Implementing Open Network Technologies in Complex Work Practices: A Case from Telemedicine

  • Margun Aanestad
  • Ole Hanseth
Chapter
Part of the IFIP — The International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 41)

Abstract

New non-desktop technologies may turn out to be of a more open and generic nature than traditional information technologies. These technologies consequently pose novel challenges to systems development practice, as the design, implementation, and use of these technologies will be different. This paper presents empirical material from a project where multimedia technology was introduced into a complex medical work practice (surgery). The implementation process is analyzed at the micro-level and the process is found to be highly complex, emergent, and continuous. Using actor-network theory, we argue that conceptualizing the process as cultivating the hybrid collectif of humans and non-humans, technologies and non-technologies (Callon and Law 1995) is a suitable and useful approach. This concept may capture the open-ended and emergent nature of the process and indicate the suitability of an evolutionary approach.

Keywords

Telemedicine Multimedia Network actor-network theory cultivation hybrid collectif 

References

  1. Callon, M. “Techno-economic Networks and Irreversibility,” in Sociology of Monsters: Essays on Power, Technology and Domination, J. Law (ed.). London: Routledge, 1991.Google Scholar
  2. Callon, M., and Law, J. “Agency and the Hybrid Collectif,” The South Atlantic Quarterly (94: 2 ), 1995.Google Scholar
  3. Ciborra, C. “Hospitality and IT,” in Proceedings from the Twenty-second Information Systems Research Seminar in Scandinavia (IRIS ‘22), T. Käkölä (ed.), Keuruu, Finland, August 1999.Google Scholar
  4. Ciborra, C. “Improvisation and Information Technology in Organizations,” in Proceedings of the Seventeenth International Conference on Information Systems, J. I. DeGross, S. Jarvenpaa, and A. Srinivasan (eds.), Cleveland, OH, December 1996a.Google Scholar
  5. Ciborra, C. “Introduction: What does Groupware Mean for the Organizations Hosting It?” in Groupware and Teamwork: Invisible Aid or Technical Hindrance?, C. Ciborra (ed.). Chichester, UK: Wiley and Sons, 19966.Google Scholar
  6. Dahlbom, B., and Mathiassen, L. Computers in Context: The Philosophy and Practice of Systems Design. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1993.Google Scholar
  7. Hanseth, O., Buanes, T., Eide, K., Hustad, R., Johansen, M., Retnes, J. S., Wörkvist, B., and Yvling, B. DIMedS—Development of Interactive Medical Services, Distant Learning in Surgery and Radiology Using Nroadband Networks. Final Report, Pilot Regular Teaching. Telia, Norway, 1999.Google Scholar
  8. Hanseth, O., and Monteiro, E. “Inscribing Behavior in Information Infrastructure Standards,” Accounting, Management and Information Technologies (7:4), 1997, pp. 183–21.Google Scholar
  9. Jones, M. “Information Systems and the Double Mangle: Steering the Course between the Scylla of Embedded Structure and the Charybdis of Strong Symmetry,” in Information Systems: Current Issues and Future Changes, T. J. Larsen, L. Levine, and J. I. DeGross (eds.). Laxenburg, Austria: IFIP, 1998, pp. 287–302.Google Scholar
  10. Klein, H. K., and Myers, M. D. “A Set of Principles for Conducting and Evaluating Interpretive Field Studies in Information Systems,” MIS Quarterly (23), 1999.Google Scholar
  11. Kling, R. “Defining the Boundaries of Computing Across Complex Organizations,” in Critical Issues in Information Systems Research, R. Boland and R. Hirschheim (eds.). Chichester, UK: Wiley, 1987.Google Scholar
  12. Latour, B. Pandora’s Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999.Google Scholar
  13. Latour, B. Science in Action. Boston: Harvard University Press, 1987.Google Scholar
  14. Linderoth, H. C. J. “Don’t Close the Big Black Box—Close the Little Ones. A Study of Telemedicine,” paper presented at the Fifteenth Nordic Conference on Business Studies, Helsinki, August 19–21, 1999.Google Scholar
  15. McMaster, T., Vidgen, R. T., and Wastel, D. G. “Towards an Understanding of Technology in Transition: Two Conflicting Theories,” in Proceedings of IRIS 20, Social Informatics, K. Braa and E. Monteiro (eds.), Oslo, 1997, pp. 171–180.Google Scholar
  16. Orlikowski, W. “Improvising Organizational Transformation Over Time: A Situated Change Perspective,” Information Systems Research (7:1), 1996, pp. 63–92.Google Scholar
  17. Strauss, A., Fagerhaugh, S. B., and Wiener, C. The Social Organization of Medical Work. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985.Google Scholar
  18. Suchman, L. “Do Categories have Politics? The Language/Action Perspective Reconsidered,” Computer Supported Cooperative Work (3:3), 1994, pp. 398–427.Google Scholar
  19. Walsham, G. “The Emergence of Interpretivism in IS Research, ”Information Systems Research (6: 4 ), 1995, pp. 376–394.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margun Aanestad
    • 1
  • Ole Hanseth
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Oslo and The Interventional CentreThe National HospitalOsloNorway
  2. 2.University of OsloNorway

Personalised recommendations