Social Practice Design

Social Practice Design

Gianni Jacucci (University of Trento, Italy) and Gian Marco Campagnolo (University of Edinburgh, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0303-5.ch015
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Abstract

This chapter introduces an action research methodology called Social Practice Design and its application in the case of a small-medium enterprise production management innovation process. Social Practice Design includes three main phases: observation and the production of how questions; analysis and the production of visions of solutions; synthesis and the production of action plans or SPD paths. Social Practice Design is proposed as an extension of Participatory Design to the implementation phase of Information Systems Development. The research team in Social Practice Design includes three modes of knowing: the ethnographer, the counsellor, and the action researcher modes of knowing.
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Social Practice Design

Social Practice Design (SPD) is an innovative approach to organizational change in the context of the development of information systems. Phenomenology and counselling (Rogers, 1951) are its two distinctive features. SPD offers a way to design sustainable interaction between people, computers and work, through the activation of staff and management people in processes of co-construction. It can be considered an extension of the Participatory Design to the implementation phase of information systems. Its object is the design and introduction of new participatory activities, or new ways to accomplish tasks by humans, in order to 'make room' (Ehn, 2006) for technology, addressing various issues related to the social deployment and use of technology in organizations. SPD is a form of action research or action-oriented research (Bødker, et al., 2004). Although the last two decades research on Participatory Design has developed activities to support decision making at every stage of the design process, the phase that has remained the most neglected is the implementation phase of system development, that is when users need to integrate technology within their own activities, in many cases having to change the way they work. Another aspect that Participatory Design has weakly addressed is the organizational aspect: namely, what organizational measures can be imagined and experimented by/with the users, in order to reflexively support the expression of the potential of the introduction of participatory methodologies in the development of technology.

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