Implicit Orders: Documentary Genres and Organizational Practice
AbstractThe paper explores the proposition that documentary genres implicitly order organizational activity; analysis oftheir role as tacit sorting devices can improve understanding of documentation and organizational practice. The author reviews recent work on communities of practice in organisations and discusses historical work on documentary genres and their role in capturing local or tacit knowledge. More recent work on documentary genres in the digital workplace is then addressed, and the place of the politics of classification in the construction of genres is discussed. The author analyzes case studies of new technology and changes in practice in a number of contexts, including current work on documentary genres in a small entreprise in the Scottish food and beverage sector. In this company, evolving documentary genres have allowed a recently automated sales team to adapt to a new order imposed by changes in external circumstanceS and the procurement of new technology. The paper concludes with a review of recent work on visualisation of social interactions, and its possible role in the rapid provision of templates for documentary genres in different domains. The author speculates that representations (by visualization or other means) of documentary genres in organizational settings may serve as 'thumbprints' of groups at work that may provide rapid insight into the nature of work in a given domain. Such insight may be important in distributed cognition, where ad hoc project teams work online and at a distance from each other in the 'temporary organizations' that characterize work in many domains.
LicenseAuthors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).