The Cultural Construction of Information Technology

The Cultural Construction of Information Technology

Vanessa Dirksen
Copyright: © 2002 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-930708-43-3.ch011
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In this paper, I propose a research framework called the ‘“cultural construction of information technology.” It extends the more widely known concept of the social construction of technology (SCOT) and defines the concept of a cultural infrastructure for the application of information technology in other contexts than the one in which it is developed. Whether or not today’s economy is characterized best by the term globalization,1, the interweaving of economic processes and the growing number of internationally operating organizations in the world are matters of fact. The shaping of such a “global economy” is facilitated, among others, by information technology (IT) as it enables the crossing of both organizational as well as national borders. However, as in the case of so-called cultural universals, the universal applicability of IT is a myth also. It is therefore my contention that notwithstanding the blurring of borders, acknowledging the specificity of national cultures remains important, maybe even more than before, and should not be overlooked in the international application of IT. This is what we call the glocalization paradox2 of information technology. The paradox consists of both a global, border-crossing dimension of IT, as well as a local/national context dimension of IT thrust. Resolving this paradox is an important issue regarding the global application of IT. Thus, the application of IT across national boundaries stresses the growing awareness of cultural diversity, and ultimately, the need for the development of IT taking into account heterogeneous “target environments.”

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