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The role of competencies and interests in developing complex IT-artefacts: the case of a metering system

Listed author(s):
  • Diego Ponte


    (DISA, Faculty of Economics, Trento University)

  • Alessandro Rossi
  • Marco Zamarian


    (DISA, Faculty of Economics, Trento University)

In this paper we aim at contributing to the ongoing debate on the relationship between artefacts and organizational structuration. Current literature emphasises the role of artefacts as mediators between interests of different categories of actors, namely between designers and users. Alternatively, it concentrates on the processes of learning and interacting between each actor and the artefacts themselves. We explore an arrangement which is not captured by these characterizations, and yet is becoming more and more common, that is situations in which complexity imposes an integration of different actors focusing on knowledge domains which are only partly overlapping. To explore these issues, we examine the dynamics surrounding the design of a complex artefact: an electronic metering system developed by a consortium of firms. The main results emerging from the case study are 1) the relevance of each actor's interests as the main rationale for explaining the technical features of the artefact; 2) the role of negotiation and consensus in determining the final shape of the artefact in term of its features; 3) the bundling/unbundling of features within the physical object as the cooperative effort rises/falls.

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Paper provided by Department of Computer and Management Sciences, University of Trento, Italy in its series DISA Working Papers with number 0804.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2008
Date of revision: 07 Jul 2008
Handle: RePEc:trt:disawp:0804
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  1. Stango Victor, 2004. "The Economics of Standards Wars," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-19, March.
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