Speaker Dr. Mohammad Jarrahi
Where: Luddy Hall Auditorium
When: Friday, October 26, 2018, 1:15 pm
Topic: “Information practices and sociotechnical dynamics of mobile knowledge work”
Abstract: The knowledge workforce is changing: global economic factors, increasing professional specialization and rapid technological advancements mean that more individuals than ever can be found working in independent, modular, and mobile arrangements. Little is known about professional information practices or actions outside of traditional, centralized offices; however, the dynamic, unconventional, and less stable mobile work context diverges substantially from this model, and presents significant challenges and opportunities for the accomplishing of work tasks. In this talk, I will focus on five main information practices geared toward mobilizing work, based on in-depth interviews with 37 mobile knowledge workers (MKWs), digital diaries and application-based data collection. I use these five practices as starting points for beginning to delineate the context of mobile knowledge work.
I also discuss how these workers exert agency by fashioning multiple information technologies (IT) into a functioning digital assemblage. In doing so, I focus on paradoxical outcomes of IT adoption: Although IT provide consequential affordances that enable mobilization of work across spaces and times, they simultaneously present various technological or contextual constraints (e.g., technological exclusion and infrastructural disconnection) that require mobile knowledge workers to engage in “configuration work” to make information technologies function effectively. Building on a sociomaterial perspective, I further discuss the interplay of IT and work practices enacted by mobile knowledge workers, in which both human and technological agency are materialized.
Bio: Mohammad is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research focuses on the intersection between the use of information and communication technologies and new forms of organizing work. His recent projects have investigated the sociotechnical dynamics of extra-organizational, flexible work settings such as mobile work, independent work, and gig work arrangements. He is specifically interested in how these knowledge workers outside of the traditional “organizational container” creatively use various digital technologies, and digital platforms to accomplish work, and share knowledge.