Juliane Jarke, Irina Zakharova & Andreas Breiter: Organisational Data Work and Its Horizons of Sense: On the Importance of Considering the Temporalities and Topologies of Data Movement When Researching Digital Transformation(s). [Abstract]

doi: 10.12759/hsr.47.2022.29
pp. 142-170

Reconstructing topological and temporal accounts of data movement is an approach to researching digital transformation(s) that challenges distal assumptions of organisations as fixed structures through which data flow like immutable mobiles. Based on a case study in education, we present and reflect on the challenges of reconstructing and visualising data movement. In particular, we attend to how the often-conflicting views of organisational members about how data “actually” move pose a challenge to reconstruct a “full picture.” We propose the notion of horizon of sense to grasp the situated data practices of organisational actors and reconstruct their horizons of sense through two perspectives: First, data movement connects different social actors, documents, information systems, or databases in different forms. This perspective considers the topologies of data movement and foregrounds the relationality of data movement at a given point in time. Second, the movement of data is made possible through different interconnected activities that unfold over time. This dimension relates to the temporalities of data movement and foregrounds processes and activities that connect data work in its temporal flow. We demonstrate why it is important to consider both perspectives when researching digital transformation(s).

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