Article

Trajectory of Affordances: Insights from a case of telemedicine in Nepal

Authors:
  • Universitetet i Agder (UiA) and University of South-Eastern Norway (USN)
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Abstract

Although Affordance Theory has become increasingly influential in the Information Systems (IS) literature, the exact process through which the affordances of IT are actualised is less studied. In this paper, we build on a realist ontology of affordance and an interpretive epistemology of how affordances are perceived and actualised to trace the process of actualisation. On the basis of insights drawn from a case study of a telemedicine project in a remote mountainous region of Nepal, we develop a concept, which we call the “Trajectory of Affordances.” Trajectory of Affordances captures the complex relations between affordances of IT and the role of goal-oriented actors who perceive and then play a vital role in actualising them, using capabilities that are enabled by facilitating conditions to take the necessary action. Trajectory of Affordances shows that the affordances of IT can travel from perception to actualisation through multiple paths, sometimes clustering together, and in the process, often lead to the emergence of new affordances.

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... An affordance perspective allows us to study action possibilities associated with IT adoption, implementation and use at an organizational "mid-level" (e.g., [13][14][15][16][17]). In ICT4D research, affordance perspectives are hitherto underutilized, although there are recent promising examples (e.g., [18][19][20]). A widely adopted definition of affordances in IS research, is that an affordances is "the potential for behaviors associated with achieving an immediate concrete outcome and arising from the relation between an artifact and a goal-oriented actor or actors" [16, p. 69, 17, p. 823]. ...
... Both these concepts allude to how the actualization of an affordance can lead to the emergence of another affordance. Thapa and Sein [19] extend this line of reasoning and introduce the trajectory of affordances, that is, the trajectory along which affordances travel, "specifying the process and conditions through which affordances are perceived leading to actualisation of affordances" (p. 811). ...
... Educational Decision-Making. Extant IS literature points out how affordances are interdependent and that the actualization of one affordance can cause other affordances to emerge (e.g., [3,16,19]). Data-driven decision-making depends on the actualization of lower-and mid-level affordances. ...
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Chapter
Affordance perspectives have gained traction among information systems (IS) scholars and have seen recent adoption in ICT4D research. Although scholars recognize the need to differentiate between mere technology use and higher-level organizational and societal IT affordances, no clear terminology for the representation of affordance granularity exists. This paper introduces “mid-level IT affordances”, which, we argue, emerge from technology use and serve as prerequisites for the actualization of higher-level affordances. To illustrate, we draw on a case study of education management information systems in The Gambia. International development agendas encourage public sector actors to produce increasingly granular data. Yet, the capacity to utilize the data is not strengthened correspondingly. This introduces a disconnect between policy and practice, whereby investments in technology use affordances fail to translate into IT affordances for monitoring progress towards complex policy goals. A mid-level IT affordance perspective allows for the identification and potential mitigation of such gaps.
... The concept of affordance originated from psychologist James Gibson (Gibson, 1979) and was adopted by IS scholars (e.g., Markus & Silver, 2008;Strong et al., 2014;Thapa & Sein, 2018). They conceptualize affordance as the potential for behaviors associated with achieving an immediate concrete outcome arising from the relation between an IT artifact and a goal-oriented actor or actors. ...
... The actualization process is influenced by socio-cultural and technical factors, and it reflects the dynamism of the relationship between the capabilities of the citizens and the features of the implemented e-Government project (Anderson & Robey, 2017). Such actualization occurs in the presence of enabling contextual conditions (Thapa & Sein, 2018). ...
... 7.4 | Affordances of the implemented e-Government projects e-Government affordances as revealed by the data were value co-creation affordance , accessibility affordance (Thapa & Sein, 2018), as well as transparency affordance , and are empirically validated as shown in Table 3. ...
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Article
This study examines the mechanisms fostering sustainable value propositions of implemented e‐Governments projects in sub‐Saharan Africa (SSA) as a research focus. Value propositions identify how public organizations use e‐Government to fulfill citizens' needs across different roles. Using a concept‐centric systematic review, we identified such value propositions as effective public organizations, quality service delivery, open government and democratic values, as well as social values and well‐being. We chose some selected e‐Government projects in Nigeria and Rwanda; adopted realist evaluation (RE) multiple case studies as a methodology and introduced affordance actualization, self‐determination theory, and sustainability framework for e‐Government success as theoretical lenses. To collect data, we adopted a mixed method RE approach and used a contingent valuation method (CVM) as a quantitative aspect to identify the actualized value propositions in operations in the implemented e‐Government projects in Nigeria and Rwanda as outcomes. Sequentially followed by a realist interview as a qualitative approach to collect and analyze data we uncovered the generative mechanisms causing such outcomes to exist and be sustainable. Our findings revealed technological cognizance and autonomy as well as competence as individual mechanisms identified for sustaining such outcomes. While organizational mechanisms revealed are continuous availability of funds, institutional, administrative, and coordinating capacity with leadership and political support. Other organizational mechanisms include institutionalizing the technology within local settings with ongoing monitoring and improvement evaluation enabled by both internal and external contextual conditions. We synthesized our findings into an actualized value sustainability framework for implemented e‐Government projects in SSA to contribute to academics and practice in ICT4D, particularly RE application in e‐Government study, which is nascent.
... In the proposed framework, we acknowledge that all these affordances and activities occur within specific social and cultural contexts. In this respect, we follow the ontological position of affordances that Thapa and Sein (2018) identify in their work. The rest of the paper is organized as followssection 2 briefly discusses affordance theory and routine activity theory and then explains the proposed framework. ...
... 2. Theoretical background 2.1 Affordance theory Affordance theory, proposed by Gibson (1979), has emerged as an important theoretical lens in understanding relationships between actors and technology artefacts (Thapa and Sein, 2018;Thapa and Zheng, 2019). Although affordances have been conceptualized in different ways (Lanamäki et al., 2016), the most prominent view in the field of IS is that affordances are action potentials (Hazra and Priyo, 2021;Thapa and Zheng, 2019;Volkoff and Strong, 2017) and therefore generate possibilities of goal accomplishments by users of technology (Markus and Silver, 2008;Strong et al., 2014;Volkoff and Strong, 2017). ...
... Another research perspective assumes that technology artefacts do not have any inherent action possibilities and affordances must come into existence through routines and practices by the users at a group level (Leonardi, 2013). Thapa and Sein (2018) provide a way of understanding affordances which combines both the stances. On one hand, they acknowledge the independent existence of affordances of the IT artefact even if the user is unaware of the potential. ...
Purpose: While online classes have enabled many universities to carry out their regular academic activities, they have also given rise to new and unanticipated ethical concerns. We focus on the "dark side" of online class settings and attempt to illuminate the ethical problems associated with them. The purpose of this study is to investigate the affordances stemming from the technology-user interaction that can result in negative outcomes. We also attempt to understand the context in which these deleterious affordances are actualized. Design/methodology/approach: We obtain the data from narratives written by students at a top private university in Bangladesh about their experiences of online classes and exams and from focus group discussions with them. We use the lens of affordance theory to identify the abilities that goal-oriented actors-primarily students-obtain from the technology-user interactions, which result in negative outcomes. We also attempt to understand the contextual actualization of those affordances through the lens of Routine Activity Theory (RAT). Findings: We find three deleterious affordances and three associated deviant outcomes. Non-monitorability which results in academic dishonesty, disguiseability which results in cyber-truancy, and intrudeability which results in embarrassment and harassment. Our findings reveal a deeper underlying problem with the existing educational approach in the universities of Bangladesh and suggest that there is a need to introduce more modern teaching techniques focused on issues such as student engagement and interactive learning. Originality/value: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that combines affordance theory with RAT to identify unethical practices observed in online class settings in the context of a least developed country like Bangladesh and to examine the environmental components that give rise to the preconditions for the unethical practices to surface.
... An affordance perspective allows us to study action possibilities associated with IT adoption, implementation and use at an organizational "mid-level" (e.g., [13][14][15][16][17]). In ICT4D research, affordance perspectives are hitherto underutilized, although there are recent promising examples (e.g., [18][19][20]). A widely adopted definition of affordances in IS research, is that an affordances is "the potential for behaviors associated with achieving an immediate concrete outcome and arising from the relation between an artifact and a goal-oriented actor or actors" [16, p. 69, 17, p. 823]. ...
... Both these concepts allude to how the actualization of an affordance can lead to the emergence of another affordance. Thapa and Sein [19] extend this line of reasoning and introduce the trajectory of affordances, that is, the trajectory along which affordances travel, "specifying the process and conditions through which affordances are perceived leading to actualisation of affordances" (p. 811). ...
... Educational Decision-Making. Extant IS literature points out how affordances are interdependent and that the actualization of one affordance can cause other affordances to emerge (e.g., [3,16,19]). Data-driven decision-making depends on the actualization of lower-and mid-level affordances. ...
Full-text available
Preprint
Affordance perspectives have gained traction among information systems (IS) scholars and have seen recent adoption in ICT4D research. Although scholars recognize the need to differentiate between mere technology use and higher-level organizational and societal IT affordances, no clear terminology for the representation of affordance granularity exists. This paper introduces "mid-level IT affordances", which, we argue, emerge from technology use and serve as prerequisites for the actualization of higher-level affordances. To illustrate, we draw on a case study of education management information systems in The Gambia. International development agendas encourage public sector actors to produce increasingly granular data. Yet, the capacity to utilize the data is not strengthened correspondingly. This introduces a disconnect between policy and practice, whereby investments in technology use affordances fail to translate into IT affordances for monitoring progress towards complex policy goals. A mid-level IT affordance perspective allows for the identification and potential mitigation of such gaps.
... However, what this relation implies and what needs to be in place for the relation to lead to affordance perception is not specified in detail. Researchers have suggested that factors such as context (e.g., Bernardi et al., 2019;Lehrer et al., 2018;Seidel et al., 2013), culture (e.g., Leonardi, 2011a;Rico & Xia, 2018;Thapa & Sein, 2018) and norms (e.g., Costall, 2012;Essén & Värlander, 2019;Faik et al., 2020) may influence affordance perception. However, these perspectives focus on actors working in isolation and interacting with artefacts to achieve their goal, while in reality, we would argue the actors are already embedded in the context and perceive in everyday practice. ...
... However, these perspectives focus on actors working in isolation and interacting with artefacts to achieve their goal, while in reality, we would argue the actors are already embedded in the context and perceive in everyday practice. While IS researchers have provided valuable insight into processes of affordance actualisation (e.g., Burton-Jones & Leidner et al., 2018;Li et al., 2020;Strong et al., 2014;Thapa & Sein, 2018), the relational aspect of affordance perception remains unclear (Lanamäki et al., 2016;Seidel et al., 2013). To better understand how actors perceive affordances, we need a more holistic understanding of the relational aspect of affordances. ...
