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From Users to Social Actors: Reconceptualizing Socially Rich Interaction Through Information and Communication Technology

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dc.contributor.author Lamb, Roberta
dc.contributor.author Kling, Rob
dc.date.accessioned 2007-04-05T20:29:26Z
dc.date.available 2007-04-05T20:29:26Z
dc.date.issued 2002
dc.identifier.citation Lamb, R. & Kling, R. (2003). Reconceptualizing users as social actors in information systems research. MIS Quarterly, 27(2), 197-235. en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2022/1018
dc.description.abstract A concept of "the user" is fundamental to much of the research and practice of information systems design, development and evaluation. User-centered information studies have relied on individualistic cognitive models to carefully examine the criteria that influence people’s selections of information and communication technologies (ICTs). In many ways, these studies have improved our understanding of how a good information resource fits the people who use it. However, research approaches based on an individualistic “user” concept are limited. In this paper, we examine the theoretical constructs that shape this “user” concept and contrast these with alternative views that help to reconceptualize "the user" as a social actor. Despite pervasive ICT use, social actors are not primarily “users” of ICTs. Moreover, such socially thin and somewhat pejorative conceptualizations limit our understanding of information selection, manipulation, communication and exchange within complex social contexts. Using analyses from a recent study of online information service use, we develop an institutionalist concept of a social actor whose everyday interactions are infused with ICT use. We then encourage a shift from "the user" concept to a concept of the social actor in IS research. We suggest that such a shift will sharpen perceptions of how organizational contexts shape ICT-related practices, and at the same time will help researchers more accurately portray the complex and multiple roles that people fulfill while adopting, adapting and using information systems. en
dc.description.sponsorship Indiana University en
dc.format.extent 142199 bytes
dc.format.extent 93834 bytes
dc.format.extent 10176 bytes
dc.format.extent 77337 bytes
dc.format.mimetype text/html
dc.format.mimetype text/html
dc.format.mimetype image/jpeg
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dc.language.iso en_US en
dc.publisher Rob Kling Center for Social Informatics en
dc.relation.ispartofseries WP-02-11 en
dc.subject social informatics en
dc.subject user en
dc.subject ICT en
dc.subject social actor en
dc.subject HCI en
dc.subject CSCW en
dc.subject institutional en
dc.subject pillars en
dc.title From Users to Social Actors: Reconceptualizing Socially Rich Interaction Through Information and Communication Technology en
dc.type Working Paper en


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