Experiencing Virtual Social Enterprise Media Architectures

  • Lene Pettersen
Keywords: Social enterprise media, social architecture, social groups, social interaction, structuration theory, time-geography, Wittgenstein


This article addresses knowledge professionals’ experiences of being in and using social enterprise media, which is characterized by a social, people-centric, dynamic and non-hierarchical information architecture. Rather than studying the social enterprise media from a typical STS-perspective in terms of ‘scripts’, ‘antiprogram’, or as ‘configuring design processes based on the user’, the paper direct its analytical lens to the users’ experiences, practices and routines when they are making sense of the virtual space in social enterprise media. As theoretical framework, unexplored corners of structuration theory where Giddens (1979, 1984) discusses spatiality (place) and temporality (time), where Giddens is inspired by the philosopher Wittgenstein (1972), the micro-sociologist Goffman (1959), and the time-geographer Hägerstrand (1975, 1978) are employed. With this approach, dynamic social processes are included in our studies of technology. Qualitative insights from a comprehensive and longitudinal case study of a multinational organization with entities in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East were used in order to get an in-depth understanding of how people experienced using virtual and social architectural spaces. The findings show that the social architecture and people-centric model in the virtual space in social enterprise media does not provide an intuitive spatial sense, nor does it provide logics that correspond with known and familiar logics or established communication and interaction practices among employees. Key features in social enterprise media (e.g., transparency) collide with how space is constructed in the physical world and with the logics at play in offline conversations and social interactions (e.g. turn-taking in conversations or the opportunity to withdraw from conversations).  

Author Biography

Lene Pettersen

Lene Pettersen, Faculty of Management of the Westerdals Oslo School of Arts, Communication and Technology, Norway.


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