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Book part
Publication date: 1 May 2019

Henrik Buhl, Michael Andersen and Hannele Kerosuo

The construction industry is one of the least automated industries. In the aspect of automation, the technical understanding is very dominant. Focus has mostly been on…

Abstract

Purpose

The construction industry is one of the least automated industries. In the aspect of automation, the technical understanding is very dominant. Focus has mostly been on tools, robots and industrialisation. sociomaterial design shows us that what may first appear technologically deterministic can be replaced and actually call for reinvisioning the traditional focus. The purpose of this study is to introduce the agency of a sociomaterial designer in construction.

Design/Methodology/Approach

This is a conceptual paper with an empirical example. To understand the sociomaterial complexity and dynamics of automation, practice theories are applied. To test this approach, the authors give an example from a Danish (global) supplier engaged in a development project about technical aid (tools) in mounting and assembling gypsum walls.

Findings

The sociomaterial-designer can help to understand and make innovation happen when doing automation in construction; as the centre of innovation in construction processes, she works all day with practice, together with practitioners, focusing on material arrangements as located not only in practice, but also in the artefacts. She can help the supplier of construction materials in understanding different professional practices and the transformation to use smarter tools.

Research Limitations/Implications

This research is within a new practice domain “sociomaterial-design” and it has to follow up with an empirical study that covers a development project with a sociomaterial-design approach.

Practical Implications

Developing competences (agency) as a sociomaterial-designer when linking the sociotechnical understanding of Automation with practice.

Originality/Value

This research showcases how sociomaterial perspectives can inform automation in construction.

Details

10th Nordic Conference on Construction Economics and Organization
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-051-1

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Article
Publication date: 21 February 2020

Peng Du and Hsin-Hui Chou

The purpose of this paper is to address the research question of how human actors and technology interact together in practices in the context of a sharing economy. The…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to address the research question of how human actors and technology interact together in practices in the context of a sharing economy. The theoretical foundation of this paper is based on the existing literature about the sharing economy and studies that have been carried out examining value co-creation and sociomateriality.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper adopts a qualitative case study method for the empirical investigation. Using theoretical sampling, Xbed, an internet, unmanned and self-service hotel platform based in Guangzhou, China, was chosen for the empirical investigation. The case was built on multiple sources of data, including archival materials, on-site fieldwork and in-depth interviews. Then, the case was interpreted based on a number of theoretical concepts, with a particular emphasis on the sociomaterial perspective.

Findings

This paper shows how human actors and technology interact with one another in a number of interrelated ways, which collectively result in the value co-creation necessary for creating a sharing economy. The authors have found that various forms of sociomateriality (the intersection between technology, work and organization) play a key role in co-creation and that interactions between these sociomaterial assemblages (assemblage-to-assemblage (A2A)) drive the development of a sharing economy. These sociomaterial assemblages have dynamic and evolving characteristics.

Practical implications

The authors argue that the key to the success of a sharing economy lies in how to engage participating actors with material entities (e.g. technology applications) to form action-enabling sociomaterial assemblages, as well as in determining how these assemblages can be systematically arranged to collectively form a larger assemblage. We suggest that managers need to conceive how relations between the social and the material realms can be structured by adopting a service logic that aims to help the beneficiary function better. The authors also suggest that managers have to consider what assemblages are necessary and how they are connected, to construct a full access-based service.

Originality/value

This paper conceptualizes the sharing economy as a system of value co-creation practices and empirically examines such practices from a sociomaterial perspective. This paper adopts the concept of sociomaterial assemblages to investigate sharing practices, through which the knowledge of the role of technology in the development of a sharing economy is enhanced. This paper also expands the knowledge of service-dominant logic by using a microfoundation perspective to look at the value co-creation that emerges as a result of the interaction between sociomaterial assemblages. These assemblages also act as constitutive elements of a service ecosystem.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 33 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

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Article
Publication date: 20 June 2016

Deniz Tunçalp

The author join Orlikowski (2007) in seeking the “reconfiguration of our conventional assumptions and considerations of materiality.” In her sociomaterial approach…

Abstract

Purpose

The author join Orlikowski (2007) in seeking the “reconfiguration of our conventional assumptions and considerations of materiality.” In her sociomaterial approach, Orlikowski combines what is social and what is material into a “sociomaterial assemblage” in considering material and social aspects of technology. However, the author thinks this conflation creates a number of analytical and phenomenological problems for the understanding of technology in organizing. Rather than considering materiality with a primacy, the author argue that the proposed approach may reduce what is material into a social essence and makes materiality of a technology impossible to perceive separate from the social aspects. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Empirical examples of “Information Search” and “Mobile Communication” in Orlikowski (2007) are further employed to discuss the grounds of the criticism.

Findings

The author propose a critical realist perspective to technology both as social and material recursively.

Research limitations/implications

The analysis is primarily ontological and meta-theoretical. In future, extensive reviews can be performed on what questions have been asked and what questions have been omitted by researchers employing different versions of sociomaterial perspective.