... Some researchers view affordances as canonical, meaning that affordances are independent of particular artefacts, but rather reside within wider social frameworks (canonical affordances) (e.g., Costall, 2012;Fayard & Weeks, 2014). The most common perspective, however, is that affordances are ever-present potentials for actions (e.g., Strong et al., 2014;Thapa & Sein, 2018)they are latent and exist without and before actual users' perceptions of them (potential affordances) (Lanamäki et al., 2016). ...
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Article
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.
... Therefore, it is important to consider both the up and downsides of how the technology of online communities shapes social movements(Etter & Albu, 2021). Furthermore, it is important to note that these affordances and constraints are not stable entities that have equal influence, how they affect the social movement depends on how social action is organized(Thapa & Sein, 2018). Affordances and constraints may be latent depending on how actors perceive them and how they go about their activities(Thapa & Sein, 2018). ...
... Furthermore, it is important to note that these affordances and constraints are not stable entities that have equal influence, how they affect the social movement depends on how social action is organized(Thapa & Sein, 2018). Affordances and constraints may be latent depending on how actors perceive them and how they go about their activities(Thapa & Sein, 2018). In other words, whether a social movement is boosted or limited depends on whether actors actualize affordances while deactivating constraints(Saebø et al., 2020;Thapa & Sein, 2018). ...
... Affordances and constraints may be latent depending on how actors perceive them and how they go about their activities(Thapa & Sein, 2018). In other words, whether a social movement is boosted or limited depends on whether actors actualize affordances while deactivating constraints(Saebø et al., 2020;Thapa & Sein, 2018). This combination of social activities and technological features is often referred to as 'imbrication' (Leonardi, 2011). ...
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Conference Paper
In January 2021, Wall Street suddenly faced a challenge from an online community, r/wallstreetbets, which organized a large group of small investors in betting against Wall Street hedge funds. In an instant, the online community came to resemble a social movement nature that brought them comparisons to Occupy Wall Street. To improve understanding of this phenomenon, we studied the Wallstreetbets movement relying on a mixed-methods research design, which combines an unsupervised topic model with in-depth qualitative coding. Our findings outline how Wallstreetbets became a 'flash movement', a movement that we define as arising swiftly without former planning or design, through the imbrication of social activities and affordances and constraints of online communities. Our study contributes to (1) the recent interest in spontaneous action in social movements; (2) how social media affordances and constraints affect social movements, and (3) extends methodologies for studying digital social movements.
... Identifying generative mechanisms through affordances Strong et al. (2014) argue that the actualisation of basic affordances can lead to the emergence of moreadvanced affordances, later termed higher-level mechanisms by Bygstad et al. (2016). Thapa and Sein (2018) also confirm through their findings that actualisation of affordances may lead to the emergence of other affordances. Bygstad et al. describe a stepwise framework on how to identify generative mechanisms through affordances, where one of the steps is about "abstracting affordances into higher-level mechanisms" (e.g., the searching, booking and registering affordances were abstracted into the adoption mechanism) (p. ...
... To adapt AT to IS research, several IS scholars have contributed with new theoretical concepts and extensions. In the reviewed articles AT was applied in various contexts, hence many affordance categories were introduced, such as affordances-for-practice (Zheng & Yu, 2016), blockchain affordances (Rossi et al., 2019), connective affordances (Vaast et al., 2017), convivial affordances (Mckenna, 2020), crowdsourcing work environment affordances (Deng & Joshi, 2016), digital affordances (Thapa & Sein, 2018), dispositional affordances , handling, effecter, instrumental and supplemental affordances (Benbunan-Fich, 2019), harmonious IT affordances (Chatterjee et al., 2020(Chatterjee et al., , 2021, higher-, medium-and lower-level affordances (Bygstad et al., 2016;Cheikh-Ammar, 2018;Volkoff & Strong, 2013), individual, collective and shared affordances (Leonardi, 2013), informational affordances (Porter & van den Hooff, 2020), infrastructure affordances (Niemimaa & Niemimaa, 2019), interface affordances (Burgoon et al., 1999), IT platform affordances (Arazy et al., 2016), misperceived affordances (Demetis & Kietzmann, 2021), organisational affordances , social media affordances (Chan et al., 2019;Van Osch & Steinfield, 2016;Zheng & Yu, 2016), social affordances (Lankton et al., 2015), tool affordances (Gaskin et al., 2014) and wiki affordances (Arazy & Gellatly, 2012;Argyris & Ransbotham, 2016;Majchrzak, Wagner, et al., 2013). I will return to some of these in the Discussion section below. ...
... The role of an ensemble of affordances is to actualize concrete outcome. Thapa and Sein (2018) Facilitating conditions ...
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Conference Paper
This paper presents the findings from a systematic literature review of affordance theory research in the information systems field. 71 articles from the top eight information system journals were analysed, from the first publication in 1999 until March 2021. The analysis combines quantitative trends with qualitative analysis of the application of the concept of affordances. Significant findings include that half of the reviewed articles label technology use, features and attributes as affordances, although Gibson proposed that the term should be a non-replaceable term. The main contribution of this paper is a proposal of a tentative IS-flavoured definition of affordances, distancing itself from the possibility of labelling technology use as affordances. I conclude the analysis by stressing the importance of a common understanding of affordances in order to move forward in affordance research in the information systems field.
... Identifying generative mechanisms through affordances Strong et al. (2014) argue that the actualisation of basic affordances can lead to the emergence of moreadvanced affordances, later termed higher-level mechanisms by Bygstad et al. (2016). Thapa and Sein (2018) also confirm through their findings that actualisation of affordances may lead to the emergence of other affordances. Bygstad et al. describe a stepwise framework on how to identify generative mechanisms through affordances, where one of the steps is about "abstracting affordances into higher-level mechanisms" (e.g., the searching, booking and registering affordances were abstracted into the adoption mechanism) (p. ...
... To adapt AT to IS research, several IS scholars have contributed with new theoretical concepts and extensions. In the reviewed articles AT was applied in various contexts, hence many affordance categories were introduced, such as affordances-for-practice (Zheng & Yu, 2016), blockchain affordances (Rossi et al., 2019), connective affordances (Vaast et al., 2017), convivial affordances (Mckenna, 2020), crowdsourcing work environment affordances (Deng & Joshi, 2016), digital affordances (Thapa & Sein, 2018), dispositional affordances , handling, effecter, instrumental and supplemental affordances (Benbunan-Fich, 2019), harmonious IT affordances (Chatterjee et al., 2020(Chatterjee et al., , 2021, higher-, medium-and lower-level affordances (Bygstad et al., 2016;Cheikh-Ammar, 2018;Volkoff & Strong, 2013), individual, collective and shared affordances (Leonardi, 2013), informational affordances (Porter & van den Hooff, 2020), infrastructure affordances (Niemimaa & Niemimaa, 2019), interface affordances (Burgoon et al., 1999), IT platform affordances (Arazy et al., 2016), misperceived affordances (Demetis & Kietzmann, 2021), organisational affordances , social media affordances (Chan et al., 2019;Van Osch & Steinfield, 2016;Zheng & Yu, 2016), social affordances (Lankton et al., 2015), tool affordances (Gaskin et al., 2014) and wiki affordances (Arazy & Gellatly, 2012;Argyris & Ransbotham, 2016;Majchrzak, Wagner, et al., 2013). I will return to some of these in the section below. ...
... The role of an ensemble of affordances is to actualize concrete outcome. Thapa and Sein (2018) Facilitating conditions ...
Preprint
[NOTE - THIS IS A PREPRINT. SE "PUBLISHED VERSION" LINK ABOVE FOR THE PUBLISHED VERSION]...Abstract (of preprint): This paper presents the findings from a systematic literature review of affordance theory research in the information systems field. 71 articles from the top 8 information system journals were analysed, from the first publication in 1999 until March 2021. The analysis combines quantitative trends with qualitative analysis of the application of the concept of affordances. Significant findings include that half of the reviewed articles apply the concept of affordances in a way that contradicts the original intention. Affordances was intended to be a non-replaceable term, yet extant IS research label technology use, features and attributes as affordances. The main contribution of this paper is a proposal of a tentative IS-flavoured definition of affordances, distancing itself from the possibility of labelling technology use as affordances. I conclude the analysis by stressing the importance of a common understanding of affordances in order to move forward in affordance research in the information systems field.
... The framework combining affordances and capabilities to explain the relationship between ICT and development (Hatakka et al., 2019) does not mention the term facilitating conditions, but it does refer to the individual's characteristics, preconditions and the context as factors to be considered. Thapa and Sein (2018) argue that it is not affordances per se, but rather the interrelations between a variety of affordances and the actions of a group of actors who leveraged their capabilities to actualise the affordances. Thus, we found the concepts of facilitating conditions and conversion factors useful in describing the affordance actualisation process and draw on the work of Hatakka et al. (2020) in terms of incorporating both facilitating conditions and conversion factors when discussing affordances. ...
... Affordance theory has been used in evaluating electronic medical records systems as they engage with the actualisation of technology affordances (Anderson & Robey, 2017). The theory has also been used to present an account of the telemedicine project in Nepal, leading to the extension of the theory by introducing the concept of the trajectory of affordance and allowing clustering of affordances and even development of new affordances (Thapa & Sein, 2018). Shin (2017) used (motivational) affordance theory to understand how education virtual reality systems affect users as they traverse to achieve their goals. ...
... Affordance theory has some limitations, including the pull between realist and relativist ontologies (Oliver, 2005;Pozzi et al., 2014) and on how an affordance progresses from perception to actualisation. Thapa and Sein (2018) addressed the challenge by introducing the trajectory of affordances. Another solution has been the merger of the capabilities approach and affordance theory by Hatakka et al. (2020) to allow for the introduction of conversion factors and facilitating conditions. ...
Article
Collaboration is fundamental to progress in the field of information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) research where interdisciplinary teams are involved in the requirements elicitation, design, implementation and evaluation of context‐sensitive digital solutions. Research collaboration harbors the potential for knowledge exchange, improving research impact and human development; it is often a requirement in grant applications for funding. Despite the known benefits and incentives, there is evidence that research collaborations between African countries are lacking compared to those with and between other geographic regions. Furthermore, research collaboration has been studied as a variable but theorisation of the concept is lacking. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to theorize research collaboration as an object with affordances based on the perspective of novice researchers (master's, doctoral and postdoctoral students) in South Africa. The data capturing from a survey and focus groups with ICT4D novice researchers from different universities in South Africa produced 39 responses to be captured, transcribed and analyzed with Atlas.ti 8 using thematic analysis. The main contribution is the theorisation of research collaboration as an object with properties and then an investigation of the affordances offered to novice researchers together with the facilitating conditions and conversion factors influencing the actualisation of those affordances. The practical contribution is the insight gained into the perspectives of novice researchers as representatives of the future generation of research collaborators.
