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Emerging standardization

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This paper discusses the dynamics associated with the implementation and deployment of an information infrastructure designed to standardize work practices. The analysis is based on a case study conducted in a pharmaceutical R&D organization. The infrastructure in use, comprising a computerized system and surrounding organizational procedures, seems to support work practices not always as originally planned. The paper discusses the role played by local characteristics, contingencies, and practices in shaping a standardization protocol implemented to standardize work practices. Building on actor-network theory, the paper concludes that the standardization of work practices is the result of the dynamic interplay between technology and its users, rather than the consequence of a planned and well-defined design project.

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