Abstract - The Information Society 29(5)

Charting Sociotechnical Dimensions of Values for Design Research

Katie Shilton, Jes A. Koepfler and Kenneth R. Fleischmann

The relationship of values to technology is an important topic in the fields of information studies, human-computer interaction, media studies, and science and technology studies, but definitions and attributes of values differ within and among these fields. We suggest that researchers currently conflate multiple categories when they discuss values. Some of these categories are attributes of the source of values (i.e. people, systems, and hybrid assemblages), and others are attributes of the values themselves. This article disambiguates values in sociotechnical systems by providing a framework to describe where and how values are negotiated and enacted by people, institutions, and technology. The framework includes three dimensions that pertain to the source of values (agency, unit, and assemblage) and three dimensions that pertain to attributes of values (salience, intention and enactment) to enable precision and comparison across this research trajectory. We illustrate each dimension with examples from the values and design literature.


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