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Technological practice, firms, communities and networks

Research output: Working paper

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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to explore the notion of technology as a practice and a system of connections. The Hughesian tradition in the history of technology locates technological practice in transorganisational systems, involving a variety of different actors by a central figure or entrepreneur. The Chandlerian approach privileges the firm as site of development of idiosyncratic capabilities, appropriation and development of technologies. Alternative approaches regard technology as knowledge, associated with well-winnowed traditions of practice and clearly defined communities of practitioners, involving both individuals and organisations. Constant (1987) attempted to reconcile these different traditions, through a framework contemplating communities of practitioners as the locus of technological knowledge, firms as the locus of technological practice and technological systems as the broader context where technologies evolve. Whilst relying on Constant's insights, this paper argues that a more refined conception of technology as practice and knowledge as a system of connections needs to address junctions of user-producer interaction as the locus where technological is developed and shaped