Informing Practices & ICTs

ict01general1So this week I read some intense articles. The first was Goggins and Mascaro’s¹ Context Matters: The Experience of Physical, Informational, and Cultural Distance in a Rural IT Firm. I have always liked learning about ICTs and their implementation. Their take on distance in relation to a rural IT firm is fascinating. The whole paper was interesting but the part that stood out the most to me was the commoditization of ICT labor. With technology and software that used to be extremely expensive and available only to large firms becoming open-source and therefore available to anyone, smaller region IT firms are able to offer services like larger urban firms. This means that rural areas no longer have to be ‘behind the times’. Rural area business can now be ‘cutting edge’. I also liked how they talked about how developing and training local workers in the mid-level data analysis skills a firm is looking for, the employees will have a greater impact of developing the local community than getting a dead-end job at a call center (for example! They used that examples!)

Schultze’s² article seemed like it was waaaaay longer than it needed to be which made it extremely hard to get through. My take away from this article was that there are three informing practices:

  • Ex-pressing: This is when a person converts their tacit knowledge into ‘informational objects’ (explicit knowledge) that are ‘independent of the knowledge worker’ used to protect the workers against ‘attacks on their competence’. (i.e.- recording all the worker does and when)
  • Monitoring: This is when a person collects information from an objective perspective without letting the observed knowing so as to not contaminate the information. (i.e.- remote monitoring a call so the person being monitored does not know)
  • Translating: This is when a person creates information by analyzing and manipulating data in order to disseminate it across multiple platforms. (i.e.- creating an answer and question set by understanding all the parts of the user’s needs)

I like this break down. I think it would be useful to know this when trying to work in any business.

The last article³ talked about heuristics. Which…. I had no idea what it was.  Heuristics are mental shortcuts that ease the cognitive load of making a decision and heuristic methods can be used to speed up the process of finding a satisfactory solution (Source). It also talked about the different types of knowledge which we’ve talked about a lot before.

Words: 413

Words I Had to Look Up

None this week! (…except heuristics which I defined in the post…) Isn’t that cool?!


¹Goggins, S. P. and Mascaro, C. (2013). Context matters: The experience of
physical, informational, and cultural distance in a rural IT firm. The
Information Society, 29(2):113–127.

²Schultze, U. (2000). A confessional account of an ethnography about
knowledge work. MIS Quarterly, 24(1):3–41.

³Spender, J. C. (1996). Making knowledge the basis of a dynamic theory of
the firm. Strategic Management Journal, 17:45–62.


3 thoughts on “Informing Practices & ICTs

  1. You mention that rural areas no longer have to be behind in software (and I am all for open source), but what about hardware? I know I’ve read that part of the problem with rural libraries is not just that the community is widespread and that patrons have to travel some distance to use services, but also that few have the hardware necessary. The article I’m thinking of in particular discussed rural libraries as likely only having one out-dated computer with spotty internet access (I wish I could remember which one it was!). This is a clear hurdle for digital information sharing, and not one that software alone can overcome.


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