... As shown in the table of concept themes ( Table 2.), these themes revealed what the selected studies share and what they do not share in terms of their perspective on and application of Affordance Theory. One of the four included studies followed the first school of thought [34], and three followed the second school [35][36][37]. However, there were variations in the way the studies that followed the second school used the theory. ...
... Thapa and Sein [37] stated, "affordances offer action possibilities and thus are just potentialities." The authors argued that what is more important than the discussion of the preexistence of the affordances is the actualizing of these affordances. ...
... This view is aligned with the first school of thought, in which Gibson's view on the affordance is extended to actualization, and not just to the users' perception [15]. However, Thapa and Sein [37] contradicted Gibson's view in arguing that an affordance could be actualized without the perception of users. They made their augment referring to Volkoff and Strong's [16] unanswered question of whether there must be some level of perception (or a level of awareness) before an affordance is actualized. ...
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Conference Paper
Humans' relationships with objects are a crucial theoretical phenomenon in the visual perception field. Gibson contributed to the field by introducing Affordance Theory. His theory explains that humans do not interact with objects unless they perceive what the objects can afford or offer them. This position has created an ongoing debate leading IS researchers, among others, to apply the theory differently following two schools of thought. One school highlights the existence of IT artifact's affordances to users' perceptions and the IT artifact's features merging together. The other school emphasizes that the IT artifact's affordances are already embedded in its design and features. This review compares various applications of the theory made by the two schools, focusing on mHealth app studies. A framework including the various useful arguments is presented in order to guide researchers toward a better utilization and to help designers to improve IT artifact's usability and usefulness.
... 824). Taking a similar view of affordances as evolving along a continuum before having an actual impact on a goal, Thapa and Sein (2018) Figure 2 summarizes the emergent conceptual understanding of how affordances progress through different states before impacting an immediate goal. The starting point is a potential affordance, where an actor possesses the action capabilities to use a digital artifact's non-deterministic causal potential to a specific goal (Bernhard et al., 2013). ...
... This potential can exist irrespective of the actor's awareness of it. Therefore, affordances have to be discovered or perceived based on the availability of information (Thapa & Sein, 2018) before they can be actualized (Du et al., 2019;Strong et al., 2014). ...
... Perceiving an affordance, however, does not necessarily mean that the actor must realize the offered action possibility (Stoffregen, 2000). Actualization, the process of turning perceived potential into action, involves effort and possibly experimentation (Du et al., 2019) in creating facilitating conditions such as support structures and enabling social conditions (Thapa & Sein, 2018). Then, unless the affordance was misperceived (Shaw et al., 1982), use should allow the actor to reach the intended goal. ...
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Article
This paper conceptualises the COVID-19 pandemic as a “rare event.” Rare events channel managerial attention to magnified issues and foster resource mobilisation and learning. We draw on a case study of a US consumer lender to develop a model explaining how organisations actualise digital affordances as part of their rare event response and, in doing so, leverage the transformative experience towards establishing a “new normal.” The model and its instantiation contribute conceptual understanding and advice for how IS managers may effectively address rare events and, in particular, the COVID-19 pandemic, including the aftermath of its lockdown and the transition to the new business status quo. The model emphasises the importance of understanding the evolution of digital affordances as possessing teleological paths where affordances are developed in steps corresponding to where an organisation focuses its managerial attention, with indirect consequences of possibilities to attend to other objectives enabled by digital technologies. Overall, the model contributes to theory by explaining the role of rare events in the evolution of affordances, including some that can be transformative and introducing the rare events literature into the IS discipline.
... Within IS, the potential of affordances is generally characterized by technology-organizing possibilities for the intersection between IT functionality and organizational processes and procedures, controls and social capacities (Zammuto et al. 2007). This is why there is already an abundance of studies that use the concept both theoretically (Faraj and Azad 2012;Fayard and Weeks 2014;Leonardi 2011;Markus and Silver 2008;Robey et al. 2012;Strong et al. 2014) and empirically (Majchrzak et al. 2013a;Mansour et al. 2013;Thapa and Sein 2018;Treem and Leonardi 2012) to investigate various IS phenomena including organizational use of social media. Originally, the notion of affordance was first introduced by Gibson (1977) in the field of ecological psychology as a way to understand direct perception that is an act through which humans obtain information about objects in their surrounding environment to perceive them. ...
... Against this background, it is reasonable to say that there is a tendency by scholars of technology and organization to agree on the idea that using affordances can possibly provide a tool to address one of the core yet complex issues that underpins the study of technology in organizations: the relationship between the social (human goals, norms, and practices) and the material (technology functions and features) (see Faraj and Azad 2012;Kallinikos et al. 2012;Leonardi and Barley 2008;Leonardi 2013a;Mansour et al. 2013;Mutch 2013;Orlikowski 2007;2010;Orlikowski and Scott 2008;Stendal et al. 2016;Zammuto et al. 2007). For the most part, we can see that current studies either focus on identifying affordances of technology and levels of enactment (e.g., macro, micro, and meso) (Leonardi and Vaast 2017;Mansour et al. 2013;Treem and Leonardi 2012;Vaast et al. 2017) or developing metaphors in an attempt to explain affordances as a bridge between the social and the material (Leonardi 2011;Markus and Silver 2008;Thapa and Sein 2018;Zammuto et al. 2007). We believe that neither of these approaches provides a sufficient theoretical basis or tool that can be used empirically to investigate how this might happen in practice. ...
... Recent literature addressing the relationship between technology and organizing, or the social and material, suggests an emphasis on the mutuality of this relationship (Kallinikos et al. 2012;Lanamäki et al. 2016;Leonardi and Barley 2008;Leonardi 2011;Leonardi 2012;Orlikowski 2007;Orlikowski and Scott 2008;Orlikowski 2010;Stendal et al. 2016;Thapa and Sein 2018). The aim is to revive materiality and its role which often fades into the background in studies of technology and organization (Leonardi and Barley 2008;2010;Orlikowski 2007;Orlikowski and Scott 2008). ...
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Article
The current paper addresses one of the core yet complex issues in the study of technology in organizations: the relationship between the social and the material. Many scholars in the field of Information Systems have used the notion of affordance as a lens to investigate and theorize this relationship. However, knowledge contributions in this area are often abstract and impractical, or at least compel further conceptual development. This paper uses a relational view of affordances to study organizational social media affordances based on empirical data collected about the use of the Wiki technology at two large multinational organizations-CCC and IBM. It theorizes four key mechanisms-referring to other affordances (referential), collectively enacting significant affordances (communal), situation-dependent exploitation of affordances (situatedness), and exploiting other opportunities for action (multiplicity), that embody the interaction between the social and the material. These mechanisms make up what is labelled in this paper as "the affordances apparatus". The apparatus provides a conceptual structure for the interaction between social and material features that shows operational dynamics and processes underpinning the perception, enactment and exploitation of affordances. This apparatus is the main contribution of the paper in that it gives researchers a conceptual tool for investigating affordances as relational constructs between the social and the material. It also helps in understanding how people navigate the use of technology features relative to their intentions and goals.
... 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). ...
... Affordance theories have attracted significant attention in IS research. In recent years, it has been found useful for studying technology-human interactions (Wu et al., 2020) to overcome technological or social determinism (Thapa & Sein, 2018). However, it remains emergent as it continues to be adapted and extended alongside technological advancements. ...
... Moreover, initial application of affordance theory focused on action possibilities as factors. However, recent extensions have resulted in the emergence of affordance actualisation as a process (Strong et al., 2014;Thapa & Sein, 2018;Wang, Wang, & Tang, 2018) to explain the temporal dimension of affordances. The affordance actualization process entails perception, actualization and effects. ...
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.
... A hospital could, for example, organize improvement meetings to share ideas and stimulate affordance actualization across its departments [7]. In a remote telemedicine project in Nepal, the actualization of crucial affordances was found to depend on the accommodation of changes in personal, social, and cultural arrangements [40]. The latter study also points to the interdependency between different collaborative affordances: if actors actualize some affordances, this may lead to an outcome that may trigger the recognition of other affordances [40]. ...
... In a remote telemedicine project in Nepal, the actualization of crucial affordances was found to depend on the accommodation of changes in personal, social, and cultural arrangements [40]. The latter study also points to the interdependency between different collaborative affordances: if actors actualize some affordances, this may lead to an outcome that may trigger the recognition of other affordances [40]. By drawing on data from five diverse multidisciplinary outpatient clinics in a hospital, we examined how an EHR's inscribed collaborative affordances facilitated and constrained actual collaboration within and between disciplines and medical specialties. ...
... This implies that the enforcement of hospital-wide policies on the use of EHRs are necessary to reap the potential benefits of these systems. This study also supports the research of Thapa and Sein [40] who argue that contextual factors largely determine the extent to which collaborative affordances are actualized by groups of individuals. Our findings show that EHRenabled collaboration is dependent on contextual factors including role authorizations, system representations, organizational policies, and how medical professionals use the collaborative affordances. ...
Full-text available
Article
Background: One of the main objectives of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) is to enhance collaboration among healthcare professionals. However, our knowledge of how EHRs actually affect collaborative practices is limited. This study examines how an EHR facilitates and constrains collaboration in five outpatient clinics. Methods: We conducted an embedded case study at five outpatient clinics of a Dutch hospital that had implemented an organization-wide EHR. Data were collected through interviews with representatives of medical specialties, administration, nursing, and management. Documents were analyzed to contextualize these data. We examined the following collaborative affordances of EHRs: (1) portability, (2) co-located access, (3) shared overviews, (4) mutual awareness, (5) messaging, and (6) orchestrating. Results: Our findings demonstrate how an EHR will both facilitate and constrain collaboration among specialties and disciplines. Affordances that were inscribed in the system for collaboration purposes were not fully actualized in the hospital because: (a) The EHR helps health professionals coordinate patient care on an informed basis at any time and in any place but only allows asynchronous patient record use. (b) The comprehensive patient file affords joint clinical decision-making based on shared data, but specialty- and discipline-specific user-interfaces constrain mutual understanding of that data. Moreover, not all relevant information can be easily shared across specialties and outside the hospital. (c) The reduced necessity for face-to-face communication saves time but is experienced as hindering collective responsibility for a smooth workflow. (d) The EHR affords registration at the source and registration of activities through orders, but the heightened administrative burden for physicians and the strict authorization rules on inputting data constrain the flexible, multidisciplinary collaboration. (e) While the EHR affords a complete overview, information overload occurs due to the parallel generation of individually owned notes and the high frequency of asynchronous communication through messages of varying clinical priority. Conclusions: For the optimal actualization of EHRs' collaborative affordances in hospitals, coordinated use of these affordances by health professionals is a prerequisite. Such coordinated use requires organizational, technical, and behavioral adaptations. Suggestions for hospital-wide policies to enhance trust in both the EHR and in its coordinated use for effective collaboration are offered.
