A Matter of Facts: Studying the Density of Digital Representations in a French University Hospital
Speaker: Prof. Dr. Lauri Wessel
Abstract: Information systems (IS) researchers are increasingly attending to the role that data play in ‘unhinging’ organizational phenomena. ‘Unhinging’ occurs when data are detached the contexts of their production and fed into novel purposes of use. As the organizational implications of unhinging become studied across organization studies and IS, it becomes important to better understand what is unhinged, how, and with what consequences. We study the production and use of digital pictures in a French university hospital and find that different pictures are used for different purposes. Some become published, other are used for diagnoses, and others are used for advice seeking. We conceptualize these observations as variations of what we call ‘density of digital representations’ and argue that the density explains how digital representations enable actors to connect institutional with brute facts. Variations in density during unhinging thus help to better explain why and how certain digital technologies are used or thwarted by organization members depending on their professional backgrounds and intentions to use data for various purposes. We contribute to recent debates about the role of data in organizations by introducing the concept of ‘density’ of digital representations and theorizing it along ontological and epistemic dimensions of professional work.
Short Bio: Lauri Wessel is a professor of Information Management and Digital Transformation at the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder). He also holds a position as an adjunct professor of Healthcare Management at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. His research focuses on digital transformation, organization theory, and digital health. He regularly publishes in high ranked journals such as the Information Systems Journal. His latest awards are from the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, the European Conference on Information Systems and the Journal of the Association for Information Systems for his associate editor work and best paper.