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Analyzing the relationship between workspace and smart infrastructure reliability and continuity: An ethnography of technicians’ work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 20th Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems (PACIS 2016)
PublisherAssociation for Information Systems
ISBN (Electronic)9789860491029
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventPacific Asia Conference on Information Systems -
Duration: 1 Jan 2014 → …


ConferencePacific Asia Conference on Information Systems
Period1/01/14 → …


Ensuring the reliable and continuous operations of complex, unpredictable, and unstable smart infrastructures, such as computerized and automated power grids or water distribution systems, is a persisting organizational challenge and a societal concern. As technologies are inherently unreliable and, especially, the behavior of complex technological systems is unpredictable, the reliability and continuity of such systems cannot be a mere technological concern, but are precarious achievements that require humans, technologies and other actors. Prior research has shown that work creates variance in organizational performance and that reliability and continuity emerges from what work is done and how it is performed. This ethnographic research focuses on technicians' IT enabled workspace to analyze how the materiality of the workspace conditions and enables technicians to perform the reliability and continuity of a smart infrastructure (smart power grid). Building on sociomaterial theorizing and infrastructure studies, a concept of infra-acting is developed to denote the technicians' possibilities for action in smart infrastructure setting, and to foreground and make sense of the reciprocity between the (materiality of) technicians' workspace and infrastructure continuity. Discussion and conclusions are provided.

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland