DOI: 10.1145/196734.196745 ISSN:

Technological frames

Wanda J. Orlikowski, Debra C. Gash
  • Computer Science Applications
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Information Systems

In this article, we build on and extend research into the cognitions and values of users and designers by proposing a systematic approach for examining the underlying assumptions, expectations, and knowledge that people have about technology. Such interpretations of technology (which we call technological frames) are central to understanding technological development, use, and change in organizations. We suggest that where the technological frames of key groups in organizations—such as managers, technologists, and users— are significantly different, difficulties and conflict around the development, use, and change of technology may result. We use the findings of an empirical study to illustrate how the nature, value, and use of a groupware technology were interpreted by various organizational stakeholders, resulting in outcomes that deviated from those expected. We argue that technological frames offer an interesting and useful analytic perspective for explaining an anticipating actions and meanings that are not easily obtained with other theoretical lenses.

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