The Practical and Theoretical Trails in Hindsight

The Practical and Theoretical Trails in Hindsight

Lars Taxén (Linköping University, Sweden)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 7
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-192-6.ch009


In Section 1 and Section 2, I described the practical and theoretical background of the ADT. In Section 3, I have given an account of the ADT itself. At this point, it is time to look back and see how these three parts are related to each other.
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Recapitulation Of The Practical Trail

The insights and needs from the empirical experience at Ericsson were summarized in Part I as follows:

  • Common understanding: Achieving common understanding is a difficult task that is easily overlooked.

  • Integrating construct: Many observations pointed to the need of some organizational construct that could serve as a whole; integrating elements like IS/IT, business processes, information structures, corporate business rules and norms. Usually, the business process is assigned this role, which leads to a dilution of the process concept, and makes it less pregnant for analytical purposes.

  • Contextualization: Many observations indicated that situational and contextual aspects must be given more attention and importance in the organizational discourse.

  • Recurrent patterns: Certain patterns appeared over and over again – temporal ordering of things, how things were related to each other, how to do things, transitions between contexts. This indicated the existence of an underlying structure whose existence could be perceived in the everyday workings of the organization.

  • Enactment: the importance of enactment – the emergence of new structures by constant engagements of people with the technology at hand. Enactment also emphasizes the importance of being sensitive to the history of organizational artifacts like information models, process models, etc.


Recapitulation Of The Theoretical Trail

From another direction, a collection of theoretical instruments were outlined in Part II:

  • Praxis: The central concept in Marx’s philosophy; the nexus of human activity in which mankind creates the social existence of itself.

  • The dialectical relation: Indicating that the relationship between pairs is internal, in which opposites are different but mutually depending on and impacting each other within a totality.

  • The epistemology of praxis: Issues such as “truth”, “reality”, “facts” cannot be treated as something external to praxis. On the contrary, they lose their meaning outside praxis.

  • The dialectical method: The object of inquiry is a whole where the parts are related internally to each other and mutually constitute the whole and the parts – a concrete totality. The structure of the whole is based on the diversity of its parts, and this diversity gives rise to the dynamic evolution of the whole and its parts. In every concrete totality there is a particular component that has a unique position in the sense that it determines the other. This component is called the concrete universal of the totality, and can be thought of as an elementary form of the whole. The concrete universal is the germ, the central category which determines the evolution and structure of its own progress and of the whole. The task of the dialectical method is to reproduce the concrete totality and its “seed”, the concrete universal.

  • The concept of activity in Activity Theory: The social phenomenon in which a group of humans join their forces in order to fulfill social needs. The activity itself is oriented towards a motive, which actors ultimately need to attain. The actions needed to achieve the motive are directed towards work objects. The activity is the social fabric in which individual actions are meaningful.

  • Mediation: Refers to the idea that humans always put something else between themselves and their object of work.

  • Meaning: Fundamental for understanding the human mind.

    • The Activity Domain Theory – Summary

The main features of ADT are as follows (see Figure 1):

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