Materiality and Change: Challenges to Building Better Theory about Technology and Organizing
Information and Organization, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 159-176, 2008
33 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2009
Date Written: January 1, 2008
Researchers have had difficulty accommodating materiality in voluntaristic theories of organizing. Although materiality surely shapes how people use technologies, materiality's role in organizational change remains under-theorized. We suggest that scholars have had difficulty grappling with materiality because they often conflate the distinction between the material and social with the distinction between determinism and voluntarism. We explain why such conflation is unnecessary and outline four challenges that researchers must address before they can reconcile the reality of materiality with the notion that outcomes of technological change are socially constructed.
Keywords: materiality, implementation, organizational change, social construction, theory, technology change
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