ways to further spread organizational narratives to other organizational members and also to external collaboration partners. This research contributes to the extant literature on virtual organizational identity and also proposes a research agenda.
Article
This paper addresses digital transformation in higher education by exploring the engagement and use of e-textbooks through an affordance theory lens. Drawing on the insights from in-depth interviews (n = 18), focus group discussions (n = 15), a pilot survey (n = 83) and the main survey (n = 344) in Australia, we developed and validated an affordance actualisation model for the engagement and use of e-textbooks. The partial least squares (PLS) technique was used to validate the dimensions of affordance actualisation and its relationship with e-textbooks engagement and affordance effect. The findings indicate the efficacy of the two affordance constructs, as well as the significant mediating effect of engagement. An important lesson for the e-textbook industry is that firms need to consider affordance actualisation dimensions (i.e., portability, accessibility, searchability, highlighting, copying, browsing, hedonic and utilitarian value) when enhancing digital engagement and use of e-textbooks.
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: (1) Explore the challenges of providing daily oral care in care homes; (2) understand oral care practices provided by care home staff; (3) co-design practical resources supporting care home staff in these activities. Methods: Three Sheffield care homes were identified via the "ENRICH Research Ready Care Home Network," and three to six staff per site were recruited as co-design partners. Design researchers led three co-design workshops exploring care home staff's experiences of providing daily oral care, including challenges, coping strategies and the role of current guidelines. New resources were prototyped to support the use of guidelines in practice. The design researchers developed final resources to enable the use of these guidelines in-practice-in-context. Findings: Care home staff operate under time and resource constraints. The proportion of residents with dementia and other neurodegenerative conditions is rapidly increasing. Care home staff face challenges when residents adopt "refusal behaviours" and balancing daily oral care needs with resident and carer safety becomes complex. Care home staff have developed many coping strategies to navigate "refusal behaviours." Supporting resources need to "fit" within the complexities of practice-in-context. Conclusions: The provision of daily oral care practices in care homes is complex and challenging. The co-design process revealed care home staff have a "library" of context-specific practical knowledge and coping strategies. This study offers insights into the process of making guidelines usable for professionals in their contexts of practice, exploring the agenda of implementing evidence-based guidelines.
Article
Full-text available
The concept of affordances has become central in information systems literature. However, existing perspectives fall short in providing details on the relational aspect of affordances, which can influence actors' perception of them. To increase granularity and specificity in this regard, researchers have suggested that it be supplemented with other concepts or theories. In this article, we argue that the Heideggerian concepts of ‘familiarity’ and ‘referential totality’ are well suited for increasing our understanding of the relational aspects of affordances in information systems research. To explore this idea, we conducted a case study of a project concerning the development of a digital twin (i.e., digital representation of a physical asset) in the Norwegian grid sector. We found that users' familiarity with the digital twin totality enabled them to perceive digital twin affordances, and that without this familiarity, affordances remained latent for the users. Through our study, we offer a nuanced perspective on the relational aspect of affordance perception, contributing to affordance theory in that regard. Further, we contribute to practice and information systems research by providing valuable insights into how digital twins are understood and applied in practice.
Article
Full-text available
Information technology (IT) and space are sociomaterial dimensions of organizations that Human Resource Management (HRM) often take for granted, discounting how workers enact them in practice. With digital technologies rapidly changing the spaces of work, this paper proposes a framework for HRM to appreciate the role of the lived, affective experience of IT-enabled (physical and virtual) hybrid workspaces. We integrate the information systems (IS) literature on sociomaterial practices and insights on organizational space to suggest implications for HRM practice and pathways for future research on how virtual and physical spaces are related and lived in the emergence of new hybrid workplaces and practices.
Chapter
Human robot interaction (HRI) offers potential in fulfilling the social needs of humans specifically, in the context of an interview setting. While human robot interaction has proven potentials to provide relatively measurable outcomes in experimentation, applications in real life are limited mainly due to primitive HRI design and implementation. Research in HRI is thus the necessary first step to the diffusion of robots and robotic technologies into social life. This study presents the results a case study on HRI design for a formal interview process. The findings are presented in a framework that elucidates the key expected robot affordances—action possibilities afforded by a humanoid robot—and their relationships with humans in the interactive interview context. This framework development has been informed by the Needs-Affordances-Features perspective.
Article
This study investigates the effects of media affordances and information security awareness on knowledge sharing behavior among global software development (GSD) team members. Using survey data collected from 214 GSD team members, we identify the three organizational media affordances based on prior affordance literature: awareness, searchability, and editability. Positive relationships are found between perceived media affordances and actualized media affordances. We further find that two actualized affordances, awareness and editability, have significant relationships to knowledge sharing behavior, and these relationships are moderated by awareness of information security. Additional analysis indicates that occupational culture caused by region affects some relationships among media affordances and knowledge sharing behavior. This study contributes to the media affordance literature by identifying the organizational media affordances related to knowledge sharing behavior and showing that the effects of these media affordances on knowledge sharing are moderated by users’ awareness of information security.