... A hospital could, for example, organize improvement meetings to share ideas and stimulate affordance actualization across itsdepartments [7]. In a remote telemedicine project in Nepal,theactualization of crucial affordanceswas found to depend on the accommodation of changes in personal, social, and cultural arrangements [32]. The latter study also points to the interdependency between different collaborative affordances: if actors actualize some affordances, thismay lead to an outcome that may trigger the recognition of other affordances [32]. ...
... In a remote telemedicine project in Nepal,theactualization of crucial affordanceswas found to depend on the accommodation of changes in personal, social, and cultural arrangements [32]. The latter study also points to the interdependency between different collaborative affordances: if actors actualize some affordances, thismay lead to an outcome that may trigger the recognition of other affordances [32]. By drawing on data from ve diverse multidisciplinary outpatient clinics in a hospital, we examined how an EHR'sinscribed collaborative affordances facilitated and constrained actual collaboration within and between disciplines and medical specialties. ...
... This implies that the enforcement of hospital-wide policies on the use of EHRs are necessary to reap the potential bene ts of these systems. This study also supports the research of Thapa and Sein [32] who argue that contextual factors largely determine the extent to which collaborative affordances are actualized by groups of individuals. Our ndings show that EHR-enabled collaboration is dependent on contextual factors including role authorizations, system representations, organizational policies, and how other professionals use the collaborative affordances. ...
Full-text available
Preprint
Background:One of the main objectives ofElectronic Health Records (EHRs) is to enhancecollaboration among healthcare professionals. However, our knowledge of how EHRs actually affect collaborative practices is limited. This study examines how an EHR facilitates and constrains collaborationin five outpatient clinics. Methods: We conducted an embedded case study at five multidisciplinary outpatient clinics of a hospital that had implemented organization-wide EHR. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with representatives of medical specialties, administration, nursing, and management. Documents were then analyzed to contextualize these data. We examined the following six collaborative affordances of EHRs: (1) portability, (2) co-located access, (3) shared overviews, (4) mutual awareness, (5) messaging, and (6) orchestrating. Results:Our findings demonstratehow an EHRwill simultaneously bothfacilitate andconstrain collaborationamong specialties and disciplines. Affordances that were inscribed in the system for collaboration purposeswere not fully actualized in the focal hospital because: (a)The EHR helps health professionalscoordinate patient care on an informed basis at any time and in any placebut only allows asynchronouspatient record use. (b)The comprehensive patient file affords joint clinical decision-making based on shared data, but specialty- and discipline-specific user-interfaces constrain mutual understanding of that data. Moreover, not all relevant information can be easily shared across specialties and outside the hospital. (c)The reduced necessity forface-to-face communication saves time but is experienced as hindering collective responsibility for a smooth workflow. (d)The EHR affords registration at the source and full registration of activities through orders, but the heightened administrative burdenfor physicians and the strict authorization rules on inputting dataconstrainthe flexible, multidisciplinary collaboration. (e) While the EHR affords a complete overview, information overload occurs due to the parallel generation of individually owned notes and the high frequency of asynchronous communication through messages of varying clinical priority. Conclusions: For the optimal actualization of EHRs’collaborative affordancesin hospitals, coordinated use of these affordancesby health professionalsis a prerequisite.Suchcoordinated userequires organizational, technical, and behavioral adaptations. Suggestions for hospital-wide policies toenhance trust in both the EHR and in its coordinated usefor effective collaboration are offered.
... Affordances emerge from interactions between goal-oriented actors and the environment and are influenced by the properties of the actors and environment (Gibson, 1979;Markus & Silver, 2008;Thapa & Sein, 2018). Affordances acknowledge the materiality of the technology (Leonardi & Barley, 2010;Robey, Anderson, & Raymond, 2013) and consider the social and technical aspects intertwined (Volkoff & Strong, 2017). ...
... In practice, CA needs to be managed to achieve such aims and to avoid free riding (Olson, 2002). Notable knowledge gaps include the need to explore the role of social media in enabling CA (Thapa & Sein, 2018), to understand how technology assists groups in cultivating collective commitment and engagement (Tim et al., 2018), and on exploring the role of affordances for organisational knowledge processes within various contexts (Leonardi & Vaast, 2017). Furthermore, in their study on how affordances are clustered, Thapa and Sein (2018) argue that their findings hint about a dependency and hierarchy among affordances, providing another area of interest for further investigation. ...
... Notable knowledge gaps include the need to explore the role of social media in enabling CA (Thapa & Sein, 2018), to understand how technology assists groups in cultivating collective commitment and engagement (Tim et al., 2018), and on exploring the role of affordances for organisational knowledge processes within various contexts (Leonardi & Vaast, 2017). Furthermore, in their study on how affordances are clustered, Thapa and Sein (2018) argue that their findings hint about a dependency and hierarchy among affordances, providing another area of interest for further investigation. ...
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Article
Social media provide new opportunities for supporting the dynamics of collective action (CA), allowing for the mobilisation of people into debates and involving them in new forms of collective decision making. Although current studies focus on opportunities offered by social media for collective action, there is still a need to deepen the understanding of how social media support the organisation of CA and to study the effects of individual actions performed on social media in complex organisational settings. We here explore how social media are used to manage CA by the Italian political movement Movimento Cinque Stelle, using the concept of affordances as the conceptual framing. Based on the qualitative case analyses, our study contributes to the knowledge base by identifying a typology of nine affordances supporting CA and exploring how the combined actualisations of some affordances of the typology create antecedents of the fundamental processes of CA. On the basis of the study analysis, we suggest a model to describe how social media support CA through affordances, their combinations, and the creation of antecedents and then formulate implications for research and practice.
... Review identified many reasons behind the lack of accessibility, such as poor communication system, land slide or flash flood during rainy season, etc. In total 20 papers reported the telemedicine features of addressing challenges of geographic remoteness 27-46 and 11 papers reported time saving [29][30][31][32][33]40,41,[47][48][49][50] character. 4 papers reported communication and transportation 30,32,46,49 related issues. ...
... Thapa et al 2018 29 Providing adequate healthcare to the remote mountainous villages remains a huge challenge, which is shaped by the scarcity of doctors and poor communication. Nepal telemedicine project was initiated to meet these challenges. ...
... The current review identified 11 papers reporting the issue of shortage of healthcare service providers. 29,39,[42][43][44][45][46][47][53][54][55][56] 3 papers have highlighted the issue of inadequate health facilities. 29,41,54 These three papers discussed one common thing, which was the lack of skilled and specialized healthcare service providers outside of the mega cities of Nepal. ...
Full-text available
Article
The traditional model of health services imposes limitations, especially in resource-limited countries like Nepal. Introduction to information technology can mitigate various challenges like geographic complexity, urban-rural disparity, poor accessibility, shortage of healthcare professionals, inadequate health facilities, higher cost, and time. Nepal is a resource-limited country with diverse geographic features making it hard to have proper access to healthcare facilities. Telemedicine service has the potential to improve service quality and accessibility of the disadvantaged and underserved population by overcoming the existing challenges. The objective of this review was to explore the roles of telemedicine in vanquish-ing existing challenges. Seven data sources (namely CINAHL, PubMed, POPLINE, Web of Science, Scopus, DOAJ and Summon) were consulted using five keywords (telemedicine, telehealth, eHealth, mHealth and Nepal to find the literature using the Boolean operator AND) to obtain the relevant materials. The narrative synthesis method was used to review papers and to analyze the findings. This review selected 27 papers for further analysis by scrutinizing 1161 initial search results. The most common features of telemedicine services so far, implemented or piloted in Nepal, were addressing geographic remoteness (21%), a shortage of in healthcare service providers (11%), saving time (11%), addressing challenges of extreme conditions (10%), cost saving (9%), service quality (9%) and real-time services (8%). Some other features of telemedicine were communication, transportation, referral, collaboration, addressing challenges in proper diagnosis and the shortage of health professionals. In a nutshell, the review findings suggested improved service quality, increased collaboration and accessibility and decreased the disparity in comparison with traditional health service models. Although it cannot be said that telemedicine in Nepal has been mainstreamed, yet the appeal is increasing due to its positive impact, especially in rural and hard-to-reach areas where with a lack of healthcare setup and professionals.
... Review identified many reasons behind the lack of accessibility, such as poor communication system, land slide or flash flood during rainy season, etc. In total 20 papers reported the telemedicine features of addressing challenges of geographic remoteness 27-46 and 11 papers reported time saving [29][30][31][32][33]40,41,[47][48][49][50] character. 4 papers reported communication and transportation 30,32,46,49 related issues. ...
... Thapa et al 2018 29 Providing adequate healthcare to the remote mountainous villages remains a huge challenge, which is shaped by the scarcity of doctors and poor communication. Nepal telemedicine project was initiated to meet these challenges. ...
... The current review identified 11 papers reporting the issue of shortage of healthcare service providers. 29,39,[42][43][44][45][46][47][53][54][55][56] 3 papers have highlighted the issue of inadequate health facilities. 29,41,54 These three papers discussed one common thing, which was the lack of skilled and specialized healthcare service providers outside of the mega cities of Nepal. ...
