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 III: The Practice of Information Technology and Organizational Transformation
Part III is the concluding portion of this volume, and the authors of the chapters that follow look at the uses that a particular information technology (IT) is put to as it becomes a part of the day-to-day work context of organizational members. The writings concentrate on what might be called “cultures of reception”—the collective patterns of thought and action that form wherever and whenever new ITs are introduced to the workplace. The perspective represented is primarily that of IT users. This perspective inevitably differs, often quite substantially, from that of designers as well as managers charged with implementing new technologies. As sociologists and anthropologists have argued for years, the ...