Journal of Information Technology

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 320–331

Conceptions of control and IT artefacts: an institutional account of the Amazon rainforest monitoring system

Research Article

DOI: 10.1057/jit.2009.12

Cite this article as:
Rajão, R. & Hayes, N. J Inf Technol (2009) 24: 320. doi:10.1057/jit.2009.12


Based on Fligstein's (1990) work on ‘conceptions of control’ (broad managerial paradigms), this paper provides an analysis of the ways in which information technology (IT) artefacts shape and are shaped by institutional contexts. Specifically, we report on primary and secondary empirical data that spans a 44-year period pertaining to the uses made of the Amazon rainforest monitoring system (a set of satellite-based geographic information systems). This paper argues that: (1) the process of institutional change is conflictual, emergent and contested; (2) the design and use of IT artefacts tend to reflect the currently dominant conceptions of control; (3) that IT artefacts that emerge within a specific conception of control can be later reconfigured to serve the interests of other conceptions of control; (4) and finally, IT artefacts might unintentionally reinforce alternate conceptions of control and lead to institutional change.


institutional theoryconceptions of controlinstitutional changegeographic information systemsglobalizationAmazon rainforest

Copyright information

© Association for Information Technology Trust 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Organisation, Work and Technology, Lancaster University Management School, BailriggLancasterUK