Article
Architecture's reach into neuroscience has demonstrated the value of biometric data, particularly neurophysiological data captured through the use of portable electroencephalography (EEG) technology, in understanding users’ physiologic responses to spaces. While methods employing portable EEG technology are increasingly being used to study a variety of everyday settings, office environments have not yet been the subject of such studies. To address this gap, we used portable EEG sensors and heart rate monitors to conduct a pilot-scale, quasi-experiment of office occupants in their space and then again when that group relocated to new space several months later. Our findings revealed that users experienced the new office, particularly its café space, in a more relaxed way compared to the old office, suggesting that neurophysiologic data can be used in describing the effects of design features and affordances. When conducted before and after an office space redesign, biometric studies of office users broaden the methodological diversity of post-occupancy evaluations. We reflect on the significance of our findings, given our pilot approach and limited sample size, with respect to biometric data's role in the design of mixed methods post-occupancy evaluations. We also reflect on directions for future research of office environments.
Article
Full-text available
While extant scholarship has yielded a nuanced picture of how people have used ICTs during political activism, less is known about why activists have appropriated and maneuvered some technologies but not others for political action, against different contexts. What, especially, would be the reasoning behind activists’ decision on use or nonuse of a specific technology? To answer the question, this study advances a relational approach that dissects the relevant, yet rarely addressed, link between Gibsonian affordance, understood as action possibilities, of technology, which underpins its subsequent (non)use as a ‘repertoire of contention,’ namely the practice and performance of political activism. Along with the relational approach, this study presents an empirical and comparative perspective to examine how and why Hongkongers selected, coordinated, or discarded various ICTs for activism in the 2014 Umbrella Movement and the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill movement. The findings reveal that activists hold diverse understandings and interpretations of technology and thereby strategically or tactically turn some technologies or functions of a certain technology into their contentious usage on the basis of affordances. The relational framework helps disclose specific dynamics of affordances behind repertoire selection and constraint.
Article
The present case study is inspired by preliminary observations of a young adolescent’s use of private speech within pretend play to develop disciplinary knowledge in the home domain. Using audio-recordings of the learner’s pretend play as a starting point, followed by informal conversations with her, the parent-as-researcher investigates the learner’s choice and use of mediational tools and texts as she engages with disciplinary contents and navigates disciplinary challenges. The findings indicate that the informant uses a combination of mediational tools and texts, both digital and non-digital, as part of her disciplinary literacy practices. Interestingly, she also uses vocalized private speech within the privacy of her pretend play to develop, extend and practise her disciplinary language and literacy skills. It is argued that the informant authors her personal learning space as an empowered and an increasingly autonomous learner by choosing and using different mediational tools and texts, each of which has its own affordances. It is also argued the informant’s choice and use of each of the mediational tools and texts available to her are shaped and constrained by the physical environment which she inhabits.
Article
Full-text available
This study focuses on the recent development in audit technologies, i.e. the rise of Big Data and Analytics (BDA) tools, and how auditors make use of them in audits. While prior audit studies have acknowledged that audit technologies shape and re-construct the market for audit services, they have not devoted much attention to the performative nature of such technologies and how their properties may shape the dynamics of technological change. Drawing on sociomateriality literature as well as observations, documentary materials and 25 semi-structured interviews with individuals directly engaging with BDA, this study explores how BDA users interact with particular properties of the technology in the course of an audit. We then consider how these interactions reconfigure aspects of the audit process and change the relational dynamics within audit firms. In particular, our findings suggest that properties of BDA such as scripts have afforded large-scale automation of audit routines, generating opportunities for expanding the evidential scope and depth of audit work. Further, we also show how the visualization dashboards have contributed to auditors’ ability to communicate and justify their claims and judgements. Finally, we demonstrate that BDA has reshaped the nature of work relationships and flows between audit firms’ different functions and service lines.
Article
This article provides empirical evidence for two hypotheses in the affordance literature. First, by leveraging a small affordance change — Twitter increasing its character limit from 140 to 280 on November 7, 2017, employing an instrumental variable approach, and examining 143,771 original tweets published by organizational and leadership accounts half a year before and after the intervention, we showed the direct causal relationship between affordances and communication behavior on digital media platforms. Second, by exploring what factors could explain the heterogeneity of causal effects, we showed that previous endogenous perceptions of communication constraint predicted later behavioral changes, despite the same exogenous intervention. These findings highlight the role of human agencies in the face of technological changes and provide empirical support for the affordance approach to information communication technologies (ICTs) as a reconciliation between technological determinism and social constructivism.
Article
Purpose This paper aims to build on affordance theory from a discovery perspective, to illustrate how motivations and goals behind enterprise social media adoption by companies in the fashion and apparel industries are discovered and realized in performance. Enterprise social media and its exogenous technological affordances are introduced as action opportunities in an organization during implementation, to be discovered and acted upon by users to effect various performance outcomes. Design/methodology/approach A case study approach was adopted. Data was collected on five fashion companies that have implemented enterprise social media for their internal communication. Findings The findings show that fashion companies adopt enterprise social media offered by external vendors to actively seek more effective internal communication and collaboration among their employees. However, fashion companies embark on different pathways of discovering and actualizing the affordances from the newly implemented enterprise social media. As a result, these firms achieved various kinds of performance benefits, which range from improved customer loyalty to enhanced innovation performance. Originality/value This study is the first to introduce a discovery perspective to affordance theory and systematically document the success of enterprise social media appropriation by companies in the fashion and apparel industries.