Practical implications

The perspective offered by this paper enables asking new questions and necessary empirical leverage to analyze how one technology becomes materialized and successful in the social realm and not the other. The author also discusses strategic conditions of how one successful technology can be replaced by another.

Social implications

Understanding the state of the art in theory in understanding material and social aspects of technology would help us develop novel strategies to contest, complement and adapt to material and social issues of technologies.

Originality/value

This paper is among the few critical papers that meta-theoretically question the relatively recent sociomaterial turn in organization studies and information systems fields.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 54 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 15 November 2011

Alexander Styhre

The concept of sociomaterial practice has been proposed as a term including materiality as constitutive elements in any social practice. The concept also suggests that

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1428

Abstract

Purpose

The concept of sociomaterial practice has been proposed as a term including materiality as constitutive elements in any social practice. The concept also suggests that while social relations are constituted by and mediated by materiality, materiality per se is enacted in a social context. Practice is thus unfolding as a form of constitutive entanglement of social and material resources at hand. The paper aims at discussing the concept of practice as what is mobilizing both material and intangible resources.

Design/methodology/approach

The study draws on interviews with construction workers, foremen, and site managers in three projects in a medium sized construction company.

Findings

The study suggests that while construction work is both regulated by piece‐rate wage systems and being largely composed of standard operation procedures, there is still a strong reliance on collectively accomplished routines for communicating and interacting in the workplace. Rather than being determined by and reducible to material conditions, social relations and mutual trust play a key role in construction projects.

Originality/value

The concept of sociomaterial practice is opening up for a more articulated recognition of the entanglement of social and material resources in organizing work. The study presents first‐hand data on how construction work rests on the collective capacity to combine both material and social elements.

Details

VINE, vol. 41 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0305-5728

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Article
Publication date: 8 July 2014

Nick Hopwood

To explore the methodological implications of sociomaterial theory for qualitative research about practice. The purpose of this paper is to assess the potential and…

Abstract

Purpose

To explore the methodological implications of sociomaterial theory for qualitative research about practice. The purpose of this paper is to assess the potential and limitations of video stimulus to discussion about practice as embodied and material, and to theorise this in terms of epistemic objects.

Design/methodology/approach

A video based on a residential child and family service in Sydney was used as a stimulus in six focus group discussions with researchers and professionals in child and family health. Three focus groups were held in Sweden, and three in the British Isles, settings where a similar approach to supporting families with young children is established. A sociomaterial perspective, drawing on Schatzki's practice theory and Knorr Cetina's notion of epistemic objects informed the design and methodologically focused analysis.

Findings

The use of video is shown to be successful in facilitating and prompting participants to reflect and comment on practice as embodied and material. However, the analysis also accounts for more problematic nature of this approach, exploring the affective connections and illusion of totality that can be associated with video screenings. An alternative, based on line drawings, is suggested, and the paper concludes by raising further questions about data reduction and stimulus artefacts.

Originality/value

The turn to sociomaterial theory has huge potential, but its methodological implications remain unexplored. This paper contributes original perspectives relating to the use of video in a qualitative study, offering innovative theorisation and discussion of stimulus material as epistemic objects, which offers fresh insights into significant methodological prospects and problems.

Details

Qualitative Research Journal, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1443-9883

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Article
Publication date: 3 December 2021

Tiina Kemppainen and Outi Uusitalo

Most recent service experience research considers customers as sensemakers and sensemaking as a focal process in experience construction. Despite this, the sensemaking…

Abstract

Purpose

Most recent service experience research considers customers as sensemakers and sensemaking as a focal process in experience construction. Despite this, the sensemaking theory engendered in organization studies has not been applied in the quest for an in-depth understanding of the service experience. This study introduces a sensemaking perspective to the service experience and develops a conceptualization of how customers construct their experiences cognitively through sensemaking.

Design/methodology/approach

The service experience literature is dominated by a focus on firms implementing service experiences for customers. This study, in contrast, investigates service experience and its formation from the customers' viewpoint: how service experiences are formed as a part of customers' everyday life and sensemaking processes instead of under service providers' control.

Findings

Service experience is characterized as a mental picture – a collage of meanings created by a customer through the sensemaking processes. A sensemaking framework that characterizes service experience formation and its four seminal dimensions, including the self-related, sociomaterial, retrospective and prospective sensemaking, is introduced.

Originality/value

This article contributes to the service literature by introducing a new theoretical lens through which the service experience concept can be investigated and reframed.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

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Article
Publication date: 24 September 2021

Muhammad Mahmood Aslam, Ricarda Bouncken and Lars Görmar

Coworking-spaces are considered as a new formula to facilitate autonomy, creativity, self-efficacy, work satisfaction and innovation, yet they also might overburden their…

Abstract

Purpose

Coworking-spaces are considered as a new formula to facilitate autonomy, creativity, self-efficacy, work satisfaction and innovation, yet they also might overburden their users who in that course intend to limit social interaction and collaboration in the workspace. Thus, the question is how coworking-spaces shape entrepreneurial ventures.

Design/methodology/approach

This study used an inductive research methodology based on data from three different data sources, including observations, archives and interviews from managers and entrepreneurs.