Full-text available
Article
The traditional model of health services imposes limitations, especially in resource-limited countries like Nepal. Introduction to information technology can mitigate various challenges like geographic complexity, urban-rural disparity, poor accessibility, shortage of healthcare professionals, inadequate health facilities, higher cost, and time. Nepal is a resource-limited country with diverse geographic features making it hard to have proper access to healthcare facilities. Telemedicine service has the potential to improve service quality and accessibility of the disadvantaged and underserved population by overcoming the existing challenges. The objective of this review was to explore the roles of telemedicine in vanquishing existing challenges. Seven data sources (namely CINAHL, PubMed, POPLINE, Web of Science, Scopus, DOAJ and Summon) were consulted using five keywords (telemedicine, telehealth, eHealth, mHealth and Nepal to find the literature using the Boolean operator AND) to obtain the relevant materials. The narrative synthesis method was used to review papers and to analyze the findings. This review selected 27 papers for further analysis by scrutinizing 1161 initial search results. The most common features of telemedicine services so far, implemented or piloted in Nepal, were addressing geographic remoteness (21%), a shortage of in healthcare service providers (11%), saving time (11%), addressing challenges of extreme conditions (10%), cost saving (9%), service quality (9%) and real-time services (8%). Some other features of telemedicine were communication, transportation, referral, collaboration, addressing challenges in proper diagnosis and the shortage of health professionals. In a nutshell, the review findings suggested improved service quality, increased collaboration and accessibility and decreased the disparity in comparison with traditional health service models. Although it cannot be said that telemedicine in Nepal has been mainstreamed, yet the appeal is increasing due to its positive impact, especially in rural and hard-to-reach areas where with a lack of healthcare set-up and professionals.
... The digitalization process generates big data that can be converted into actionable information [8], which can be later mapped to SDG indicators. The theory of affordances originated from ecological psychology can be a useful lens in this regard [20,36,37]. The Affordance theory states that we perceive objects in terms of action possibilities (what I can do with the object), i.e., affordances rather than their properties. ...
... However, what kind of facilitating conditions should be arranged to make the affordances perceivable needs further exploration. Because, just perceiving affordances, does not lead to actualization due to various sociocultural and institutional challenges [36]. Therefore, to understand the actualization process we can combine other theories such as institutional theory, structuration, or Actor-Network theory to name a few [38]. ...
Chapter
In this paper, we argue that the existing research looking at digitalization (DT) and sustainable development (SD) in Business Management and Information Systems takes a dualist view, where digitalization and sustainable development is studied independently. Such a dualistic approach has limitations because these two areas are interconnected and mutually influence each other. Hence, we need to take a non-dualistic view to better understand these two phenomena. By conducting a selective literature review, we describe how digitalization and sustainable development concepts are used; and revealed how these two areas are linked in the current literatures. Finally, based on our analysis, we propose four research agendas: first, need for a paradigm shift (ontology, epistemology, axiology, methodology, and domain); second, conceptual clarity in terms of digitalization and sustainable development; third, theories to link DT and SD; and fourth, the role of social enterprises in linking DT and SD.
... Information access. Conole and Dyke (2004) argue that the vast amount of information offered by information and communication technologies (ICTs) makes (information) accessibility a fundamental affordance, as identified by Thapa and Sein (2018) for telemedicine. Payment apps go beyond the functionality of transactions and display information about products and services that could be purchased via the app, about movies, and travel ticket availabilities. ...
... Valence framework-oriented IS Literature: (Li et al., 2018) Affordance Theory-based IS Literature: (Conole & Dyke, 2004;Seidel et al., 2013;Thapa & Sein, 2018) Mobile Payment Literature: "Information sharing"; "Information Quality"-Mobile app- (Taylor & Levin, 2014) Mobile payment/banking- (Zhou, 2011(Zhou, , 2013) Convenience (Ha2/ Hb2) ...
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.
... Tim et al. (2018) use affordances to look into the enabling powers and unintended consequences of social media use in community driven environmental sustainability efforts in rural Malaysia. Thapa and Sein (2018) analyze the use of telemedicine in Nepal by looking into the process of affordance actualization and find that affordance actualization travels through multiple trajectories and therefore, may result in new affordances. Dini et al. (2018) investigate a government-initiated social media project within a youth group in Indonesia to understand the action potentials and constraining factors of the system. ...
... It is still early to say how the overall workings of the MFS are going to play out in emerging markets like Bangladesh due to a variety of complex socially embedded issues (education, gender roles, power relationsboth individual and institutional), but, emergence of new types of financial systems such as MFS is surely going to alter the existing regulatory climate globally (Geva, 2016). Thapa and Sein (2018) argue that an affordance sometimes may give rise to another new affordance. We observe a similar phenomenon. ...
Full-text available
Article
Mobile financial services (MFS) have the potential to impact developing countries by making financial services more accessible. To realize this potential, it is imperative to illuminate why and how people use these new platforms to accomplish their goals. Using affordance theory as a guiding tool, this study aims to uncover the underlying goal directed affordances and actualization techniques used by MFS users in Bangladesh. The data are collected through in‐depth interviews with MFS users and analyzed using thematic analysis to uncover affordances along with actualization techniques that are embedded in everyday social contexts of the users. The study finds that users in their attempts to accomplish specific goals uncover various latent affordances of MFS platforms such as financial services accessibility, self‐controlling ability, spatial and temporal mobility, disintermediation ability, self‐sustainability, secrecy maintainability, and networkability, and employ several techniques to actualize those affordances. These results have implications for utilizing MFS platforms to promote ICT4D goals.
... This aligns with the theory of affordances, which states that differences in technology adoption, e.g. varying levels of network activity and feature use, depend on individual perception of features (Thapa and Sein 2018). More specifically, affordances represent action possibilities to individuals who interact with a technology (Volkoff and Strong 2013). ...
... We show that ESBs can elicit activities leading to different or even new perceptions of ESN affordances. Hence, scholars should take a dynamic perspective on affordances as they are emergent through the process of discovery (Thapa and Sein 2018). As affordances are perceived based on the material artefact features and individual capabilities to use these features, they can be altered and extended over time. ...
Full-text available
Conference Paper
Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs) have the potential to significantly improve communication and collaboration between employees. However, as participation is voluntary, usability is still a problem in organizations. Current research on technology affordances suggests that users may not recognize the opportunities for action of IT artefacts. In our qualitative study in a medium-sized company, we investigate the use of enterprise social bots in ESNs, which can elicit human interaction by inviting users to socialize. The results show, that bot-induced offline socializing transfers to the online networking context and leads to an expanded perception of ESN affordances, which increases corresponding actualizations and overall ESN use. Our work contributes an affordance in sequence perspective to information systems research. From a resource perspective, we contribute a perspective of enterprise social bots as low-cost, time-and space-independent IT artefacts to provide ESN users with information or initiate socializing.
... As a result, these two strands enable the technology affordance theory to hold a middle ground between technological determinism and social constructivism (Leonardi and Barley, 2008). Thus, from the relational perspective, technology affordance theory does not determine how technology will be used, while also acknowledging its material limitation (Thapa and Sein, 2018). ...
... For instance, Dini et al. (2018) used the theory to investigate e-participation in Indonesia. Similarly, Thapa and Sein (2018) used it to investigate telemedicine in Nepal. Also, Wyche and Steinfield (2016) used the theory to investigate why Kenyan farmers do not use cell phones to access market prices. ...
Article
Public sector organisations around the world are deploying digital platforms as part of their transformational strategy. However, prior research has predominantly focused on developed economies with stable institutional environments, while limited studies exist on less developed economies. Notwithstanding the digital divide, institutional voids, economic and development challenges facing less developed economies, digital platformisation as a strategy is fuelling technology leapfrogging in public sector transformation. Drawing on a case study of Ghana’s paperless port digital transformation and the technology affordance theory, we address the research question: “How can digital platformisation facilitate public sector transformation?” Based on the findings and the technology affordance theory, this study develops a transformational affordance framework (TAF) and offers propositions on how digital platforms can enable public sector transformation.
... They assume that the actualization of basic affordances produces outcomes which in turn enable the actualization of higher-level affordances. Building upon this assumption, Thapa and Sein (2017) propose the trajectory of affordance construct that also reflects the need for facilitating conditions before higher-level affordances can be actualized. To clarify interrelations between multiple affordances, some authors suggest creating affordance strands by grouping affordances that are related to similar immediate concrete outcomes (Volkoff and Strong, 2013;Leidner, Gonzalez and Koch, 2018). ...
... Such collective actualization processes can be visualized by using affordance networks (Burton-Jones and and affordance dependency diagrams (Strong et al., 2014;Karlsen et al., 2019). 6) Identify contextual factors inhibiting or enabling affordance actualization: Many authors provide a detailed description of their research context and identified contextual factors inhibiting or enabling affordance actualization such as work environment characteristics, individual competencies, skills, and attitudes, as well as IT features and infrastructure (Jung and Lyytinen, 2014;Strong et al., 2014;Bygstad, Munkvold and Volkoff, 2016;Burton-Jones and Volkoff, 2017;Thapa and Sein, 2017;Krancher, Luther and Jost, 2018;Du et al., 2019;Karlsen et al., 2019;Leonardi, Bailey and Pierce, 2019). ...
Full-text available
Conference Paper
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.
... Once users perceive affordances, they can perform various actions to realize their potential, which is called affordance actualization [32]. The actualization of affordances results in immediate concrete outcomes which in turn can result in the emergence of new affordances [33]. In this regard, Burton-Jones and Volkoff [34] propose affordance-outcome units as building blocks of affordance networks that map the connections and feedback loops between different affordanceoutcome units. ...
... These outcomes describe the production blocking effect as the participants were interrupted in their own train of thought while listening more closely to the other participants and waiting for their turn. The affordance and constraint network also shows that sometimes the outcomes resulting from the tried actualization of a constrained communicative action can result in the emergence of a new affordance [33]. In our study, the seating arrangement constrained the possibility to look at each other which resulted in an increased difficulty to recognize when others started to speak and receive the others attention. ...
... Once users perceive affordances, they can perform various actions to realize their potential, which is called affordance actualization [32]. The actualization of affordances results in immediate concrete outcomes which in turn can result in the emergence of new affordances [33]. In this regard, Burton-Jones and Volkoff [34] propose affordance-outcome units as building blocks of affordance networks that map the connections and feedback loops between different affordanceoutcome units. ...
... These outcomes describe the production blocking effect as the participants were interrupted in their own train of thought while listening more closely to the other participants and waiting for their turn. The affordance and constraint network also shows that sometimes the outcomes resulting from the tried actualization of a constrained communicative action can result in the emergence of a new affordance [33]. In our study, the seating arrangement constrained the possibility to look at each other which resulted in an increased difficulty to recognize when others started to speak and receive the others attention. ...
Full-text available
Conference Paper
Idea generation processes are important for companies to develop new products and services, and brainstorming is a popular method for generating ideas in groups. However, it has been shown that negative group effects can occur during brainstorming sessions, especially since teams today often collaborate from different locations. Therefore, electronic brainstorming systems are needed that foster creativity while reducing negative group effects. We extend the research on electronic brainstorming systems by investigating how virtual reality affordances and constraints influence the occurrence of negative group effects in virtual reality brainstorming sessions. We conduct a qualitative study with 18 participants consisting of virtual reality brainstorming sessions and subsequent interviews. Using the affordance network approach, we explain the occurrence of production blocking and evaluation apprehension. Furthermore, we suggest extending this approach by incorporating constraint-outcome units and discuss whether the notion of affordance actualization can be transferred to constraints.
