Information Systems in Use: A Representational Perspective

Carole Brooke


This paper looks at a theoretical framework recently developed by Paul Jackson (1997) that adopts the information systems metaphor as a means to understand the representational aspects of organisation. Jackson’s approach particularly highlights the role of information systems (IS) in the representation of space and time and the depolitizisation of organisational space and time. However, this paper suggests that the framework can be improved even further, especially through a fuller consideration of the works of Cooper (1992) on displacement, abbreviation and remote control, and Zuboff (1988) on the concept of ‘informate’.
After the modified framework is presented, it is then illustrated by reference to an empirical piece of research undertaken within a major UK business (referred to as CallCentre). The research focuses on problems encountered within a call centre structure where information systems are being applied to automate many of the processes involved in servicing customers. One of the major issues emerging from the analysis is the value of creating representational space within which stakeholders can negotiate meanings. It is suggested that this activity will present a significant challenge to the dominant ideology of managerial control.

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