Studies of Work: Achieving Hybrid Disciplines in IT Design and Management Studies

Rooke, JA and Seymour, D 2005, 'Studies of Work: Achieving Hybrid Disciplines in IT Design and Management Studies' , Human Studies, 28 (2) , pp. 205-221.

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We explore the relationship between ethnomethodology (EM), ethnography and the needs of managers and designers in industry, considering both ethnomethodological and industrial criteria of adequacy and explicating their relationship through the concept of “audience.” We examine a range of studies in this light, with a view to their possible candidacy as hybrid studies and identify three types of application of EM studies of work: market research, design, and business improvement. Application in the first of these fields we dub “anthropological,” in that it consists in studying and reporting back on the ways of exotic people (customers). This is the application most commonly found in studies of computer supported co-operative work (CSCW). A second CSCW application, “technomethodology,” involves the introduction of EM concepts into the design process. A further application, dubbed “holding-up-a-mirror,” involves reporting back to members of a setting upon their own activities. We argue that technomethodology and holding-up-a-mirror both offer the possibility of creating hybrid disciplines. We consider the objection that improvement and design involve the introduction of value judgements that threaten the practice of EM indifference, arguing that action research can serve as a guarantee of unique adequacy (UA) by testing the researcher’s understanding as analysis in action in the setting. Furthermore, the standard of reporting required by the UA criterion contributes to the effectiveness of proposed solutions.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD0028 - 0070 Management. Industrial Management
Subjects / Themes > L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment
Schools > School of the Built Environment > Centre for Urban Processes, Resilient Infrastructures & Sustainable Environments
Journal or Publication Title: Human Studies
Publisher: Springer
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1572-851X
Depositing User: H Kenna
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2007 10:20
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 07:49

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