Organizational Space Collapsed, Organizational Space Expanded : Experiencing Space with ICT, Affordance and the Body

Abstract : The dominant narrative of the collapsing of space due to ICT in organizations is challenged by this study. It is argued that this is due to a general lack of interest in organizational space in IS scholarship combined with technological determinism. This study seeks to understand the relationship between ICT and organizational space by mobilizing affordance theory based on J.J. Gibson’s work. A qualitative multiple-case study covering two business schools, in Canada and the UK, was undertaken. The spatial practices of academics were scrutinized using a model based on affordance theory to ascertain the role of ICT, as part of the wider environment, in the shaping of these practices. The results clearly demonstrate the inadequacy of affordance theory for the study of ICT in general. An alternative perspective based on the phenomenology of perception of Merleau-Ponty is proposed and successfully tested against the data. This alternative perspective suggests that, based on the experience of academics, ICT simultaneously collapses and expands space. ICT acts as a point of singularity where proximate and remote spaces converge to produce a singular sphere of experience. The study further develops Merleau-Ponty’s concepts of intentionality, body schema, habitus, knowing body, and habitual body in the context of the spatial practices of academics. I propose abandoning affordance theory in favour of an experiential approach to understand the relationship between organizational space and ICT.
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Anouk Mukherjee. Organizational Space Collapsed, Organizational Space Expanded : Experiencing Space with ICT, Affordance and the Body. Business administration. PSL Research University, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017PSLED028⟩. ⟨tel-01661515⟩

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