Article
Purpose: To better understand the role of industrial big data in promoting digital transformation, the authors propose a theoretical framework of industrial big-data-based affordance in the form of an illustrative metaphor – what the authors call the “organizational drivetrain.” Design/methodology/approach: This study investigates the effective use of industrial big data in the process of digital transformation based on the technology affordance–actualization theoretical lens. A software platform and services provider with more than 4,000 industrial enterprise clients in China was selected as the case study object for analyzing the digital affordance and actualization driven by industrial big data. Findings: Drawing on a revelatory case study, the authors identify three affordances of industrial big data in the organization, namely developing data-driven customized projects, provisioning equipment-data-driven life cycle services, establishing data-based trust and determining affordance actualization actions driven by technology and market. In addition, the authors reveal the underlying drivetrain mechanisms to advance industrial big data affordance and actualization: stabilizing, enriching and pioneering. Originality/value: This study builds a drivetrain model on digital transformation by industrial big data affordance actualization. The authors also provide practical implications that can help practitioners to implement digital transformation effectively and extract value from their investment.
Article
Purpose This study takes an affordance approach to explain how users perceive the affordance of user action within blockchain and examines how it influences the subsequent user experience. Focusing on the effect of trust on cognitive processes, the authors analyze how affordances in blockchains affect the user experience. Design/methodology/approach The blockchain affordances are examined through a two-stage process. The authors employ a qualitative analysis based on insights gained from the current literature and interviews. The authors then apply a quantitative survey to examine the role of trust in interactions with blockchain services. A structural user model was tested in which their appreciation of affordances of blockchain predicted the trust and satisfaction. Findings Users' appreciation for transparency and reliability explained to what extent they trust and are satisfied, thereby suggesting the heuristic roles of trust in blockchains. The study findings indicate a heuristic role for trust regarding underlying links to technological and affective affordances. A user's cognitive heuristics affect their attitudes toward blockchain, in which technological features are processed through users' perceptions and experience. Research limitations/implications The model contributes to the conceptualization of security, privacy and traceability along with trust, which is then linked to transparency and reliability. The findings show how the frame of affordances gains explanatory power by being linked to the concepts of affect and emotion. The heuristics of direct perception of security–traceability–privacy (STP) can be used to understand the trajectory of heuristics and ongoing choices of blockchain. Practical implications The study results offer a lens through which to address the technology's most common problems by pairing user experience principles and heuristics to blockchain technologies. This study offers insights into the understanding of user actions related to blockchains and into practical implications for developing trust-based services. The results guide the application and tailoring of motivational affordances in blockchain. Originality/value While blockchain technology has gained popularity and momentum, there has been little research on how specific features of blockchain technology create value. This study contributes to the research gap by highlighting the role and dimension of trust in relation to STP in blockchains and provides meaningful implications for theory and practice.
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we investigate how the use of mobile technologies contributes to the emergence of a complementary control system, in which both employee autonomy and management control are enhanced. We apply an affordance lens to understand the affordances (and constraints) for complementary control that emerge in the use of mobile technologies by both employees and managers. Based on a qualitative case study of the implementation and use of a mobile Sales Force Automation tool at a multinational company, we identify three informational affordances for control and analyse how these were actualised to enhance both management control and employee autonomy. Our study contributes to extant literature on the relation between mobile technologies and autonomy and control by showing the central role of mobile technologies’ affordances in redistributing informational demands and benefits of control in the interaction between managers, employees, and mobile devices.
Article
Full-text available
Technology has been an important theme in the study of organizational form and function since the 1950s. However, organization science’s interest in this relationship has declined significantly over the past 30 years, a period during which information technologies have become pervasive in organizations and brought about significant changes in them. Organizing no longer needs to take place around hierarchy and the collection, storage, and distribution of information as was the case with “command and control” bureaucracies in the past. The adoption of innovations in information technology (IT) and organizational practices since the 1990s now make it possible to organize around what can be done with information. These changes are not the result of information technologies per se, but of the combination of their features with organizational arrangements and practices that support their use. Yet concepts and theories of organizational form and function remain remarkably silent about these changes. Our analysis offers five affordances—visualizing entire work processes, real-time/flexible product and service innovation, virtual collaboration, mass collaboration, and simulation/synthetic reality—that can result from the intersection of technology and organizational features. We explore how these affordances can result in new forms of organizing. Examples from the articles in this special issue “Information Technology and Organizational Form and Function” are used to show the kinds of opportunities that are created in our understanding of organizations when the “black boxes” of technology and organization are simultaneously unpacked.
