Socio-material Practices of Design Coordination: Objects as Plastic and Partisan

Jennifer Whyte and Chris Harty

in Materiality and Organizing

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199664054
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745423 | DOI:
Socio-material Practices of Design Coordination: Objects as Plastic and Partisan

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Drawing on detailed research on a construction megaproject, the chapter takes a practice-based approach to examining the practical and theoretical tensions between existing ways of working and the introduction of new digital coordination tools in design. The chapter analyzes the new hybrid practices that emerge, using insights from actor network theory, to articulate the delegation of actions to physical and digital objects within ecologies of practice. The three vignettes that we discuss highlight this delegation of actions, the “plugging” and “patching” of ecologies occurring across media and the continual iterations of working practices between different types of media. By shifting the focus from tools to these wider ecologies of practice, the approach has important implications for the stabilization of new technologies and practices and for managing technological change in the design of physical infrastructure.

Keywords: design; hybrid practices; boundary objects; delegation; information ecologies

Chapter.  7686 words. 

Subjects: Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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