The Work of Infrastructuring: A Study of a National eHealth Project

  • Miria Grisot
  • Polyxeni VassilakopoulouEmail author
Conference paper


In this paper we examine a national initiative to further develop the Norwegian healthcare information infrastructure. Specifically, we analyse the work of a project team engaged in the design and development of new web-based capabilities for communication between citizens and primary healthcare practitioners. We foreground the work of infrastructuring which entails conceptualising new technological capabilities not as standalone objects, but as elements in larger arrangements that are sociotechnical in nature. Our findings show how the work within the project was shaped by concerns for embeddedness and durability that led to certain design decisions. Furthermore, we find that these decisions had significant repercussions on the development process and created a complex situation where the cooperation of an evolving constellation of multiple actors was required. Our research contributes an initial understanding of how an infrastructural project is different to projects aimed to the development of specific software artefacts.


Project Team Project Work Healthcare Practitioner Project Participant Infrastructural Development 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Aanestad, M., Jolliffe, B., Mukherjee, A., & Sahay, S. (2014). Infrastructuring work: Building a state-wide hospital information infrastructure in India. Information Systems Research, 25(4), 834–845.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Avital, M., & Te’eni, D. (2009). From generative fit to generative capacity: Exploring an emerging dimension of information systems design and task performance. Information Systems Journal, 19(4), 345–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Avram, G., Bannon, L., Bowers, J. M., Sheehan, A., & Sullivan, D. (2009). Bridging, patching and keeping the work flowing: Defect resolution in distributed software development. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 18(5–6), 477–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bietz, M., Baumer, E., & Lee, C. (2010). Synergizing in cyberinfrastructure development. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 19(3–4), 245–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bjorn, P., Bardram, J., Avram, G., Bannon, L., Boden, A., Redmiles, D., de Souza, C., & Wulf, V. (2014). Global software development in a CSCW perspective. In Proceedings of the Companion Publication of the 17th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing.Google Scholar
  6. Bowker, G. (1994). Science on the run: Information management and industrial geophysics at Schlumberger, 1920–1940. Cambridge: MIT press.Google Scholar
  7. Bowker, G., Baker, K. S., Millerand, F., & Ribes, D. (2010). Toward information infrastructure studies: ways of knowing in a networked environment. In J. Hunsinger, L. Klastrup & M. Allen (Eds.), International handbook of internet research (pp. 97–117). Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  8. Bowker, G., & Star, S. L. (1999). Sorting things out: Classification and its consequences. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  9. Ciborra, C., & Hanseth, O. (1998). From tool to Gestell: Agendas for managing the information infrastructure. Information Technology and People, 11(4), 305–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cohn, M. L., Sim, S. E., & Lee, C. (2009). What counts as software process? Negotiating the boundary of software work through artifacts and conversation. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 18(5–6), 401–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. DIFI. (2009). Overarching ICT architecture principles for the public sector.Google Scholar
  12. Dittrich, Y., Randall, D., & Singer, J. (2009). Software engineering as cooperative work. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 18(5–6), 393–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hanseth, O., Monteiro, E., & Hatling, M. (1996). Developing information infrastructure: The tension between standardization and flexibility. Science, Technology and Human Values, 21(4), 407–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hughes, T. P. (1979). The electrification of America: The system builders. Technology and Culture 124–161.Google Scholar
  15. Karasti, H., & Baker, K. S. (2004). Infrastructuring for the long-term: Ecological information management. In Proceedings of the 37th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 2004.Google Scholar
  16. Karasti, H., Baker, K. S., & Millerand, F. (2010). Infrastructure time: long-term matters in collaborative development. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 19(3–4), 377–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Monteiro, E., Pollock, N., Hanseth, O., & Williams, R. (2013). From artefacts to infrastructures. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 22(4–6), 575–607.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Norsk Helsenett. (2014). About us. URL
  19. Pennington, D. (2011). Bridging the disciplinary divide: Co-creating research ideas in escience teams. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 20(3), 165–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Pettigrew, A. (1997). What is processual analysis? Scandinavian Journal of Management, 13(4), 337–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Pipek, V., & Wulf, V. (2009). Infrastructuring: Towards an integrated perspective on the design and use of information technology. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 10(5), 447–473.Google Scholar
  22. Pollock, N., & Williams, R. (2010). e-Infrastructures: How do we know and understand them? Strategic ethnography and the biography of artefacts. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 19, 521–556.Google Scholar
  23. Procter, R., Rouncefield, M., Poschen, M., Lin, Y., & Voss, A. (2011). Agile project management: A case study of a virtual research environment development project. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 20(3), 197–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ribes, D., & Finholt, T. A. (2009). The long now of technology infrastructure: Articulating tensions in development. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 10(5), 375–398.Google Scholar
  25. Spencer, D., Zimmerman, A. S., & Abramson, D. (2011). Special theme: Project management in e-science: challenges and opportunities. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 20(3), 155–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Star, S. L. (1999). The ethnography of infrastructure. American Behavioral Scientist, 43(3), 377–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Star, S. L., & Bowker, G. (2002). How to infrastructure. In L. Lievrouw & S. Livingstone (Eds.), Handbook of new media: Social shaping and social consequences (pp. 151–162). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  28. Steinhardt, S., & Jackson, S. (2015). Anticipation work: Cultivating vision in collective practice. In CSCW’15, Vancouver, BC, Canada.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of InformaticsUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations