Ponte, Diego and Rossi, Alessandro and Zamarian, Marco (2008) The role of competencies and interests in developing complex IT-artefacts: the case of a metering system. UNSPECIFIED.
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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