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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1999

Ian Somerville

This article offers an introduction to a theoretical approach which has recently begun to be used by organisational theorists to explain the distribution and exercise of…

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2371

Abstract

This article offers an introduction to a theoretical approach which has recently begun to be used by organisational theorists to explain the distribution and exercise of power between organisations and entities within particular spheres, or “networks”. This approach, which has been labelled “actor‐networktheory, argues that focusing on questions of “identity”, particularly questions of self‐identity, depends upon accepting and reproducing a “modern” set of presuppositions. These modern presuppositions are concerned primarily with the creation of stable boundaries and hierarchies, between subject and object, and between self and other. Actor‐network theory proposes that the notion of “agency” offers an alternative “amodern” perspective from which to explore how entities, or actors, influence other actors through the process of translation. Concludes that actor‐network theory, as a meta‐theoretical position and as a methodological approach offers an alternative to existing public relations theory which cannot easily be ignored.

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Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

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Article
Publication date: 28 September 2010

Sue Smith, Mary Rose and Ellie Hamilton

The purpose of this paper is to tell the story of the evolution of knowledge exchange (KE) activity within a department in a university in the north west of England and to…

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1012

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to tell the story of the evolution of knowledge exchange (KE) activity within a department in a university in the north west of England and to understand this activity through the lens of actor‐network theory.

Design/methodology/approach

Applying the sociology of translation to one qualitative interview shows how different actors were enrolled and mobilized into a KE actor‐network. The process of translation consists of four stages, problematisation, enrolment, interessement and mobilisation of allies which have been applied to the data to tell the story of the KE actor‐network. This is a cross‐disciplinary approach using a theoretical framework from sociology and applying it to a management/organizational context.

Findings

This framework brings fresh ways of looking at the importance of KE networks within universities. Although limited to one interview, the methodology allows for an in‐depth reading of the data and shows how resilient and flexible this actor‐network is to withstand and respond appropriately to shifts in policy and subsequent provisions for small‐ and medium‐sized enterprise business support.

Originality/value

Building from one case, the paper concludes that this account adds to an historical understanding of how universities become involved with KE activities. The inclusion of non‐human actors allows for a deeper understanding of the actor‐network and shows the importance of actors such as White Papers, pots of funding and physical buildings to the role of KE within higher education.

Details

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, vol. 16 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2554

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Article
Publication date: 21 August 2017

Grietjie Verhoef and Grant Samkin

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the actions of the accounting profession, the state, universities, and academics have inhibited the development of South…

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1382

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the actions of the accounting profession, the state, universities, and academics have inhibited the development of South African accounting research.

Design/methodology/approach

A multiple history approach using traditional archival material and oral history is used.

Findings

Since the late nineteenth-century, a network of human and non-human actors has ensured that accounting education in South Africa retained a technical focus. By prescribing and detailing the accounting syllabuses required for university accreditation, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and its predecessors exercise direct control over accounting education. As a result, little appetite exists for a discipline based on academic enquiry or engagement with international scholars. While the SAICA claims to support accounting research, this support is conditional on its meeting the professional body’s particular view of scholarship.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations associated with this research are that it focusses on one particular professional body in one jurisdiction. The South African situation provides a cautionary tale of how universities, particularly those in developing countries, should take care not to abdicate their responsibilities for the setting of syllabi or course content to professional bodies. Accounting academics, particularly those in a developing country currently experiencing major social, political, and economic problems, are in a prime position to engage in research that will benefit society as a whole.

Originality/value

Although actor network theory has been used in accounting research and in particular to explain accounting knowledge creation, the use of this particular theoretical lens to examine the construction of professional knowledge is limited. This study draws on Callon’s (1986) four moments to explain how various human actors including the accounting profession, the state, universities, and accounting academics, along with non-human actors such as accreditation, regulation, and transformation, have brought about South African academic disengagement with the discipline.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 30 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 25 July 2019

Sven Modell

The purpose of this paper is to contrast actor-network theory (ANT) and critical realism (CR) as two contemporary approaches to critical accounting research and advance a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contrast actor-network theory (ANT) and critical realism (CR) as two contemporary approaches to critical accounting research and advance a critique centred on the neglect of social structures in the former perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper based on a critical reading of ANT inspired by CR.

