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From tool to Gestell: Agendas for managing the information infrastructure

Claudio U. Ciborra (Universities of Bologna, Gøteborg and Oslo)
Ole Hanseth (Universities of Gøteborg and Oslo)

Information Technology & People

ISSN: 0959-3845

Article publication date: 1 December 1998



The recent managerial literature on the development of corporate infrastructures to deliver sophisticated and flexible IT capabilities is based on a set of assumptions concerning the role of management in strategy formulation, planning and control; the role of IT as a tool; the linkages between infrastructure and business processes; the implementation process. This paper deconstructs such assumptions by gradually enriching the conventional management agenda with new priorities stemming from other styles of taking care of infrastructures. The original, straightforward management agenda appears to be lacking: its foundations are irremediably shaken. The paper finally evokes a philosophy‐based agenda, the only one valuable in the uncharted territory where the usual foundations do not deliver any longer. Such an agenda speaks a language of weak agency: releasement; dwelling with mystery; capacity to drop the tools; valuing marginal practices. Will the last agenda play a key role in coping with the information infrastructures of the next millennium?



Ciborra, C.U. and Hanseth, O. (1998), "From tool to Gestell: Agendas for managing the information infrastructure", Information Technology & People, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 305-327.




Copyright © 1998, MCB UP Limited

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