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Abstract

Although institutional theory has become a more dominant perspective in information systems research, studies have only paid scant attention to how field dynamics and organizational processes coevolve during information technology institutionalization. Against this backdrop, we present a new conceptualization based on the "traveling of ideas" metaphor that distinguishes between theorization of ideas about IT usage across an organizational field and translation of such ideas into practical use of IT within particular organizations. Drawing on these distinct analytical views, we posit that IT institutionalization is constituted through recursive intertwining of theorization and translation involving both linguistic and material objects. To illustrate the detailed workings of this conceptualization, we apply it to a longitudinal study of mobile IT institutionalization within Danish home care. We demonstrate how heterogeneous actors within the Danish home care field theorized ideas about mobile IT usage and how these ideas translated into different local arrangements. Further, our account reveals a complex institutionalization process in which mobile IT was first seen as a fashionable recipe for improvement but subsequently became the subject of controversy. The paper adds to the emerging process and discourse literature on IT institutionalization by shedding new light on how IT ideas travel across a field and within individual organizations, how they transform and become legitimized over time, and how they take on different linguistic and material forms across organizational settings.

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