Findings

Although the author does not question the ability of ANT to be imbued with critical intent per se, the author is critical of its tendency to downplay the significance of pre-existing, social structures and the concomitant neglect of enduring and ubiquitous states of structural stability as an ontological possibility. This may lead to an overly optimistic view that naively valorises agency as a largely unfettered engine of emancipation. By contrast, CR offers a deeper and more nuanced ontological conception of how social structures constrain as well as enable emancipation. In contrast to the highly empiricist epistemology of ANT, it also provides an epistemological rationale for going beyond empirical descriptions of how social structures work to advance theoretically informed, explanatory critiques that are better suited for realising less easily observable opportunities for emancipation.

Research limitations/implications

The paper advances the debate about how social structures should be examined in critical accounting research and the relative merits of doing so in advancing emancipatory projects.

Originality/value

The paper is an attempt to contrast ANT and CR as two distinct approaches to critical accounting research and thus extends the debate about what such research is and could be.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 33 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2012

Aggeliki Tsohou, Maria Karyda, Spyros Kokolakis and Evangelos Kiountouzis

Recent global security surveys indicate that security training and awareness programs are not working as well as they could be and that investments made by organizations…

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2430

Abstract

Purpose

Recent global security surveys indicate that security training and awareness programs are not working as well as they could be and that investments made by organizations are inadequate. The purpose of the paper is to increase understanding of this phenomenon and illuminate the problems that organizations face when trying to establish an information security awareness program.

Design/methodology/approach

Following an interpretive approach the authors apply a case study method and employ actor network theory (ANT) and the due process for analyzing findings.

Findings

The paper contributes to both understanding and managing security awareness programs in organizations, by providing a framework that enables the analysis of awareness activities and interactions with the various organizational processes and events.

Practical implications

The application of ANT still remains a challenge for researchers since no practical method or guide exists. In this paper the application of ANT through the due process model extension is enhanced and practically presented. This exploration highlights the fact that information security awareness initiatives involve different stakeholders, with often conflicting interests. Practitioners must acquire, additionally to technical skills, communication, negotiation and management skills in order to address the related organizational and managerial issues. Moreover, the results of this inquiry reveal that the role of artifacts used within the awareness process is not neutral but can actively affect it.

Originality/value

This study is one of the first to examine information security awareness as a managerial and socio‐technical process within an organizational context.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

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Book part
Publication date: 26 August 2019

Christopher M. Hartt

Abstract

Details

Connecting Values to Action: Non-Corporeal Actants and Choice
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-308-2

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Article
Publication date: 11 July 2016

Herbert Schubert

The contribution is focussed on the question of which logic and which distinctive lines of development have shaped the discourse on urban crime prevention and will…

Abstract

Purpose

The contribution is focussed on the question of which logic and which distinctive lines of development have shaped the discourse on urban crime prevention and will probably shape it in the future.

Design/methodology/approach

Comparing the line of development in thinking about urban crime prevention: starting with the approaches of the rational choice theory and of architectural determinism that were integrated in the practical approach of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED). Looking on the continuation in the recent past: aspects of social cohesion and disorganization in the neighbourhood – represented by the collective efficacy – were integrated with the traditional lines of argumentation. Continuing to the present, the actor network theory opens up advanced perspectives of the integration and development of urban crime prevention.

Findings

Comparison of the approaches of the rational choice theory and of architectural determinism. Their combination in the practical approach of CPTED. Integration of these lines of argumentation with aspects of social cohesion and disorganization in the neighbourhood represented by the collective efficacy and the absorption in the concept of second-generation CPTED in the recent past. Opening up for advanced perspectives of the integration and development of urban crime prevention by the actor network theory.

Originality/value

The process analysis by linking the rational choice theory, the architectural determinism, the collective efficacy theory and the actor network theory to a continuous development represents an innovative perspective on the discourse on urban crime prevention.

Details

Journal of Place Management and Development, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8335

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Article
Publication date: 5 April 2011

Daniel Sage, Andrew Dainty and Naomi Brookes

The purpose of this paper is to question why current thinking towards project complexity ignores the role of objects in achieving social order and transformation. An…

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2173

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to question why current thinking towards project complexity ignores the role of objects in achieving social order and transformation. An alternative, but complementary, approach to address project complexities, drawing upon actor‐network theory (ANT), is offered to redress this concern.

Design/methodology/approach

Current thinking towards project complexity is briefly reviewed in the first section to illustrate the reasons why nonhumans are downplayed. An historical case study, the Skye road bridge project, is mobilized to explain, and develop, an ANT perspective on project complexities, and responses to such complexities.

Findings

ANT develops accounts of project complexity by highlighting the role of nonhumans in influencing how practitioners register, respond and stabilize project complexities. Front‐end planning and stakeholder analysis is shown to be only one narrow element of four moments through which actors apprehend and stabilize project complexities.

