Recent scholarship on the appropriation of advanced information technology in professional settings has utilized adaptive structuration theory (AST) to move beyond voluntaristic and deterministic perspectives on workplace interaction. Our study seeks to advance the paradigm of adaptive structuration in both theoretical and empirical terms. First, we make a case for a reconceptualization of the duality of structure in AST by integrating insights from William Sewell’ s (1992) perspective on this important facet of structuration. Sewell suggests that structures are composed of both schemata (transposable recipes for social action) and resources (animate or inanimate objects actors use to exercise power). Second, we reveal how this reconceptualization of the duality of structure can open up new avenues for research on the appropriation of group decision support systems (GDSS) among work teams. To this end, we analyze interaction fragments—i.e., conversational and gestural exchanges—observed in a sample (N = 10) of over 60 video recorded sessions of GDSS appropriation in quasi-experimental workgroups. In five of the workgroups, the technology was introduced by a facilitator (restrictive treatment); the other five groups were introduced to the GDSS by a chauffeur (non-restrictive treatment). Preliminary results, which we will continue to pursue with an analysis of the full slate of 60 video recordings, reveal how participants transpose culturally meaningful interaction strategies—schemata—to consolidate animate and inanimate resources in the GDSS environment. We term this process “ascendant leadership” and provide rich descriptions of the ways in which such power is exercised and contested across these two different treatment contexts.
Miller, David; Salisbury, David; and Bartkowski, John, "A Qualitative Analysis of Structural Emergence and Ascendant Leadership in Technological Appropriation" (2000). ICIS 2000 Proceedings. 62.