Exploring sociotechnical interaction with Rob Kling: five big ideas.

Horton, Keith, Davenport, Elisabeth and Wood-Harper, Trevor (2005) Exploring sociotechnical interaction with Rob Kling: five big ideas. Information Technology & People, 18 (1). pp. 50-67. ISSN 0959 3845

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Purpose – To provide a view of Rob Kling’s contribution to socio-technical studies of work.
Design/methodology/approach – The five “big ideas” discussed are signature themes in Kling’s
own work in the informatics domain, and of his intellectual legacy.
Findings – This paper conveys something of Kling’s presence in social informatics (SI) thinking by
focusing on a number of “big” ideas – “multiple points of view”, “social choices”, “the production
lattice” (and its corollary, the problematization of the user), “socio-technical interaction networks”, and
“institutional truth regimes”.
Research limitations/implications – A growing research community has demonstrated the
power of SI techniques. It is essential that this body of work is sustained and developed,
demonstrating how to undertake investigation and observation, that is not driven by instrumentalism
but is informed by and leads to “technological realism”.
Practical implications – The SI corpus, exposing the dangers of naı¨ve instrumentalism as an
approach to information systems design and management, can guide practitioners on how to unpack
the history of what is in view. This may be a specific technology, a social formation, or a sociotechnical
circumstance. Practitioners may draw on the concepts presented, not as a prescriptive toolkit, but
rather as a sensitizing frame to assist those who wish to re-vision the workplace.
Originality/value – Central to the successful utilisation of computers in work, we argue, is the
continuing development of a portfolio of interpretive concepts (such as STINs, regimes of truth,
production lattices) that can consolidate Rob Kling’s “big” ideas that are the core of this paper.
Keywords Social behaviour, Communication technologies, Sociotechnical change
Paper type Conceptual paper

Item Type: Article
Print ISSN: 0959 3845
Electronic ISSN: 1758-5813
Uncontrolled Keywords: Rob Kling; sociotechnology; multiple points of view; social choices; production lattice; interaction networks; institutional truth regimes;
University Divisions/Research Centres: Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Creative Industries > School of Computing
Dewey Decimal Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 380 Commerce, communications & transportation > 384 Communications; telecommunication
000 Computer science, information & general works > 000 Computer science, knowledge & systems > 005 Computer programming, programs & data > 005.4 Systems programming and programs > 005.43 Systems programs & operating systems
Library of Congress Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Item ID: 3370
Depositing User: Computing Research
Date Deposited: 06 May 2010 16:18
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2013 15:56

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