Motivations and Methods

Eser Kandogan, Paul P. Maglio, Eben M. Haber and John Bailey

in Taming Information Technology

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780195374124
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979134 | DOI:

Series: Human Technology Interaction Series

Motivations and Methods

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Information technology is pervasive but also practically invisible to the average person. Information technology work is so complex that even technical people often do not have the complete picture. Information technology work is done increasingly in the context of service delivery, and service providers are very focused on understanding and improving practices to improve service and reduce costs. To help improve information technology work, our goal was to develop a deep understanding of the practices of system administrators. Their tools, practices, processes, and organizations were studied using observational methods. Infrastructures, tended by experts, working together to tame the inherent complexity of modern information technology systems were observed. Real innovation was seen, as administrator-created tools, practices, and organizations effectively simplified work. And also observed was a kind of evolution, as innovations matured, were shared, and adapted across broader communities to create productive work systems.

Keywords: system administrator; information technology; service delivery; it service provider; work practices; observational methods

Chapter.  6542 words. 

Subjects: Engineering (General)

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