... Therefore, we complement the CA using affordances, as suggested by Thapa and Zheng (2019). While both theories have been used in ICT4D research (see, eg, Zheng & Walsham, 2008;Diaz Andrade & Doolin, 2016;Thapa & Sein, 2018;Zheng & Yu, 2016), they are seldom combined in the same study. This study combined both theories to gain a holistic understanding of the ICT4D project at hand, as suggested by Sein et al. (2019). ...
... In such instances, for villagers to act properly on existing capabilities, conversion factors such as personal motivation, changing social norms, or creating environments with job opportunities in the village need to be addressed. The actualisation of an affordance may also reveal new affordances that an individual can act upon (Thapa & Sein, 2018 ...
Full-text available
Article
In this paper, we explore how the combination of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and self‐organised study circles improves rural communities' ability to enhance their economic opportunities. We present the case study of an adult study‐circle project in the Kwale County of Kenya with the objective of providing rural communities with viable and sustainable livelihoods. Study circles can be seen as a democratic and emancipatory method for learning, where community groups regularly meet for participatory discussions to educate themselves on a variety of topics of their own interest. The main goal of the study‐circle members was to increase economic opportunities using ICT and, more specifically, to start micro‐businesses, improve production efficacy and methods, and obtain employment. Using the capability approach and affordances as theoretical lenses, our analysis of the explorative case study shows that the outcomes of the study circle were dependent on various conversion factors and facilitating conditions, such as resources, skills, socio‐cultural norms, and infrastructure. The main contributions from our work are represented by the five practical lessons learned from the study‐circle members' goals (starting micro‐businesses, product efficiency, and obtaining employment) from the self‐organised training approach (study circles) and from our theoretical approach (combining the capability approach and affordances).
... Affordances represent an established theoretical lens through which the social and technical aspects of artifact use can be assessed (e.g., Thapa & Sein, 2017;Mettler & Wulf, 2019;Faik et al., 2020;Sun et al., 2020;Fu et al., 2020;Osmundsen et al., 2022;Xu et al., 2022). Affordances provide human users opportunities for action, which can emerge from the relationship among goal-oriented actors, material aspects of a technology, and situations (Abhari et al., 2022;Meske & Amojo, 2020;Osmundsen et al., 2022). ...
Full-text available
Article
Affordance theory provides one of the most prominent lenses through which the socio-technical aspects of a system’s use can be investigated and understood. In this context, the literature has proposed that perceived and actualized affordances may be adjusted over time. Yet, how the adjustment of affordances occurs has not been explained in detail. Thus, in this article, we develop a conceptual model of feedback mechanisms that includes a more explicit description of how affordances are perceived by users, whether actualized and adjusted. With the model, we introduce the central concept of a generative base, out of which affordance perceptions emerge and which can be updated through affordance actualizations. With this base, we integrate mental model (MM) theory to explain better the differing perceptions before and after actor–artifact interactions. Our conceptual model is illustrated and specified using an empirical case of the mental mobile health (mHealth) app “Between The Lines” in Germany. In this study, we conducted 40 interviews in two rounds with 20 teenage app users. Our results show that the users’ perceptions of mHealth affordances become adjusted and hence change over time due to experiencing the actualization process, which may lead to an update of the generative base, including the user’s MM.
... Affordances have been used in the ICT4D field for various purposes such as to derive design principles for technology (Wellman et al., 2001), to explore the affordances of telemedicine in developing countries (Thapa & Sein, 2017), or to understand how social affordances lead to collective action (Zheng & Yu, 2016). While affordances could be understood from different perspectives (Stendal et al., 2016), our view resonates with that of Volkoff and Strong (2013), who define affordances as the potential for behaviors associated with achieving an immediate concrete outcome arising from the relationship between the objects and the goal-oriented actors. ...
Article
In this paper we propose a framework to explain the possibilities of ICT in ICT4D. The PAR (Possibility, Action, Result) framework is based on the theoretical concepts of IS artifacts, affordances, and the capability approach, and is further refined by findings from an eGovernment project in Indonesia aiming to develop a digital platform to facilitate inclusive public debate for the citizens. The framework describes the process by which IS artifacts enable various action possibilities and choices. Furthermore, the framework shows how actors may realize their possibilities and choices, which in turn enhances their functioning. Our analysis also revealed the role of conversion factors, such as personal commitment and digital literacy, that hindered the actors' ability to actualize the possibilities of ICT. We make three main contributions. First, the PAR framework explains the process by which ICT can enhance individual and collective capabilities. Second, the concept of IS artifacts describes the perception of ICT possibilities and choices in the ICT4D context. Third, the process of feedback explains how an outcome of an action can lead to perception of new affordances.
... The results of this preliminary analysis were presented to our group of experts for further refining the list of critical conversion factors. Taking an Interpretive approach for this study, we began with a literature search to identify conversion factors for the actualisation of simple and derived affordances associated with smartphones (Thapa & Sein, 2018). ...
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Article
This study attempts to explore the contextual factors that play a significant role in promoting collaborative governance using mobile phones in developing countries. The study utilises review of academic literature and experts’ opinion to identify critical conversion factors and their interrelationship. Affordance Theory is used as a theoretical lens to identify eight significant factors covering development of infrastructure, citizen up-skilling, cost of access, ease of use, reliable infrastructure, ensured privacy & security, process accountability and a standardised m-governance policy. A combination of Total Interpretative Structure Modelling (TISM) and Cross-impact matrix multiplication applied to classification (MICMAC) analysis is employed to prioritise these conversion factors and classify them based on their dependence and driving power. A priority-based hierarchical model is proposed for establishing a sustainable m-governance ecosystem.
... Affordances examined in IS studies, are defined as "the possibilities for goal-oriented action afforded to specified user groups by technical objects" [29], and further advanced as the potential for behaviours associated with achieving an outcome, where the potential arises from the relationship between the object (e.g., BDA) and the goal-oriented actors [30], therefore, they are neither properties of the artifact nor characteristics of the actor. Our view resonates with affordances as potential for action, where the specific actualisation is dependent on the context [30,31]. An example of such view is described recently by Meske, Amojo [6], who suggest that the affordance of accessibility to relevant information in healthcare applications arises out of conversational agents and the patients using them. ...
Chapter
This paper proposes a theoretical framework to identify the mechanisms by which actors perceive the affordances of big data analytics (BDA) and how institutional voids and supports enable or hinder the actualisation of those perceived affordances. In doing so, we contribute to identifying the missing link needed to understand the social innovation process in relation to BDA. The framework paves the ground towards understanding the institutionalization process of social innovation and its implications for research and practice.
... (2) Interrelations and interactions between different affordances: Several researchers point to the need to clarify interrelations between different types of affordances as well as for discussing facilitators for their actualization to fully understand action potentials of IT artifacts, especially in organizational contexts (Bygstad et al., 2015;Strong et al., 2014;Thapa and Sein, 2017). For instance, researchers suggest the use of affordance dependency diagrams or affordances networks to understand concrete outcomes of individual affordances actualization in organizational contexts (Burton-Jones and Volkoff, 2017;Strong et al., 2014). ...
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Conference Paper
Since its development in the field of ecological psychology, the concept 'affordances' has been prone to various adaptations. This is most evident in information systems (IS) research, where rapid developments and the generativity of today's digital technologies require a fast advancement of affordances theorization. Frequent but stepwise progress has been made to the concept over the past few years through IS researchers. While those advancements are necessary for understanding IT-associated organizational change, they carry the risk of theoretical fragmentation hindering knowledge accumulation. Applying a systematic five-staged literature review and reintegrating the results into existing conceptualizations of affordances, this paper strives toward a meta-view on affordances, constituted in a descriptive affordances framework and an affordances lifecycle model. The former provides researchers a tool for better identifying and understanding the meta-characteristics of affordances, while the latter offers a lens to interpret the circumstances of affordance emergence, actualization, and their outcomes.
... There are two theoretical streams for this research: the theory of affordances and social capital theory. The affordances concept can provide a lens to better understand the process by which ICT can lead to development (Thapa & Sein, 2018). Social capital depends on trust, reciprocity, and exchanges (Thapa, Sein, & Saebø, 2012)- characteristics that can have direct or indirect implications for how actors perceive and actualize affordances. ...
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In June, 2019, the Association for Information Systems (AIS) adopted a new approach to addressing global sustainability issues by establishing the AIS Sustainability Task Force (AIS STF). This initiative focuses on building on the outcomes from the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals (MDG, 2000-2015) and applying them to address the challenges associated with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG, 2016-2030). In this paper, we review the challenges and outcomes from the UN sustainability programs with their potential relevance to IS in general and the AIS in particular to inform and assist increased efforts to achieve the global sustainability goals. The initial event, the AIS Sustainability Summit held at ICIS 2019, provided a forum for AIS groups and communities to share their current interests, plans, activities, and experiences relevant to the MDG and SDG. The event primarily focused on facilitating opportunities to scale the AIS’s sustainability activities through multi-disciplinary collaboration across the AIS and its communities. Members from four AIS special interest groups and the STF’s Education Workgroup presented exemplary projects at the summit that demonstrated how one can apply applied IS and research capabilities to address sustainability challenges. The sustainability summit’s also explored opportunities to achieve positive impact in addressing the SDG’s global challenges through applying AIS members’ knowledge, skills, and capabilities in relevant ways in collaboration with suitable organizations outside the AIS. Potential organizations include business, government, societal groups, and UN bodies. We presented and discussed the AIS STF’s aims, plans, outcomes, and impact. By analyzing details and options for cross-organizational collaboration, the representatives of organizations at the sustainability summit developed a proposed framework for scaling contributions and evaluating impact. Finally, they drew conclusions about the proposed activities, approaches, and framework for the AIS to improve the scope and scale of its contributions in addressing the SDG. Critically, the AIS needs to ensure that its proposed activities, contributions, and impact are examined by an internationally recognized independent process. We propose a model for the AIS to realize this requirement for evaluation in 2021.
... The outcome, however, depends on the actualization of perceived affordances. The actualization is further contingent on the availability of facilitating conditions (Thapa and Sein 2018). We argue that existing studies on mental mHealth do not provide such a broad perspective. ...
