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Organizational Knowledge and Technology

An Action-Oriented Perspective on Organization and Information Systems

Rodrigo Magalhães

This book attempts to make sense of a new area of integrated study, namely information systems and information technology (IS/IT) and the organization. It also aims to bring this mix into the broader theme of complexity as applied to organization and management and to draw useful conclusions about how to organize and how to manage IS/IT in the knowledge era. The author argues in favour of a more action-oriented – as opposed to planning dominated – approach to information systems management.
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Chapter 2: Causes and Consequences of Information Technology

Rodrigo Magalhães


Information technology is no infrastructure issue to decide upon and then lay aside in order to attend to business. Information technology is what we make business with (…) and it is on this [electronic] market that we must compete, by experimenting with new technology, new ways of organizing, moving quickly, like nomads. (Dahlbom, 2000:226) INTRODUCTION In this chapter we start the discussion about the process of integration (i.e. embedding) of technological artefacts into the social structures and processes of the organization. As the discussion will show, the mutual impacts and the level of amalgamation is such that the bundle known as information systems and technologies (IS/IT) can quite adequately be labelled as organizational technologies. Such a label (used interchangeably in the plural or in the singular) is intended not only as a means of demonstrating the merger which has already been reached between the technological artefacts and the social fabric of the organization but also as a way of marking the difference between these technologies and the production technologies of a different era. The history of the Industrial Revolution is founded upon the replacement of human labour by the steam engine first and by other types of engines and machines later. The history of the Information Revolution, which is in the process of being written, is also about major changes in the way people work and do business but such changes are of a very different nature. Industrial technologies changed factories, industrial plants and the means of production in general....

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