Towards an Understanding of Identity and Technology in the Workplace

Mari-Klara Stein, Robert D. Galliers, M. Lynne Markus

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Despite the ubiquitous presence of information technology (IT) in the workplace and the continued computerization of all kinds of work practices, investigations into how IT artifacts play a role in professional identity construction remain rare. Existing studies tend to emphasize sense-making and discourses around IT. This study attempts to fill some of this gap by offering an empirical investigation of how IT artifacts play a role in professional identity enactment at a back office of a Big 4 accounting firm. Building on the socio-technical school of thought and the concept of self as storied, the paper offers a complementary perspective to existing views on the role of IT in identity formation. Our findings reveal that IT artifacts become part of professional identity performances by acting as landmarks in individuals’ self-narratives around which the self and others are positioned and a preferred professional identity is enacted. The findings also indicate that different types of preferred selves may be expressed in specific patterns of technology use. As such, our study contributes to a better understanding of professional identity construction, workplace behavior and ongoing use or non-use of IT at work.
Despite the ubiquitous presence of information technology (IT) in the workplace and the continued computerization of all kinds of work practices, investigations into how IT artifacts play a role in professional identity construction remain rare. Existing studies tend to emphasize sense-making and discourses around IT. This study attempts to fill some of this gap by offering an empirical investigation of how IT artifacts play a role in professional identity enactment at a back office of a Big 4 accounting firm. Building on the socio-technical school of thought and the concept of self as storied, the paper offers a complementary perspective to existing views on the role of IT in identity formation. Our findings reveal that IT artifacts become part of professional identity performances by acting as landmarks in individuals’ self-narratives around which the self and others are positioned and a preferred professional identity is enacted. The findings also indicate that different types of preferred selves may be expressed in specific patterns of technology use. As such, our study contributes to a better understanding of professional identity construction, workplace behavior and ongoing use or non-use of IT at work.
LanguageEnglish
JournalJournal of Information Technology
Volume23
Issue number3
Pages167–182
Number of pages16
ISSN0268-3962
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Published online 4. December 2012

Keywords

    Cite this

    Stein, Mari-Klara ; Galliers, Robert D. ; Markus, M. Lynne . / Towards an Understanding of Identity and Technology in the Workplace. In: Journal of Information Technology. 2013 ; Vol. 23, No. 3. pp. 167–182
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    keywords = "Professional identity, Self-narrative, Materiality, Function and symbolism, Continued use of IT",
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    Towards an Understanding of Identity and Technology in the Workplace. / Stein, Mari-Klara; Galliers, Robert D. ; Markus, M. Lynne .

    In: Journal of Information Technology, Vol. 23, No. 3, 2013, p. 167–182.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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    AU - Galliers,Robert D.

    AU - Markus,M. Lynne

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    Y1 - 2013

    N2 - Despite the ubiquitous presence of information technology (IT) in the workplace and the continued computerization of all kinds of work practices, investigations into how IT artifacts play a role in professional identity construction remain rare. Existing studies tend to emphasize sense-making and discourses around IT. This study attempts to fill some of this gap by offering an empirical investigation of how IT artifacts play a role in professional identity enactment at a back office of a Big 4 accounting firm. Building on the socio-technical school of thought and the concept of self as storied, the paper offers a complementary perspective to existing views on the role of IT in identity formation. Our findings reveal that IT artifacts become part of professional identity performances by acting as landmarks in individuals’ self-narratives around which the self and others are positioned and a preferred professional identity is enacted. The findings also indicate that different types of preferred selves may be expressed in specific patterns of technology use. As such, our study contributes to a better understanding of professional identity construction, workplace behavior and ongoing use or non-use of IT at work.

    AB - Despite the ubiquitous presence of information technology (IT) in the workplace and the continued computerization of all kinds of work practices, investigations into how IT artifacts play a role in professional identity construction remain rare. Existing studies tend to emphasize sense-making and discourses around IT. This study attempts to fill some of this gap by offering an empirical investigation of how IT artifacts play a role in professional identity enactment at a back office of a Big 4 accounting firm. Building on the socio-technical school of thought and the concept of self as storied, the paper offers a complementary perspective to existing views on the role of IT in identity formation. Our findings reveal that IT artifacts become part of professional identity performances by acting as landmarks in individuals’ self-narratives around which the self and others are positioned and a preferred professional identity is enacted. The findings also indicate that different types of preferred selves may be expressed in specific patterns of technology use. As such, our study contributes to a better understanding of professional identity construction, workplace behavior and ongoing use or non-use of IT at work.

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