My talk is the only one on the program with an English title: "Analyzing Computer-Mediated Communication in Professional Environments: An Activity Theory Approach." I'll be discussing a recent case study of work, focusing on three analytical constructs that I've used to understand how CMC genres help to mediate it: genre ecologies, activity systems, and activity networks.
This opportunity was intriguing to me for many reasons, but especially because it gave me a chance to rethink some of my past work. My first field study, at Schlumberger Well Services, started with the expectation that I would be focusing on shared electronic texts (in this case, source code). But I quickly realized that I couldn't understand how the software developers were interpreting and producing these shared texts unless I looked at how they put the code into relationship with a variety of other texts, many of which were offline. That realization led me to adopt and develop the genre ecologies framework—and I became addicted to field studies.
Since that study, I have examined other sorts of work via field methods (dates are when the research was conducted, not published):
- Software developers at Schlumberger (1997)
- Traffic safety workers (1998-1999)
- Telecommunications workers (2000-2001)
- Proposal writers (2005)
- Office workers (2006)
- Search engine optimization specialists (2008)
- Coworking (2009-2011)
- Nonemployer firms (2009-2011)