Article
Full-text available
An increasing number of published accounts (e.g., Cress and Kimmerle 2008; Kane and Fichman 2009; Wagner and Majchrzak 2007; Yates et al. 2010) describe Wikis and their impact on knowledge aggregation from many contributors. In this appendix, we extend these accounts to explain the specific mechanisms that cause Wiki-based efforts to succeed in the creation and maintenance of knowledge assets where others failed before. We explain how shaping facilitates the integration of contributions of many, and ultimately results in the reconstruction of expertise. Our argument first identifies four invariant challenges of expertise capture and reuse that tend to be experienced regardless of the technology support. These challenges are: (1) the bottleneck of expertise, (2) lack of incentives, (3) knowledge contextuality, and (4) the bottleneck of maintenance. Concluding that the traditional expertise model underlying the design of earlier knowledge management systems (KMS) cannot address these challenges, we explain how conversational knowledge management (e.g., via discussion forums) has tackled some of the challenges, yet leaves others unanswered. Our argument then turns to Wikis, which, as we illustrate, have the potential to address the remaining challenges, and in so doing point to a new mechanism to deconstruct and then reconstruct expertise. We explain several shaping behaviors and argue for the importance of shaping to maintain an integrated knowledge asset.
Article
Full-text available
This paper develops a sociomaterial perspective on digital coordination. It extends Pickering’s mangle of practice by using a trichordal approach to temporal emergence. We provide new understanding as to how the nonhuman and human agencies involved in coordination are embedded in the past, present, and future. We draw on an in-depth field study conducted between 2006 and 2010 of the development, introduction, and use of a computing grid infrastructure by the CERN particle physics community. Three coordination tensions are identified at different temporal dimensions, namelyobtaining adequate transparency in the present, modeling a future infrastructure, and the historical disciplining of social and material inertias. We propose and develop the concept of digital coordination, and contribute a trichordal temporal approach to understanding the development and use of digital infrastructure as being orientated to the past and future while emerging in the present.
Article
Full-text available
Robotics is a rapidly expanding area of digital innovation with important implications for organizational practice in multioccupational settings. This paper explores the influence of robotic innovations on the boundary dynamics of three different occupational groups—pharmacists, technicians, and assistants—working in a hospital pharmacy. We extend Pickering's tuning approach [Pickering, A. 1995. The Mangle of Practice: Time, Agency, and Science. University of Chicago Press, Chicago] to examine the temporally emergent process that entangled the mechanical elements and digital inscriptions of a dispensing robot with the everyday practices of hospital pharmacy work. We found that engagement with the robot's hybrid and dynamic materiality over time reconfigured boundary relations among the three occupational groups, with important and contradictory consequences for the pharmacy workers' skills, jurisdictions, status, and visibility.
Article
Full-text available
The discourse around media choice has generated a diverse array of media choice factors originating from both the media-based and social interaction-based approaches. The multitude of these factors hints at the adaptive nature of media choice. Alas, how a user engages with such factors and adaptively carries out media choice has remained understudied. We undertake a field study to explore the role of a plurality of choice factors and their interactions in shaping media choice processes and outcomes. In particular, we focus on how a user identifies relationships among plural choice factors while he or she works on his or her particular choice resulting in a similar outcome – email – given a large number of alternatives. Drawing upon a theory of affordances, we propose a systemic way of narrating the dynamics of media choice as a multi-dimensional process where a user explores her or his surroundings – a niche – as to establish media affordances that will then help her or him achieve a communication goal. We identify five relational patterns of interactions among specific choice factors: reciprocity, emergence, complementarity, re-exploration and actualisation. These patterns are shown to be emergent and highly interdependent. We conclude by reviewing future research avenues to formulate richer ‘ecological’ accounts of media choice.
Article
Full-text available
The work of the contemporary British sociologist Anthony Giddens, and in particular his structuration theory, has been widely cited by Information Systems researchers. This paper presents a critical review of the work of Giddens and its application in the Information Systems field. Following a brief overview of Giddens's work as a whole, some key aspects of structuration theory are described, and their impli- cations for Information Systems research discussed. We then identify 331 Information Systems articles published between 1983 and 2004 that have drawn on Giddens's work and ana- lyze their use of structuration theory. Based on this analysis 1 Jane Webster was the accepting senior editor for this paper. Gerry DeSanctis, Alain Pinsonneault, and Leighann Neilson served as reviewers. The associate editor and a fourth reviewer chose to remain anonymous. a number of features of structurational research in the Infor- mation Systems field and its relationship to Giddens's ideas are discussed. These findings offer insight on Information Systems researchers' use of social theory in general and suggest that there may be significant opportunities for the Information Systems field in pursuing structurational research that engages sympathetically, yet critically, with Giddens's work.
Article
Full-text available
This essay aims to “materialize” organizational communication in three senses. First, we seek to make the field of study bearing this name more tangible for North American management scholars, such that recognition and engagement become common. To do so, we trace the development of the field’s major contribution thus far: the communication‐as‐constitutive principle, which highlights how communication generates defining realities of organizational life, such as culture, power, networks, and the structure–agency relation. Second, we argue that this promising contribution cannot easily find traction in management studies until it becomes “materialized” in another sense: that is, accountable to the materiality evident in organizational objects, sites, and bodies. By synthesizing current moves in this direction, we establish the basis for sustained exchange between management studies and the communication‐as‐constitutive model. Third, we demonstrate how these conceptual developments can “materialize” in empirical study, proposing three streams of research designed to examine communication as a central organizing process that manages the intersection of symbolic and material worlds.
