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THE SOCIAL DYNAMICS OF TECHNICAL INNOVATION IN THE COMPUTING WORLD

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000128321D
Original Publication Date: 1977-Dec-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Sep-15
Document File: 17 page(s) / 58K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Rob Kling: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

The "computing world," all those people and groups that collectively produce computers and computer-based services is an especially complex, dynamic and diffuse social world. Technical innovation is a dominant feature of the world. It is organized to provide a continuous flow of innovations from participants who specialize in innovation through many other participants to the final consumers of computer-based services. Technical innovations often flow across a large number of "markets" which are composed of only a few classes of participants such as "innovators" and "vendors" or of flusers" and "consumers." This paper identifies the major orientations taken on by participants in the computing world and examines some of the markets across which innovations are negotiated. The computing world is organized so that each market is biased in favor of -innovations moving trom suppliers to their customers. From this viewpoint, "innovation" is, a dominant structural., interest in computing around which participants- organize their activities and to which they must continually adjusto

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

THE SOCIAL DYNAMICS OF TECHNICAL INNOVATION IN THE COMPUTING WORLD

Rob Kling TR #104

Information & Computer Science Dept. University of California, Irvine

November, 1977

ABSTRACT

The "computing world," all those people and groups that collectively produce computers and computer-based services is an especially complex, dynamic and diffuse social world. Technical innovation is a dominant feature of the world. It is organized to provide a continuous flow of innovations from participants who specialize in innovation through many other participants to the final consumers of computer-based services. Technical innovations often flow across a large number of "markets" which are composed of only a few classes of participants such as "innovators" and "vendors" or of flusers" and "consumers."

This paper identifies the major orientations taken on by participants in the computing world and examines some of the markets across which innovations are negotiated. The computing world is organized so that each market is biased in favor of -innovations moving trom suppliers to their customers. From this viewpoint, "innovation" is, a dominant structural., interest in computing around which participants- organize their activities and to which they must continually adjusto

Acknowledgements:

This article is part of the URBIS Research Project: Evaluation of 1ntormation Technology in Local Government. This research is supported by a grant (APR 74-12158 AOI) from the Research Applied to National Needs Division of the National Science Foundation.

Howard. Becker, Phillip Crabtreeand Walter Scacchi provided helpful comments on this paper.

Pag e 1

Introduction: Computing as a Social Phenomenon

The growth and diffusion of computer-based technologies is one of the most impressive social phenomena to emerge in this country since World war II. These technologies are associated with an enormous new industry [1], a host of new occupations, academic disciplines, and associations, new social and economic relationships [2), and the reorganization of many practical, theoretical and intellectual problems. In addition, computer-based technologies have begun to permeate the organizations which use them. In the last few years, computing has to

University of California, Irvine Page 1 Dec 31, 1977

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THE SOCIAL DYNAMICS OF TECHNICAL INNOVATION IN THE COMPUTING WORLD

appeared in our daily lives in the form of automated airline reservation systems, automated tellers, and point of sale terminals.

Consider all,the people and organizations that help produce computer systems and computer- based services. we call these people and groups the "computing world" (Gerson and Kling, 1977) [3]. The computing world is a social world which is very diffuse, complex and dynamic. In a companion paper (Gerson and Kling, 1977), we have described tne patterns of segmentation and intersection in this world. In particular, we s...