Notes on a structurational view of digital information in organizations

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Date
1997
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Rob Kling Center for Social Informatics
Abstract
Information has become an important resource in organizations and is once again moving into the center of research attention, especially as more of this information is rendered in digital form. When digital information is considered as an organizational resource, it is an undertheorized concept. In an effort to rethink this concept, this paper proposes a structurational framework for digital organizational information within which this type of information is treated as a resource in an organizational information use environment (IUE). One objective of this paper is to develop this framework in detail, clarifying a base from which the social implications of organizational digital information may be explored. The structuration approach is used because it is "a highly useful framework for the analysis of organizations" (Mills and Murgatroyd (1991; 12). The structurational conception of digital organizational information as a resource is an important element of an organization's IUE, because of the way in which it can extend the power of those who control it (Rosenbaum, 1996b; Orlikowski, 1992). Taylor's (1991) concept of the IUE is used because it focuses on the organizational environment in "information terms." A second objective of this paper is to argue that the access to and control of digital information in organizations is a fundamental characteristic of the structuration of modern organiza given serious and sustained research attention.
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Keywords
social informatics, structuration, information use environment, IUE, digital information
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Creative Commons license
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Working Paper