Research limitations/implications

The empirical case study is developed to suggest some significant ways in which ANT could contribute, and complement, extant theories of project complexity. Alternative approaches to socio‐materiality are noted and may yield other important insights.

Originality/value

The paper positions ANT to offer a novel theory of project complexity. It is intended to be primarily of use to project management researchers, and theoretically informed practitioners, who are interested in developing fresh insights into notions of project complexities (unintended consequences, emergence and unpredictability).

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2016

Gibran Rivera and Andrew M. Cox

The purpose of this paper is to explore the value of Actor-network theory as an approach to explain the non-adoption of collaborative technology.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the value of Actor-network theory as an approach to explain the non-adoption of collaborative technology.

Design/Methodology/Approach

The notion of translation and related concepts pertaining to Actor-network theory are used to explore the case of non-participation in an organizational online community. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 HR professionals belonging to a multi-campus university system in Mexico.

Findings

The study shows that participation in the online community did not occur as expected by those promoting its use. An initial inductive analysis showed that the factors that undermine participation had to do with the interface design of the technology and the individual motivations and benefits derived from participation. A second analysis, using ANT showed how processes of negotiation, conflict, enrolment, alignment, and betrayal that occurred during the emergence and evolution of the new network played a critical role in technology adoption leading to the dissolution of the initiative to adopt the collaborative technology.

Originality/value

The study shows the value of ANT as a tool to better understand the adoption and use of collaborative technology. The analysis goes beyond existing explanations of participation, which tend to focus attention on matters such as the interface design or the personal motivations and benefits derived from participation. It does so by moving away from solely looking at what occurs within the boundaries of a community and understanding the context within which it is being introduced. It prompts the analysis of moments of problematization, interessement, enrolment, and mobilization to explore the adoption process, including the role of non-human actors.

Propósito

El objetivo del artículo es explorar el valor de la Teoría del Actor-Red como lente teórico para explicar la no adopción de una tecnología colaborativa.

Diseño/metodología/enfoque

La noción de traducción y conceptos relacionados pertenecientes a la Teoría del Actor-Red son utilizados para explorar el caso de no participación en un a comunidad virtual en el contexto organizacional. Se realizaron treinta entrevistas semi-estructuradas con profesionistas de RH pertenecientes a una universidad con múltiples campus en México.

Recomendaciones

El estudio muestra que la participación en la comunidad virtual no ocurrió como se esperaba por aquellos que promovieron su uso. Un primer análisis inductivo mostró que los factores que minaron la participación fueron aquellos relacionados con el diseño de la interface de la tecnología así como con las motivaciones y beneficios individuales derivados de la participación en la comunidad virtual. Un segundo análisis usando la TAR, mostró como los procesos de negociación, conflicto, enrolamiento, alineamiento y traición que ocurrieron durante el surgimiento y evolución de la red emergente jugaron un rol crítico en la adopción de la tecnología, llevando así a la disolución de la iniciativa para adoptar la tecnología colaborativa.

Originalidad/valor

El estudio muestra el valor de la TAR como herramienta para entender de una mejor manera la adopción y uso de la tecnología colaborativa. El análisis va más allá de las explicaciones existentes sobre participación, mismas que han tendido en enfocar su atención a aspectos como el diseño de la interface o las motivaciones y beneficios individuales derivados de la participación. En cambio, el análisis deja de solamente estudiar lo que ocurre al interior de la comunidad para entender el contexto en el que la comunidad virtual se encuentra, utilizando los momentos de problematización, interesamiento, enrolamiento y movilización para explorar el proceso de adopción así como el rol que juegan los actores no humanos.

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Article
Publication date: 14 May 2018

Monica Nehemia-Maletzky, Tiko Iyamu and Irja Shaanika

This study aims to examine how both activity theory (AT) and actor network theory (ANT) can be complementarily applied in information system (IS) studies.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine how both activity theory (AT) and actor network theory (ANT) can be complementarily applied in information system (IS) studies.

Design/methodology/approach

The interpretivist approach was followed, within which the qualitative methods were used. Existing literature was gathered as data. The analysis was done by following the interpretive approach.

Findings

Based on the analysis and discussion, a guide for complementary use of both AT and ANT in IS studies was developed. The guide is divided into two parts, which helps to achieve the objectives of the study: complimentary use of AT and ANT in an IS study and order-of-use of both theories in a study, as depicted in the framework.

Originality/value

This study is original in that it has not previously been published in part or full. The results of the study is intended to be of value to both IS postgraduate students and researchers.

Details

Journal of Systems and Information Technology, vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1328-7265

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