Article
Full-text available
In this article, I argue that affordances are properties of the animal-environment system, that is, that they are emergent properties that do not inhere in either the environment or the animal. I critique and review the formal definition of affordance offered by Turvey (1992). Turvey defined affordances as properties of the environment; I discuss some consequences of this and argue that Turvey's strategy of grounding the definition of affordance in terms of dispositional properties is problematic. I also suggest that Turvey's definition of affordance may lead to problems for the specification and direct perception of affordances. Motivated by these problems, I propose a new definition of affordance, in which affordances are properties of the animal-environment system. This definition does not rely on the concept of dispositional properties and is consistent with direct perception.
Article
Full-text available
In contrast to recent sociological emphases on the social shaping of technology, this article proposes and illustrates a way of analysing the technological shaping of sociality. Drawing on the concept of affordances (Gibson 1979), the article argues for a recognition of the constraining, as well as enabling, materiality of artefacts. The argument is set in the theoretical context of one of the most recent and comprehensive statements of anti-essentialism (Grint and Woolgar 1997). The position is illustrated through a reinterpretation of some case studies used by proponents of the radical constructivist position.
Article
Full-text available
There has been increasing recognition of the importance of informal interactions in organizations, but research examining the effects of the physical environment on informal interaction has produced contradictory results and practical attempts to control the level of informal interaction by design have been marked by unintended consequences. Drawing on a qualitative study of informal interactions observed in photocopier rooms in three organizations, this paper builds on the work of ecological psychologist James Gibson to develop a theory of the affordances of informal interaction. The affordances of an environment are the possibilities for action called forth by it to a perceiving subject. Research on affordances has typically focused on the affordances of individual behavior. We introduce the notion of social affordances and identify the social and physical characteristics that produce the propinquity, privacy, and social designation necessary for an environment to afford informal interactions. The theory of social affordances provides a lens through which to reinterpret the conflicting results of previous studies and to reexamine the seemingly simple water-cooler around which the organization gathers.
Chapter
Full-text available
The research at the nexus of technology-organizational change has converged on the materiality of technology as a fundamental theoretical concern. In this paper, we highlight three major weaknesses in how the extant research conceptualizes technology: conflation of product categories over technologies; superimposition of feature and technology; and static conception of technology over time. We then point out how these weaknesses tend to decontextualize technology-in-use and thus under-emphasize technology’s materiality. We go on to propose affordances as a viable scaffolding to undergird the development of a conceptual apparatus that takes account of materiality more holistically and in a more relational manner. We conclude by pointing out the challenges ahead in the further development of affordances concept to account for technology’s materiality.
Article
Full-text available
In this article, I explore an ecological approach to social interaction, using the concept of affordances to describe material properties of the environment that affect how people interact. My examples come mainly from the design of technologies that support collaboration. The physical properties of paper and electronic media—for instance electronic mail or video communication system—affects how they can be used and how people can use them to interact. Many of these effects are due to differences in the degree to which the media afford prediction and exploration. Because they are based on material properties, these affordances run deep, and trying to design against their grain is not easy. Difficulties of design, however, can shed light on subtleties of interaction that might otherwise be overlooked. Thus design is both guided by, and can guide, an ecological approach to social interaction. Nonetheless, design is only one example of the wide range of issues an ecological approach to social behaviour might address. Such an approach may provide as fundamental a challenge to existing perspectives on social interaction as it has to traditional theories of perception.
Article
Diverse applications of the concept of loose coupling are embodied in five recurring voices that focus separately on causation, typology, effects, compensations, and outcomes. Each has a tendency to drift away from a dialectical interpretation of loose coupling toward a unidimensional interpretation of loose coupling, thereby weakening the explanatory value of the concept. The authors first use the five voices to review the loose coupling literature and then to suggest more precise and more productive uses of the concept.
Article
In taking into account the ways in which material and social realms are constitutively entangled within organizations, it is rhetorically tempting to say that technologies and social structures reconfigure each other. But what does it mean to reconfigure? How does one "figure" the other and how do we fully embrace a mutually constitutive relationship when examining fluid relations? This paper delves into these questions by exploring how physical, social, material, technological, and organizational arrangements dynamically reconfigure each other in the duration of organizational practice. Using the venue of space exploration, we present three empirical examples from an ethnographic engagement with a NASA mission orbiting an outer planet in the solar system to examine various configurations and sociomaterial relations. In this endeavor, we suggest that theoretical and empirical traction can be gained by focusing attention on the dynamic reconfigurations between social and material realms. In so doing, we call attention to the ways in which current sociomaterial perspectives have difficulty articulating the shifting, figural, asymmetric and dynamic negotiations between people, social structures, information technologies, and representational objects. This paper contributes to current discussions of sociomaterial relations in information systems research by presenting an empirical treatment of entangled and shifting reconfigurations and providing language for engaging with this perspective.