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Conference Paper
Mental mobile health (mHealth) applications surge as a topic in research and practice. Mobile Health provides low barrier access and services such as prevention, diagnoses, or treatments of mental illnesses for teenagers. Conversational agents (CAs) acting as conversational partners or social companions are expected to be effective with teenagers. This short paper provides a qualitative assessment of a mental mHealth application from the designers' perspective, which uses a CA as a social companion to engage teenagers. The preliminary results show the designed features (Dashboard, Institutions, Testimonials, and CA) and the targeted outcome (building user capacity to self-help) as a result of actualizing these features. This work contributes to the CA as a practice-oriented IT artefact, which can drive successful adoption through user engagement. Further, this work contributes a new theoretical perspective to overcome the existing IT adoption gap of mHealth services by using the affordance theory.
... Likewise, our research did not investigate how such mediators identify and actualize the action potentials (i.e., affordances) of EHR systems in secondary use of data and how IQ influences the actualization process. As a potential avenue for further research, we suggest studying this aspect using affordances theory (Thapa & Sein, 2018). Finally, to provide a holistic understanding of the phenomena, we suggest using critical realism in understanding how IQ, action potentials of the EHR system, and organizational actors are orchestrated as underlying generative mechanisms. ...
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The paper argues that existing research on information quality (IQ) mainly focuses on the primary use of electronic health record (EHR) data, whereas IQ in secondary use of EHR data needs further deliberation. The current view of IQ in a healthcare context is static. It assumes that once the EHR system generates the information product, individual users may act on the information based on their subjective perception of its quality. However, this view ignores the complexities of secondary use of EHR data, in which users are actively involved in (re)generating and communicating the information product. Thus, IQ does not remain static but keeps on transforming through active engagement and interpersonal communication. To contribute to this debate, we conducted a qualitative case study in a Norwegian healthcare context by employing an IQ life cycle model. In conclusion, we enhanced the existing IQ model by (1) adding interpersonal communication, (2) showing the interrelations of the IQ dimensions, and (3) integrating the mechanisms of the transformation process for IQ in secondary use of EHR data. In doing so, we unfold the dynamics of IQ in the secondary use of EHR data.
... This implies that the enforcement of hospital-wide policies on the use of EHRs are necessary to reap the potential bene ts of these systems. This study also supports the research of Thapa and Sein [41] who argue that contextual factors largely determine the extent to which collaborative affordances are actualized by groups of individuals. Our ndings show that EHR-enabled collaboration is dependent on contextual factors including role authorizations, system representations, organizational policies, and how medical professionals use the collaborative affordances. ...
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Background: One of the main objectives of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) is to enhance collaboration among healthcare professionals. However, our knowledge of how EHRs actually affect collaborative practices is limited. This study examines how an EHR facilitates and constrains collaboration in five outpatient clinics. Methods: We conducted an embedded case study at five multidisciplinary outpatient clinics of a Dutch hospital that had implemented an organization-wide EHR. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with representatives of medical specialties, administration, nursing, and management. Documents were then analyzed to contextualize these data. We examined the following six collaborative affordances of EHRs: (1) portability, (2) co-located access, (3) shared overviews, (4) mutual awareness, (5) messaging, and (6) orchestrating. Results: Our findings demonstrate how an EHR will simultaneously both facilitate and constrain collaboration among specialties and disciplines. Affordances that were inscribed in the system for collaboration purposes were not fully actualized in the focal hospital because: (a) The EHR helps health professionals coordinate patient care on an informed basis at any time and in any place but only allows asynchronous patient record use. (b) The comprehensive patient file affords joint clinical decision-making based on shared data, but specialty- and discipline-specific user-interfaces constrain mutual understanding of that data. Moreover, not all relevant information can be easily shared across specialties and outside the hospital. (c) The reduced necessity for face-to-face communication saves time but is experienced as hindering collective responsibility for a smooth workflow. (d) The EHR affords registration at the source and full registration of activities through orders, but the heightened administrative burden for physicians and the strict authorization rules on inputting data constrain the flexible, multidisciplinary collaboration. (e) While the EHR affords a complete overview, information overload occurs due to the parallel generation of individually owned notes and the high frequency of asynchronous communication through messages of varying clinical priority. Conclusions: For the optimal actualization of EHRs’ collaborative affordances in hospitals, coordinated use of these affordances by health professionals is a prerequisite. Such coordinated use requires organizational, technical, and behavioral adaptations. Suggestions for hospital-wide policies to enhance trust in both the EHR and in its coordinated use for effective collaboration are offered.
... A more fundamental issue is this: What mechanisms can explain the huge uptake of electronic communication? One good lens is "affordances" (Thapa & Sein, 2017). Affordances are the action possibilities of a technology for a user. ...
Article
In this opinion paper, I argue that the Covid-19 pandemic, as tragic and disastrous as it undoubtedly is, has also given us a rare opportunity to deeply examine the research and practice of information management in particular and information systems in general. To cope with the pandemic, we have retreated to the digital world and drastically changed the way we work. Yet these very practices can well shape the way we work in the post-pandemic world. Moreover, the pandemic is also a sharp lens through which we can study deep-rooted theoretical issues that otherwise would not have surfaced, or at least remained in the background. My call to the research community is to seize this rare opportunity.
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Despite significant business opportunities made possible through advancements in technology, readily available digital technologies are often overlooked and not used by new ventures. To address this knowledge gap, this paper looks at the relationships between readily available digital technologies and born-digital new venture capabilities. We use an affordance lens to explore conditions in which born-digital new ventures interact with digital technologies to actualize digital affordances that facilitate the development of important capabilities. First, using the existing literature, we present a research model and its key elements. Then, using data on new ventures in a Canadian university incubator, we conduct fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) and develop seven configurational research propositions as pathways to develop information technology-enabled organizational capabilities in new ventures. Using this retroductive approach, this research builds a context-specific middle-range theory that explains complex interactions between readily available digital technologies and new venture characteristics, where resources are provided by incubators in dynamic environments, to facilitate the development of ITOCs in the new ventures. We close by describing the study’s theoretical and practical implications.
Purpose Despite the significance of online communication and interactions, previous research has not systematically compared all features on a single platform from the users' perspective. This study aims to fill this gap by extensively reviewing the current literature on social media affordances and proposes and tests a feature-centric and affordance-based conceptualization of social media platforms (SMPs) between users, features, the audience and content. Design/methodology/approach This research surveys users on Facebook, one of the largest SMPs, and asks them to assess 20 features of Facebook on six relational affordances between users, features, audience and content. The data in this study were collected on Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) with participants from the US Correspondence analysis was employed to examine the relationship between affordances and the ties among affordances, features and outcomes. Findings Results of the study indicate that users perceive features differently, and employing features as the unit of analysis captures users' interactions effectively. The findings support the presence of user-oriented affordances, such as presentation flexibility, association and content association. These three affordances can be summarized in two higher-level ones: self-expression and connection (SEC) and persona-linked content (PLC). Our findings of the two dimensions, SEC and PLC, highlight the importance of targets and their connections in understanding social media interactions' dynamic nature. Practical implications By proposing to shift the focus from platforms to features, this study suggests that companies should focus on understanding the features they use for their users to interact with their brand, rather than merely ensuring that their company is omnipresent on all platforms. This study underlines the need to focus on features that will help managers influence interpersonal and user-brand communications and interactions on social media. Originality/value This research is the first to put features at the center of its investigation and quantitatively examine the relationship between social media features and affordances in a social media context. In all, this research provides a new unit of analysis that is more suitable for researchers to build a robust conceptual foundation for affordances. We believe that conceptualizing audience and content as outcomes, distinguishing it from features and creating connections between them as affordances is the unique aspect of our conceptualization.
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When analyzing empirical phenomena, the implicit or explicit assumptions we have of relationality guide what we take as the primary units of analysis and how we study them. This paper investigates and expands on the notion of relationality and relational explanations in the Critical Realist (CR) paradigm of Information Systems (IS) research. As digital technologies are becoming increasingly adaptive to the social and socio-technical structures they are embedded in, it is necessary to expand the field's conceptual tools in its study of digital phenomena. Therefore, to explain why the digital seems more tightly coupled to social phenomena than other types of technologies, the concept of transformational emergence is introduced. The key argument is that the malleability of digital entities entails that they are disposed to transform by emergence, which is key to understanding the constitutive relationality between the social and the technical in contemporary digital phenomena. This has fundamental implications for CR-based theories in the IS field, most notably Affordance theory and Representation theory.
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Mobile dating applications have changed how romantic relationships are pursued. However, despite the popularity of these applications, users have expressed numerous privacy and security concerns that warrant further investigation. This study explored how users’ locus of control influences the actualisation of affordances to mitigate privacy and security concerns. Through a qualitative study based on 12 semi-structured interviews, seven propositions are formulated. The study contributes to MDA literature and affordance theory. The propositions articulate that users can actualise affordances from a network of tools to mitigate privacy and security concerns given their locus of control.KeywordsMobile dating applicationsAffordancesPrivacy concernsSecurity concernsLocus of control
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What people perceive when they interact with technologies are not the features and functionalities of the technology but rather the behaviors it affords them. Affordance perception determines how organizational information technology (IT) is used by employees and the benefits they provide to organizations and their members. In this article, we explain how employees who pursue different personal goals and use various learning strategies come to perceive different IT affordances. We identify three distinct pathways: (1) performance-avoidance goals are positively associated with surface processing, which leads to perceptions of common in-role IT affordances; (2) performance-approach goals are positively associated with surface processing and effort regulation and these learning strategies lead to perceptions of common and specialized in-role IT affordances; and (3) mastery goals are associated with deep processing, effort regulation, and peer learning, which are positively associated with perceptions of specialized in-role and extra-role IT affordances. By identifying the different pathways to perceived affordances, the article identifies potential interventions that can help managers steer employees toward certain affordances and away from other, less desirable affordances.
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Communicators of charity organizations have begun to adopt virtual reality modality to draw in more donors in recent years. However, there is still a lack of comprehensive theoretical exploration and empirical verification on the avenues that may optimize the function of virtual reality modality for communication conducted by charity organizations. To fill this gap, the current study proposes and validates a framework based on integrative extension of theories pertaining to enactive cognition, media affordances, and personal norm. As the research result suggests, the five immersive affordance attributes of vividness, authenticity, coherence, interactivity, and controllability are primary facilitators of empathy and personal norm activation in the virtual reality context. The type of virtual reality modality, which provides immersive affordance attributes to exercise the transformative change effect, serves to elicit charitable donation intention through evocation of empathy and personal norm activation as the two key mediators. More noteworthy, the positive impact of empathy on charitable donation intention significantly increases due to the partial mediating effect of personal norm activation. Overall, the research result contributes to enhancing the effectiveness of communication conducted by charity organizations.
