Infoculture

Infoculture

Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 50
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2760-3.ch005

Abstract

The chapter examines stable beliefs, behaviors, and artifacts that revolve around organizational informing agents—culture of informing (infoculture). This concept deepens the insight into some well-known artifacts of organizational culture. The argument deconstructs the literature on organizational culture to expose such infocultural aspects. It is argued that different infocultures can exist in the same company, based on the occupational group, profession, department, and other grounds. Six types of infoculture are described, including newly introduced the team and knowledge infocultures. Case evidence on infocultures in three companies studied is used to illustrate these categories. Both a method of categorizing infocultures grounded on the idea of metaphor and the associated research inquiry are explained. The discussion also addresses the impacts of big data on infoculture. The chapter ends by presenting a case of colliding infocultures contributing to deadly air accidents.
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The Concept Of Infoculture

Law firms and banks maintain strong norms aiming at securing confidentiality of client data, and corresponding work practices are carried out. Innovativeness and production of new knowledge are raised at a level of cult at organizations like 3M and Microsoft. The Internet, as a rich technological and informing context, features in stories explaining the advent of organizations such as Amazon.com and MediPlan (an international Internet pharmacy in Canada). Clerical work in government, education, and non-profit organizations maintain norms and work practices that help to maintain paper documents in a usable form. In high-tech companies, the same efforts can be identified albeit as involving documents in electronic form. Monitoring employees' emails has been legitimized as a practice in many companies. There are attempts to electronically monitor the work of subordinates, and such a cultural shift may need to go through several hurdles before becoming a norm and routine practice.

In software firms, engineering companies, and IS departments, a particular sort of thinking (attention to detail, process focus, formal logic) have been praised and reinforced. Financial experts may have a high appreciation of accurate, complete, and timely news and reports, but little patience for experimenting with new kinds of IT. IT professionals may be on the opposite end. And of course, everybody who tries to use email or some other technology for electronic communication is likely to learn that some different norms may apply to it than those used in face-to-face communication. All these examples point to items of organizational culture that are focused on informing agents. Let us first look at organizational culture and draw relationships between infoculture and itself.

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