Article
Convincing arguments for using critical realism as an underpinning for theories of IT-associated organizational change have appeared in the Information Systems literature. A central task in developing such theories is to uncover the generative mechanisms by which IT is implicated in organizational change processes, but to do so, we must explain how critical realism's concept of generative mechanisms applies in an IS context. Similarly, convincing arguments have been made for using Gibson's (1986) affordance theory from ecological psychology for developing theories of IT-associated organizational change, but this effort has been hampered due to insufficient attention to the ontological status of affordances. In this paper, we argue that affordances are the generative mechanisms we need to specify and explain how affordances are a specific type of generative mechanism. We use the core principles of critical realism to argue how affordances arise in the real domain from the relation between the complex assemblages of organizations and of IT artifacts, how affordances are actualized over time by organizational actors, and how these actualizations lead to the various effects we observe in the empirical domain. After presenting these arguments, we reanalyze two published cases in the literature, those of ACRO and Autoworks, to illustrate how affordance-based theories informed by critical realism enhance our ability to explain IT-associated organizational change. These examples show how researchers using this approach should proceed, and how managers can use these ideas to diagnose and address IT implementation problems.
Chapter
Research that includes information technology (IT) artifacts within its scope of focus (e.g., " computer impact" studies) often fails to engage adequately with the material properties of those IT artifacts. The result is a limited theoretical account of the relationship between IT and organizations and individuals. This chapter seeks to address that issue by tracing the disappearance of materiality from the concept of technology in organization theory and offering suggestions for meeting the challenge of carefully defining materiality concepts for IT (e.g., affordances), adapting them to a sociomaterial context, and including them in established theories commonly used in information systems (IS) research (e.g., adaptive structuration theory, organizational routines theory, theory of work-life boundary management).
Article
Our research examines how knowledge professionals use mobile email devices to get their work done and the implications of such use for their autonomy to control the location, timing, and performance of work. We found that knowledge professionals using mobile email devices to manage their communication were enacting a norm of continual connectivity and accessibility that produced a number of contradictory outcomes. Although individual use of mobile email devices offered these professionals flexibility, peace of mind, and control over interactions in the short term, it also intensified collective expectations of their availability, escalating their engagement and thus reducing their ability to disconnect from work. Choosing to use their mobile email devices to work anywhere/anytime-actions they framed as evidence of their personal autonomy-the professionals were ending up using it everywhere/all the time, thus diminishing their autonomy in practice. This autonomy paradox reflected professionals' ongoing navigation of the tension between their interests in personal autonomy on the one hand and their professional commitment to colleagues and clients on the other. We further found that this dynamic has important unintended consequences-reaffirming and challenging workers' sense of themselves as autonomous and responsible professionals while also collectively shifting the norms of how work is and should be performed in the contemporary workplace.
Article
While the subject of interruptions has received considerable attention among organizational researchers, the pervasive presence of information and communication technologies has not been adequately conceptualized. Here we consider the way knowledge workers interact with these technologies. We present fine-grained data that reveal the crucial role of mediated communication in the fragmentation of the working day. These mediated interactions, which are both frequent and short, have been commonly viewed as interruptions - as if the issue is the frequency of these single, isolated events. In contrast, we argue that knowledge workers inhabit an environment where communication technologies are ubiquitous, presenting simultaneous, multiple and ever-present calls on their attention. Such a framing employs a sociomaterial approach which reveals how contemporary knowledge work is itself a complex entanglement of social practices and the materiality of technical artefacts. Our findings show that employees engage in new work strategies as they negotiate the constant connectivity of communication media.
Article
A three-year qualitative study of the use of mobile e-mail devices in a footwear manufacturer focused on the experience of two occupational functions. Evidence suggests that congruent frames of heterogeneous communication practices enabled one group to develop communication norms that circumvented the trap of constant connectivity, while assumptions of homogeneous communication practices in the other group led to expanded accessibility and erosion of personal time. This study examines how such alternate trajectories of use emerged and discusses the key dimensions of difference between groups-identity, materiality, vulnerability, and visibility that help account for these differences. In introducing the distinction between homogeneous and heterogeneous trajectories of use and explicating how such trajectories emerge, this study offers several theoretical insights: it suggests that there is a distinction between the congruence of technological frames of reference and the content of these frames; it provides an explanation for why groups might enact mobile communication technologies in a manner that does not lead to constant connectivity; and it highlights how shared assumptions of heterogeneity relate to systems of social control.
Article
Infants master crawling and walking in an environment filled with varied and unfamiliar surfaces. At the same time, infants' bodies and skills continually change. The changing demands of everyday locomotion require infants to adapt locomotion to the properties of the terrain and to their own physical abilities. This Monograph examines how infants acquire adaptive locomotion in a novel task-going up and down slopes. Infants were tested longitudinally from their first week of crawling until several weeks after they began walking. Everyday locomotor experience played a central role in adaptive responding. Over weeks of crawling, infants' judgments became increasingly accurate, and exploration became increasingly efficient. There was no transfer over the transition from crawling to walking. Instead, infants learned, all over again, how to cope with slopes from an upright position. Findings indicate that learning generalized from everyday experience traveling over flat surfaces at home but that learning was specific to infants' typical method of locomotion and vantage point. Moreover, learning was not the result of simple associations between a particular locomotor response and a particular slope. Rather, infants learned to gauge their abilities on-line as they encountered each hill at the start of the trial. Change in locomotor responses and exploratory movements revealed a process of differentiation and selection spurred by changes in infants' everyday experience, body dimensions, and locomotor proficiency on flat ground.
