The Duality of Technology: Rethinking the concept of technology in organizations

Wanda J. Orlikowski

Abstract

This paper develops a new theoretical model with which to examine the interaction between technology and organizations. Early research studies assumed technology to be an objective, external force that would have deterministic impacts on organizational properties such as structure. Later researchers focused on the human aspect of technology, seeing it as the outcome of strategic choice and social action. This paper suggests that either view is incomplete, and proposes a reconceptualization of technology that takes both perspectives into account. A theoretical model--the structurational model of technology--is built on the basis of this new conceptualization, and its workings explored through discussion of a field study of information technology. The paper suggests that the reformulation of the technology concept and the structurational model of technology allow a deeper and more dialectical understanding of the interaction between technology and organizations. This understanding provides insight into the limits and opportunities of human choice, technology development and use, and organizational design. Implications for future research of the new concept of technology and the structurational model of technology are discussed.

Keywords

Organizations, Structuration Theory, Structurational Model of Technology, Technology

APA Citation

Orlikowski, W. J. (1992). The duality of technology: Rethinking the concept of technology in organizations. Organization science, 3(3), 398-427.

About the Study

Links to Article https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C50&q=The+duality+of+technology%3A+Rethinking+the+concept+of+technology+in+organizations.+Organization+Science&btnG=
https://doi.org/10.1287/orsc.3.3.398
Mode Technology-enhanced
Publication Type Journal Article
In Publication Organization Science
Type of Research Qualitative
Research Design
Intervention/Areas of Study Other
Level of Analysis Institutional-level
Specific Populations Examined
Peer-Reviewed Yes
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest
Specific Course or Program Characteristics
Outcome Variables of Interest Institutional effectiveness
Student Sample Size
Citing Articles https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=13544961997183601786&as_sdt=5,50&sciodt=0,50&hl=en


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