Findings

The findings suggest that the materiality in the form of spatial architectures (working, socialization and support structures) shared facilities and infrastructures (utilities, luxuries and specialties), and integrated digital technologies (applications and platforms) influence the flow of communication, internal and external linkages, as well as functional uniformity and distinctiveness. However, there exists an inherent dualism in sociomaterial assemblage in coworking-spaces, which can lead to instrumental and detrimental outcomes for entrepreneurs.

Originality/value

This study explains the role of sociomaterial assemblage on the working of entrepreneurs in shared workspaces.

Details

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, vol. 27 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2554

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Article
Publication date: 12 October 2015

Leonore van den Ende, Alfons van Marrewijk and Kees Boersma

The purpose of this paper is to apply the theory of sociomateriality to exhibit how the social and material are entangled and (re)configured over time and in practice in a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to apply the theory of sociomateriality to exhibit how the social and material are entangled and (re)configured over time and in practice in a particular organization of study.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conduct an ethnographic case study of the North-South metro line project in Amsterdam and use the methods of participant-observation, in-depth interviewing and a desk study.

Findings

The authors showcase the process of sociomaterial entanglement by focussing on the history and context of the project, the agency and performativity of the material and sociomaterial (re)configuration via ritual performance. The authors found the notion of performativity not only concern the enactment of boundaries between the social and material, but also the blurring of such boundaries.

Research limitations/implications

Sociomateriality theory remains difficult to grasp. The implication is the need to provide new lenses to engage this theory empirically.

Practical implications

The authors provide a multi-layered lens for organization researchers to engage sociomateriality theory at a contextual, organizational and practice level.

Social implications

Insights from a historical and contextual perspective can help practitioners to become aware of the diverse and dynamic ways in which social and material entities are entangled and (re)configured over time and in practice.

Originality/value

The authors provide a unique empirical account to exhibit the entanglement and (re)configuration between the social and material in a particular organization of study. This paper studies a tangible organizational setting whereas prior research in sociomateriality mainly focussed on routines in IT and IS. Finally, the authors suggest the ethnographic method to study sociomaterial entanglement from a historical and contextual perspective.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 4 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

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Article
Publication date: 17 October 2018

Silvia Gherardi, Annalisa Murgia, Elisa Bellè, Francesco Miele and Anna Carreri

Affect is relevant for organization studies mainly for its potential to reveal the intensities and forces of everyday organizational experiences that may pass unnoticed or…

Abstract

Purpose

Affect is relevant for organization studies mainly for its potential to reveal the intensities and forces of everyday organizational experiences that may pass unnoticed or pass in silence because they have been discarded from the orthodoxy of doing research “as usual.” The paper is constructed around two questions: what does affect “do” in a situated practice, and what does the study of affect contribute to practice-based studies. This paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors chose a situated practice – interviewing – focusing on the dynamic character of the intra-actions among its heterogeneous elements. What happens to us, as persons and researchers, when we put ourselves inside the practices we study? The authors tracked the sociomaterial traces left by affect in the transcript of the interviews, in the sounds of the voices, in the body of the interviewers, and in the collective memories, separating and mixing them like in a mixing console.

Findings

The reconstruction, in a non-representational text, of two episodes related to a work accident makes visible and communicable how affect circulates within a situated practice, and how it stiches all the practice elements together. The two episodes point to different aspects of the agency of affect: the first performs the resonance of boundaryless bodies, and the second performs the transformative power of affect in changing a situation.

Originality/value

The turn to affect and the turn to practice have in a common interest in the body, and together they contribute to re-opening the discussion on embodiment, embodied knowledge, and epistemic practices. Moreover, we suggest an inventive methodology for studying and writing affect in organization studies.

Details

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5648

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Article
Publication date: 13 July 2015

Alina Dulipovici and Dragos Vieru

This study aims to examine how a collaboration technology is used by three organizational groups. The main focus is on the interplay between the users’ perceptions (of the…

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1191

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine how a collaboration technology is used by three organizational groups. The main focus is on the interplay between the users’ perceptions (of the technology and of the knowledge shared) and the material properties of the collaboration technology.

Design/methodology/approach

Two theoretical frameworks (social representations and sociomaterial practice perspective) examine collaboration technology use to better understand the underlying dynamics. The research is conducted as a case study in a US company where a collaboration technology was being implemented.

Findings

The findings reveal a process model showing how social dynamics and users’ perceptions of what the collaboration technology can do and cannot do to share the users’ knowledge influence the users’ behaviour. Based on these perceptions, users will twist or amend their interpretation of the reality (the material properties of the technology) to justify their use of the collaboration technology.

Research limitations/implications

This research is conducted as a single case study. However, the significant amount of time spent at the research site allowed for a very rich description of the events and processes involved.

Practical implications

This study offers guidelines on what influences use and adoption of collaboration technologies. It highlights the importance of providing more than just training, as social dynamics and users’ perceptions continuously influence users’ behaviour.

Originality/value

By combining two complementary theoretical frameworks, this study provides a novel and more in-depth explanation of collaboration technology use (or lack thereof).

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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