Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 465–490

The Appropriation of Interactive Technologies: Some Lessons from Placeless Documents

  • Paul Dourish

DOI: 10.1023/A:1026149119426

Cite this article as:
Dourish, P. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) (2003) 12: 465. doi:10.1023/A:1026149119426


Appropriation is the process by which peopleadopt and adapt technologies, fitting them intotheir working practices. It is similar tocustomisation, but concerns the adoptionpatterns of technology and the transformationof practice at a deeper level. Understandingappropriation is a key problem for developinginteractive systems, since it critical to thesuccess of technology deployment. It is also animportant research issue, since appropriationlies at the intersection of workplace studiesand design.

Most accounts of appropriation in the researchliterature have taken a social perspective. Incontrast, this paper explores appropriation interms of the technical features that supportit. Drawing examples from applicationsdeveloped as part of a novel documentmanagement system, it develops an initial setof design principles for appropriabletechnologies. These principles are particularlyrelevant to component-based approaches tosystem design that blur the traditionalapplication boundaries.

appropriationcustomisationdeploymentdesigndocument managementflexibilityvisibility

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Dourish
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Information and Computer ScienceUniversity of California IrvineIrvineUSA