The Labyrinths of Information : Challenging the Wisdom of Systems: Challenging the Wisdom of Systems

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OUP Oxford, Jun 27, 2002 - Business & Economics - 214 pages
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How to use information and communication technologies in organizations and how to manage their impact has been the traditional domain of computer specialists and management consultants. The former have offered multiple ways to represent, model, and build applications that would streamline and accelerate data flows, while the latter have been busy linking the deployment of ICTs with strategy and the redesign of business processes. This book takes quite a different approach altogether. In a series of essays, Ciborra uses a string of metaphors -- such as Bricolage, Krisis, Gestell, etc. -- to place a concern for human existence and our working lives at the centre of the study of ICTs and their diffusion in business organizations, and looks at our practices, improvisations, and moods. He draws upon his own extensive research and consulting experience to throw a fresh light on some key questions: why are systems ambiguous? Why do they not give us more time to do things? Is there strategic value in tinkering even in high-tech settings? What is the value of age-old practices in dealing with new technologies? What is the role of moods and affections in influencing action and cognition? The Labyrinths of Information presents an alternative to the current approaches in management, software-engineering, and strategy that will be of interest to all those concerned with the deployment of ICTs in society today -- whether as users, managers, designers, policy makers, or the merely curious.

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Judging methods
Improvisation hacking patching
The power of infrastructures
Drift and deviation
Hosting an innovation
Architecture and action
Seizing the opportunity
Improvising as a mood
Some final thoughts and feelings

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About the author (2002)

Claudio Ciborra graduated in Electronic Engineering at the Politecnico di Milano, Italy, before pursuing his studies in management, economics, and organization theory at the University of California, Los Angeles and Harvard University. He has held teaching positions at a number of Italian universities and been a Visiting Professor in many European and American universities. He is currently Chair Professor of Information Systems at the Centre for the Analysis of Risk and Regulation at the London School of Economics and Professor at IULM in Milan. He has carried out extensive research in the fields of new technologies, organizational structures, learning, knowledge, and change.

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