Problems and Methods
Chapter 8: Ethnography for the practice-based design of information systems
It is undeniable that applicative interest is one of the main reasons for studying work as a situated set of practices. The development of new technologies (especially ICT), the increasing complexity of work environments and the dematerialization of work, have focused attention on the question of how to technologically and socially support cooperation in knowledgeintensive jobs. This question also concerns how an accurate description of work-in-situation and in natural settings can contribute to developing competence in collective work and to changing work practices in the spirit of action research. Finally, given that society does not consist of sealed compartments, working practices and social practices are closely bound up with each other. The effects of society on working practices, and of working practices on society, constitute a challenge and an opportunity to explore the continuity of the interweaving between the micro-level and the macrolevel of analysis of practices. There is a particular community of researchers, around information systems, which is interested in practices to develop and support technologies, since the developers of technologies to support practices need to understand the knowledge embedded and embodied in the practices. This is not the only applicative context for the description of working practices, but I want to refer to this body of studies because of their extended use of ethnography at the service of interventions in organizations (Anderson, 1997; Østerlund, 2003; 2004; Schultze, 2000; Schultze and Boland, 2000; Schultze and Orlikowski, 2004).
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.