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Where is power in information systems research? Towards a framework

Simeonova, Boyka and Karanasios, Stan and Galliers, Robert D and Kelly, Paul R and Mishra, Jyoti (2018) Where is power in information systems research? Towards a framework. In: International Conference on Information Systems, 2018-12-13 - 2018-12-16, San Fransisco, United States of America.

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The aim of this paper is to unpack the concept of power in its episodic and systemic forms in an in the context of IS mediated organizational activities - power issues often having been neglected in prior IS studies. To develop an integrated analytical approach and a rounded understanding of the effects of different forms of power, we draw on activity theory (AT). We argue that power is a deeply embedded structure, which explains events at the level of activities. We use the different elements of AT and the concept of contradictions to help tease out and understand power. To demonstrate how AT helps uncover power dynamics around IS we draw on three cases from different sectors and countries at intra-organizational, inter-organizational and international levels. Our three cases provide instances of episodic and systemic power within activity systems and networks and their effects on the use of tools/IS. We observed episodic power traits in different components of the activity system for all three cases; these are linked to hierarchy, position and control. Systemic traits of power are evident in the community in all the cases - linked to trust and social relationships. Additionally, contradictions resulting from the enactment of the different forms of power are outlined. We provide a framework for the theorization of power in IS using AT, and outline avenues for future research based on this foundation.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: Published proceedings: International Conference on Information Systems 2018, ICIS 2018
Uncontrolled Keywords: information systems; power; activity theory
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2020 12:07
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2022 19:36

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