Book
This 2007 book considers how agencies are currently figured at the human-machine interface, and how they might be imaginatively and materially reconfigured. Contrary to the apparent enlivening of objects promised by the sciences of the artificial, the author proposes that the rhetorics and practices of those sciences work to obscure the performative nature of both persons and things. The question then shifts from debates over the status of human-like machines, to that of how humans and machines are enacted as similar or different in practice, and with what theoretical, practical and political consequences. Drawing on scholarship across the social sciences, humanities and computing, the author argues for research aimed at tracing the differences within specific sociomaterial arrangements without resorting to essentialist divides. This requires expanding our unit of analysis, while recognizing the inevitable cuts or boundaries through which technological systems are constituted.
Article
As both technologies and organizations undergo dramatic changes in form and function, organizational researchers are increasingly turning to concepts of innovation, emergence, and improvisation to help explain the new ways of organizing and using technology evident in practice. With a similar intent, I propose an extension to the structurational perspective on technology that develops a practice lens to examine how people, as they interact with a technology in their ongoing practices, enact structures which shape their emergent and situated use of that technology. Viewing the use of technology as a process of enactment enables a deeper understanding of the constitutive role of social practices in the ongoing use and change of technologies in the workplace. After developing this lens, I offer an example of its use in research, and then suggest some implications for the study of technology in organizations.
Article
As both technologies and organizations undergo dramatic changes in form and function, organizational researchers are increasingly turning to concepts of innovation, emergence, and improvisation to help explain the new ways of organizing and using technology evident in practice. With a similar intent, I propose an extension to the structurational perspective on technology that develops a practice lens to examine how people, as they interact with a technology in their ongoing practices, enact structures which shape their emergent and situated use of that technology. Viewing the use of technology as a process of enactment enables a deeper understanding of the constitutive role of social practices in the ongoing use and change of technologies in the workplace. After developing this lens, I offer an example of its use in research, and then suggest some implications for the study of technology in organizations.
Article
Distributed collaborations face significant dialogical challenges: sharing knowledge, questioning ideas, and developing new solutions. These challenges are often associated with such collaborations’ reliance on written communication such as emails and documents, which are not seen as conducive to the rich dialogues necessary for effective collaboration. However, numerous successful distributed collaborations exist despite their sometimes exclusive reliance on written communication. Based on a qualitative study of distributed collaboration in two contexts — an organization effectively coordinating work across two continents and a pair of scientists working together to develop a new theory — we examine how writing supports dialogue, and thus collaboration, among distant partners. Our analysis of the correspondences exchanged in these two historical distributed collaborations identifies four mechanisms of writing — objectifying, contextualizing, specifying, and reflecting — and shows how they support dialogue and so address the dialogical challenges involved in distributed collaboration. These findings are particularly relevant in our era of technology-mediated communication where even collaborations in collocated settings rely extensively on written communication. Our findings advance our understanding of fundamental aspects of distributed collaboration and propose to rethink the value of written communication in enacting dialogue and supporting collaboration at a distance.
Article
The claims for sociomateriality are reviewed and two key problems are isolated: a failure to be specific about technology and a neglect of broader social structures. These problems are located in the formulations of Barad. Her notion of agential realism is contrasted to an alternative perspective constructed using the resources of critical realism. The potential of the latter to contribute to the refreshing of the socio-technical tradition is outlined. This tradition offers more resources for the consideration of the important role of the material in contemporary organizing than sociomateriality, which is argued to be a wrong turning.
Article
This paper compares two alternative theoretical foundations upon which the study of sociomateriality can be built: Agential Realism and Critical Realism. It begins by providing a brief overview of the sociomaterial perspective on organizational practices and considers why this perspective holds great appeal at this point in time. I then engage with Mutch’s (2013) critique of the agential realist foundation upon which most current discussions of sociomateriality are constructed to highlight what practical problems are generated when authors attempt to map agential realism’s philosophical discussion onto empirical phenomena. Next, I attempt to make explicit what Mutch leaves implicit in his paper: how building studies of sociomateriality on the theoretical foundation offered by critical realism can, potentially, overcome some of the practical problems created by a footing on agential realism. Finally, I push Mutch’s arguments one step further to compare what practical consequences arise when researchers attempt to construct studies of sociomateriality on either of these two theoretical foundations. I suggest that there are important implications for what one can study, how one can study it, and how scholars can contribute to theory on technology and organizing based on the theoretical foundation they choose to build upon.
Article
The goal of this study is to augment explanations of how newly implemented technologies enable network change within organizations with an understanding of when such change is likely to happen. Drawing on the emerging literature on technology affordances, I suggest that informal network change within interdependent organizational groups is unlikely to occur until users converges on a shared appropriation of the new technology’s features such that the affordances the technology enables are jointly realized. In making the argument for the importance of “shared affordances,” this paper suggests that group-level network change has its most profound implications at the organization-level when individuals use the same subset of a new information technology’s features. To explore this tentative theory, I turn to a comparative, multi-method, longitudinal study of computer-based simulation technology use in automotive engineering. The findings of this explanatory case study show that engineers used the new technology for more than three months, during which time neither group experienced changes to their advice networks. Initially, divergent uses of the technology’s features by engineers in both groups precluded them from being able to coordinate their work in ways that allowed them to structure their advice networks differently. Eventually, engineers in only one of the two groups converged on the use of a common set of the technology’s features to enact a shared affordance. This convergence was necessary to turn the technology into a resource that could collectively afford group members the ability to compare their simulation outputs with one another and, in so doing, alter the content and structure of its advice network. I discuss implications of these findings for the literatures on technology feature use, affordances, social networks, and post-adoption behaviors in organizations.