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In this chapter, I discuss the emerging concept of ‘circular economy’ within the wider debate on ‘re-thinking food systems’. With this purpose in mind, I have adopted a ‘food system design’ perspective, highlighting how this debate is becoming progressively more polarized and ambiguous, creating de facto two narratives, each leading to the identification of very different food futures. In order to introduce the two narratives and to disentangle their key elements, I will make use of few key (design) questions and namely: (i) What has circular economy to do with re-thinking food systems? (ii) For whom are we (re-)designing food systems? What are our design intentions? And finally (iii) at what scale will the ‘redesigned’ system operate?
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Background and Purpose: Inadequate uptake of testing for HIV remains a primary bottleneck towards universal access to treatment and care as well as an obstacle to realizing the potential of new interventions for preventing HIV infection, including treatment for prevention and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Kenya recently launched HIV Self testing (HIVST) approach as a strategy to increase the proportion of people living with HIV who know their HIV status. Living Goods Kenya, the implementer, in collaboration with Medic Mobile, the technology partner has conducted a HIV Self testing study to assess the effectiveness of Community health Volunteers (CHVs) in administering HIV Self Testing Kits in the communities that they serve. This approach is aimed at reaching and empowering the hard to reach populations such as partners of Antenatal Care (ANC) attending mothers, adolescents and key population groups. Methods: Quasi- Experimental design with a comparison between a treatment and control group intervention design with baseline surveys of households and CHVs was used. Results: An analysis carried out showed that 78% of community members prefer assisted testing compared to unassisted testing. Conclusions: Study results revealed that CHVs have been able to successfully carry out community distribution of HIV Self -Test kits, provide health education, counselling, testing, referral and followup of reactive clients.
Conference Paper
Inadequate uptake of testing for HIV remains a primary bottleneck towards universal access to treatment and care as well as an obstacle to realizing the potential of new interventions for preventing HIV infection, including treatment for prevention and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Kenya recently launched HIV Self testing (HIVST) approach as a strategy to increase the proportion of people living with HIV who know their HIV status. Living Goods Kenya, the implementer, in collaboration with Medic Mobile, the technology partner has conducted a HIV Self testing study to assess the effectiveness of Community health Volunteers (CHVs) in administering HIV Self Testing Kits in the communities that they serve. This approach is aimed at reaching and empowering the hard to reach populations such as partners of Antenatal Care (ANC) attending mothers, adolescents and key population groups.
Conference Paper
Access to primary healthcare in Kenya is still a challenge to many people, especially among resource-poor communities. This is mainly due to inadequate health coverage, limited health insurance, alongside constraining socio-cultural and institutional factors. Allocative inefficacies in health spending and poor uptake of health information systems has further aggravated the already dire healthcare situation. Leveraging on well supported Community Health Workers and focusing their efforts towards the most at need members of their communities, has proven to be an effective way of providing primary health care. The purpose of this study is to test a predictive algorithm embedded in a community health workflow application that runs on android based smartphones. The algorithm utilizes historic and routine data to identify individuals with elevated risk for future negative health outcomes. By creating data driven risk profiles, the intervention enables CHWs to optimize their time and effort towards serving the most at need members of their communities.
Conference Paper
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Affordance has emerged as a core concept in information systems (IS) research during the last decade. This relational concept is applied to understand and theorize the relationship between the social and the technical. In the works of the concept originator James Gibson, the relation was mainly portrayed as an ever-existing fact between the natural environment and an animal. In contrast, IS research focuses on relationships in-the-making between artificial things and human beings. In the IS context, we have identified vagueness in temporal and relational ontology: when do affordances exist and between whom or what? In this paper, we delve into the temporal and relational questions that have been omitted in much of the IS literature. What kind of a relationship is an affordance and when does it occur? Based on our hermeneutic understanding, we identify four stances from the existing literature. We classify those stances as canonical affordance, designed affordance, potential affordance, and affordance as completed action. We further argue that each stance has its own assumptions, consequences, and thus strengths and weaknesses.
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This paper studies the socialised affordances of social media in the processes of collective action, exploring the role of technology in the under-researched area of civil society. We examine the case of Free Lunch for Children (FL4C), a charitable programme in China based on the microblogging platform, Weibo. Adopting the perspective of affordances-for-practice, we draw upon the collective action model to better understand the sociomaterial practices and social processes involving social media, and seek to address the ‘when’ and ‘how’ questions of affordances. The study generates theoretical and practical implications for understanding the role of social media in social transformation.
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The affordance concept has penetrated the Information Systems (IS) scholarship as a lens for theorizing the relationship between technology and its users. However, what exactly is it that the researchers are trying to capture when they use this concept? For this essay, we carefully read IS literature to reveal underlying assumptions behind this lens and how it has been adopted. This article reveals three assumptions: 1) whether affordances are identified as intended prior use or emerging in action, 2) whether affordances are functional or non-functional, and 3) whether affordances are potential or actual. We dig into these assumptions and suggest alternatives for further enquiry.
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Interdependence is a central concept in systems and organizations, yet our methods for measuring it are not well developed. Here, we report on a novel method for transforming digital trace data into networks of events that can be used to visualize and measure interdependence. The edges in the network represent sequential flow and the vertices represent actors, actions and artifacts. We refer to this representation as an affordance network. As with conventional approaches such as process mining, our method uses input from a stream of time-stamped occurrences, but the representation is simpler and more appropriate for exploration and theory building. As digital trace data becomes more widely available, this method may become more useful in information systems research and practice. Like a thermometer, it helps us measure a basic property of a system that would otherwise be difficult to see.
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The concept 'affordance' has been adopted from ecological psychology into various fields of research. The wide adoption signals for the usefulness of the concept, but may also create confusion. We have become alert towards the ambiguous uses of the term – a feature that originates in J.J. Gibson's ambiguous texts. To contribute to this deliberation, we identified 'affordances of a chair' as the most popular 'affordance example' in research literature. We analyzed a set of examples through a Heideggerian lens to reveal variations in the operationalization of the concept. Our paper does not aim to provide any absolute answer for the right use of the affordance concept. We wish to contribute to the ongoing debate on affordances; particularly in our own IS community. As academic writers, we should be conscious of the exact meanings of the concepts we use. Thus, this essay questions the affordance concept as a one-size-fits-all solution to characterize the relation between artifacts and their users. We suggest future research to address the conceptual specificity dilemma: should we supplement affordance with new concepts, or should we replace affordance with something better?
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The affordances concept describes the possibilities for goal-oriented action that technical objects offer to specified users. This notion has received growing attention from IS researchers. However, few studies have gone beyond contextualizing parts of the concept to a specific setting – the tip of the iceberg. In this research-in-progress paper, we report on our efforts to further develop the IS discipline’s understanding of affordances from informational objects. Specifically, we seek to extend extant theory on the origin and actualization of affordances. We develop a model that describes the process by which affordances are perceived and actualized and their dependence on information and actualization effort. We illustrate our emergent theory in the context of conceptual process models used by analysts for purposes of information systems analysis and design. We offer suggestions for operationalizing and testing this model empirically, and provide details about our design of a mixed-methods study currently in progress.
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We examine how the textbooks have dealt with one of psychology's most eminent dissidents, James Gibson (1904-1979). Our review of more than a hundred textbooks, dating from the 1950s to the present, reveals fundamental and systematic misrepresentations of Gibson. Although Gibson continues to figure in most of the textbooks, his work is routinely assimilated to theoretical positions he emphatically rejected: cue theory, stimulus-response psychology, and nativism. As Gibson's one-time colleague, Ulric Neisser, pointed out, psychologists are especially prone to trying to understand new proposals "by mapping it on to some existing scheme," and warned that when "an idea is really new, that strategy fails" (Neisser, 1990, p. 749). The "Textbook Gibson" is an example of such a failure, and perhaps also of the more general importance of assimilation-"shadow history"-within the actual history of psychology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
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James Gibson's concept of affordances was an attempt to undermine the traditional dualism of the objective and subjective. Gibson himself insisted on the continuity of "affordances in general" and those attached to human artifacts. However, a crucial distinction needs to be drawn between "affordances in general" and the "canonical affordances" that are connected primarily to artifacts. Canonical affordances are conventional and normative. It is only in such cases that it makes sense to talk of the affordance of the object. Chairs, for example, are for sitting-on, even though we may also use them in many other ways. A good deal of confusion has arisen in the discussion of affordances from (1) the failure to recognize the normative status of canonical affordances and (2) then generalizing from this special case.
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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.
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The growing interest of IS researchers in using the theory of Affordances for studying the uses and consequences of the IT artefact calls for an integrative view on the subject. The originating literature is dispersed and the definition of the concept of affordance varies in these studies. With this paper we offer a framework for organizing the existing interdisciplinary literature modeling affordances' manifestation as effects of actions. Using a structured methodology, we reviewed the titles and abstracts of 126 articles from IS, Organization Studies, and Management literatures and examine a subset of 25 articles. Our work makes three main contributions. First it formalizes the concept of affordance as instanced in the IS domain. Second, it organizes IS affordance studies around four main areas: affordance existence, affordance perception, affordance actualization, and affordance effect. Finally, it discusses the current limitations of Affordance studies and offers the basis for future research.
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This paper explores how a world-wide operating software solutions provider implemented environmentally sustainable business practices in response to emerging environmental concerns. Through an interpretive case study, we develop a theoretical framework that identifies four important functional affordances originating in information systems, which are required in environmental sustainability transformations as they create an actionable context in which (1) organizations can engage in a sensemaking process related to understanding emerging environmental requirements, and (2) individuals can implement environmentally sustainable work practices. Through our work, we provide several contributions, including a better understanding of IS-enabled organizational change and the types of functional affordances of information systems that are required in sustainability transformations. We describe implications relating to (1) how information systems can contribute to the creation of environmentally sustainable organizations, (2) the design of information systems to create required functional affordances, (3) the management of sustainability transformations, and (4) he further development of the concept of functional affordances in IS research.
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The concept of affordances was introduced by J. J. Gibson to eXplain how inherent “values” and “meanings” of things in the environment can be directly perceived and how this information can be linked to the action possibilities offered to the organism by the environment. Although introduced in psychology, the concept influenced studies in other fields ranging from human—computer interaction to autonomous robotics. In this article, we first introduce the concept of affordances as conceived by J. J. Gibson and review the use of the term in different fields, with particular emphasis on its use in autonomous robotics. Then, we summarize four of the major formalization proposals for the affordance term. We point out that there are three, not one, perspectives from which to view affordances and that much of the confusion regarding discussions on the concept has arisen from this. We propose a new formalism for affordances and discuss its implications for autonomous robot control. We report preliminary results obtained with robots and link them with these implications.
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