Conceptions of control and IT artefacts: an institutional account of the Amazon rainforest monitoring system
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- Rajão, R. & Hayes, N. J Inf Technol (2009) 24: 320. doi:10.1057/jit.2009.12
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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.