Article
In this essay, I begin with the premise that everyday organizing is inextricably bound up with materiality and contend that this relationship is inadequately reflected in organizational studies that tend to ignore it, take it for granted, or treat it as a special case. The result is an understanding of organizing and its conditions and consequences that is necessarily limited. I then argue for an alternative approach, one that posits the constitutive entanglement of the social and the material in everyday life. I draw on some empirical examples to help ground and illustrate this approach in practice and conclude by suggesting that a reconfiguration of our conventional assumptions and considerations of materiality will help us more effectively recognize and understand the multiple, emergent, and shifting sociomaterial assemblages entailed in contemporary organizing.
Article
A theory of affordances is outlined according to which affordances are relations between the abilities of animals and features of the environment. As relations, affordances are both real and perceivable but are not properties of either the environment or the animal. I argue that this theory has advantages over extant theories of affordances and briefly discuss the relations among affordances and niches, perceivers, and events.
Article
This paper introduces the concept of the ''move'' as a unit of analysis in technical service interactions and uses it as the basis for a theory of organizational knowledge. Data from six months of participant observation at two software support hot lines were analyzed inductively to identify a core set of moves with which technical support specialists respond to customer calls. When a specialist cannot respond to a call alone, he or she has to get help from others or give the call away. The moves specialists use in these situations both reflect and enact the structure of the organization: transferring a call reflects division of labor, escalating a call reflects hierarchy, and so on. By allowing the technical support staff to accomplish work collectively they could not do individually, organizing moves embody the distinctively organizational aspect of the collective performance. If we adopt a pragmatic definition of knowledge as situated performance rather than abstract representation, then organizing moves are a logical foundation for a theory of organizational knowledge.
Article
James J Gibson introduced for the first time the word "affordances" in this 1977 paper.
Article
As practical resources and analytical precepts, "materials" have become central to the design and study of information technology. By considering how HCI has moved from material to materiality and, by implication, from practice to theory, we will examine different facets of material culture in HCI, drawing from domains just beyond it, such as craft studies, information studies and organizational studies. This workshop thus aims to bring together a range of perspectives on the materials of HCI to enrich our understanding of the design and analysis of interaction.
Article
Sociological studies sensitive to the issue of place are rarely labeled thus, and at the same time there are far too many of them to fit in this review. It may be a good thing that this research is seldom gathered up as a “sociology of place,” for that could ghettoize the subject as something of interest only to geographers, architects, or environmental historians. The point of this review is to indicate that sociologists have a stake in place no matter what they analyze, or how: The works cited below emplace inequality, difference, power, politics, interaction, community, social movements, deviance, crime, life course, science, identity, memory, history. After a prologue of definitions and methodological ruminations, I ask: How do places come to be the way they are, and how do places matter for social practices and historical change?
Article
In this paper, I outline a perspective on knowing in practice which highlights the essential role of human action in knowing how to get things done in complex organizational work. The perspective suggests that knowing is not a static embedded ca- pability or stable disposition of actors, but rather an ongoing social accomplishment, constituted and reconstituted as actors engage the world in practice. In interpreting the findings of an empirical study conducted in a geographically dispersed high- tech organization, I suggest that the competence to do global product development is both collective and distributed, grounded in the everyday practices of organizational members. I conclude by discussing some of the research implications of a perspective on organizational knowing in practice. (Distributed Competence; Geographically Distributed Organizing; Know- ing; Organizational Knowledge; Organizing Practices) With the intensification of globalization, acceleration in the rate of change, and expansion in the use of informa- tion technology, particular attention is being focused on the opportunities and difficulties associated with sharing knowledge and transferring "best practices" within and across organizations (Leonard-Barton 1995, Brown and Duguid 1998, Davenport and Prusak 1998). Such a focus on knowledge and knowledge management is particularly acute in the context of global product development, where the development and delivery of timely and innovative products across heterogeneous cultures, locales, and mar- kets are critical and ongoing challenges. Dealing effec- tively with such challenges requires more than just good ideas, strong leaders, and extensive resources; it also re- quires a deep competence in what may be labeled "dis- tributed organizing"—the capability of operating effec- tively across the temporal, geographic, political, and cultural boundaries routinely encountered in global operations.
Article
Actions must be controlled prospectively. This requires that the behavioral possibilities of surface layouts and events be perceived. In this article, the ontolog- ical basis for an understanding of prospective control in realist terms is outlined. The foundational idea is that of affordances and the promoted ontology is materialist and dynamicist. It is argued that research in the ecological approach to prospective control is ultimately the search for objective laws. Because lawfulness is equated with real possibility, this amounts to the study of the affordances (the real possibilities) underlying prospective control and the circumstances that actualize them. The ontological assumptions and hypotheses bearing on this latter proposal are articulated. It is suggested that critical evaluation of the identified ontological themes may benefit the experimental and theoretical study of perception in the service of activity.