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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited
Introduction to the special book review section
Welcome to a special book review section that presents two reviews of Avgerou’s recently published and already acclaimed book Information Systems and Global Diversity, prepared by Neil Ramiller and Sundeep Sahay. Avgerou’s book deserves special attention as it can be regarded as a refreshing challenge to the wider information technology and systems literature, which, perhaps, has been too narrowly preoccupied with researching Western (dare I say white?) organizations and institutions without seriously considering broader issues of diversity in contemporary global society. The book can certainly be regarded as timely as it seems to become harder to limit the analysis of socio-technical processes to the “goings-on” in IT departments or even institutions per se. Avgerou attempts to broaden our view of the relationship between technology and the social by exploring important questions concerning the multi-layered economic, political and cultural context of technology in diverse organizational settings. The two reviews of Avgerou’s book are accompanied by Attila Bruni’s review of the 2nd edition of MacKenzie and Wajcman’s classic The Social Shaping of Technology, which also points to a critical analysis of the relationship between technology and the social. One might suggest that both books, in their own ways, take us beyond the view that technology is rationally organized (developed, implemented, adopted) by individuals. Instead what becomes important to recognize is that socio-technical processes of organization are characterized by diverse rationalities that are shaped by social struggles, conflicts and instabilities.
Steffen BöhmUniversity of Warwick, Book reviews editor