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Rules, Practices and Information Technology: A Trifecta of Organizational Regulation

By François-Xavier De Vaujany, Wlad Fomin, Stefan Haefliger and Kalle Lyytinen


As information technology (IT)-based regulation has become critical and pervasive for contemporary organizing, information systems research turns mostly a deaf ear to the topic. Current explanations of IT-based regulation fit into received frameworks such as structuration theory, actor-network theory, or neoinstitutional analyses but fail to recognize the unique capacities IT and related IT-based regulatory practices offer as a powerful regulatory means. Any IT-based regulation system is made up of rules, practices, and IT artifacts and their relationships. We propose this trifecta as a promising lens to study IT-based regulation in that it sensitizes scholars into how IT artifacts mediate rules and constitute regulatory processes embracing rules, capacities of IT endowed by the artifact, and organizational practices. We review the concepts of rules and IT-based regulation and identify two gaps in the current research on organizational regulation: (1) the critical role of sensemaking as part of IT-based regulation, and (2) the challenge of temporally coupling rules and their enactment during IT-based regulation. To address these gaps we introduce the concept of regulatory episode as a unit of analysis for studying IT-based regulation. We also formulate a tentative research agenda for IT-based regulation that focuses on tensions triggered by the three key elements of the IT-based regulatory processes

Topics: Latour, Merleau-Ponty, Actor network theory, Phenomenology, Time, Meaning, Mediation, Embodiment, Practice, regulation, IT capacities, Information Technology, JEL: M - Business Administration and Business Economics • Marketing • Accounting • Personnel Economics/M.M1 - Business Administration/M.M1.M15 - IT Management, [SHS.GESTION]Humanities and Social Sciences/Business administration
Publisher: 'Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS)'
Year: 2018
DOI identifier: 10.1287/isre.2017.0771
OAI identifier: oai:HAL:hal-01925292v1
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