This book provides one of the first clear-headed assessments of information technology and organizational transformation. Its virtue is not so much in its recognition of the importance of the subject; speculations on this topic have been rampant for more than a decade. Rather, it is unusual and unusually useful, because it avoids speculation in favor of conceptually coherent accounts grounded in empirical study of actual organizations. The chapters contained in this volume move beyond the superficial glorification of information technology as an extraordinary instrument of social change, and straight to the heart of the mechanisms of change as they play out in everyday organizational life. In the process, they reaffirm that the real story of information technology in organizations is more about people than about technology. Taken together, they provide an important contribution to the intellectual foundations of one of the most interesting developments in decades.
Part II: The Rhetoric of Information Technology and Organizational Transformation
Part II looks at information technology (IT) and organizational transformation from the rhetorical perspective Rhetorical tools and perspectives have become increasingly popular in organizational analysis. They are suitable for examining both the societal rhetoric around IT-based transformation and individual cases of IT adoption. Because the data used by many IT researchers consist of interview transcripts and ethnographical notes, examining these data through rhetorical lenses is particularly appropriate. Too often, researchers take literally statements and terminology that need to be examined more closely. Moreover, the rhetorical lens highlights the interpretive role of the researcher too often suppressed in the search for “objectivity,” encouraging the embrace rather than the denial of this ...