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Reading Group May 21 2007

The paper proposed is "The order of technology: Complexity and control in a connected world" by Jannis Kallinikos, (2005) in Information and Organization 15, 185-202. This paper theorizes processes involved where ICT constitutes social institutions. In this case technology does not determine, but influences social/organizational responses by embodying its designers intentions. It considers that the diffusion of large-scale information systems (read ERP) pose challenges to strategies of functional simplification and functional closure. Technology evolves, has momentum, standardizes, interlocks, grows and solidifies social patterns (even institutional forms such as organizations) ICT is involved in "choreographing... human effort" and disseminates such involvement by transcending the boundaries of organizations and locations in the network era (as distinct from the merely computerized era).

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May 21, 2007
from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM


couches in Quinn

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This paper examines some of the implications associated with the growing complexity of the contemporary world, consequent upon the expanding economic and organizational involvement of ICT-based systems and artefacts. Drawing on Luhmann, traditional forms of technological control are analyzed in terms of functional simplification and closure. Functional simplification involves the demarcation of an operational domain within which the complexity of the world is reconstructed as a simplified set of causal or instrumental relations. Functional closure implies the construction of a protective cocoon that is placed around the selected causal sequences to ensure their recurrent unfolding. While possible to analyze in similar terms, current developments, as manifested in the diffusion of large-scale information systems and mostly the internet spin a web of technological relations that challenge the strategies of functional simplification and closure and the organizational practices that have traditionally accommodated them.

Gathering for reading, pre-lunch Monday 21st May at 11am in the couches at Quinn.

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