Abstract - The Information Society 22(5)

Always Articulating: Theorizing on Mobile and Wireless Technologies

Steve Sawyer and Andrea Tapia

Through this paper we theorize on the nature and effects of articulation work relative to the take-up and use of information and communications technologies (ICT). Articulation work is “work that enables other work:” that which links people, processes and technologies within organizations. Articulation work in organizations is both common and too-often invisible from a managerial or budgetary perspective. Drawing on data from a study of the introduction and implementation of mobile computing technologies into criminal justice organizations we highlight two findings: (1) There exist ongoing but unmet articulation needs present in any organization or work system. (2) Articulation is cumulative. We find, as work becomes more complex (such as adding new work tasks and using new technologies), there is more articulation needed. These findings raise issues with assessing the costs of articulation on individuals, and making arrangements to accommodate explicit and implicit articulation in organizational work, particularly around the take up and ongoing use of ICT-based systems.


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