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It's About Letting Go of Control: A Practice Lens Perspective on a Municipal Social Intranet
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics and Media.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Social intranets have over the last few years gained momentum in popularity and are rapidly being implemented in organizations around the world. Research is mainly limited to consist of analyses of use of particular technologies, and is mostly conducted in relation to private organizations. This thesis provides an analysis of the implementation and use of a social intranet in a public organization. In February 2012, Uppsala municipality (Sweden) implemented their new social intranet Insidan for all their employees. The idea is of enhancing the everyday working context and to increase the participation throughout the organization.

Wanda Orlikowski’s theory of the practice lens is applied to situate and understand the role of the intranet. The practice lens is relevant as it acknowledges human agency, context and the technological inscriptions to understand the role of technology in organizations. The findings are further elaborated in relation to Andrew McAfee’s Enterprise 2.0. Interviews with users, management and designers, as well as document analysis are used to extract data in a case study design.

The results show that Insidan contains central aspects of what constitutes a social intranet. The practice of Insidan enhances user aspects of communication, collaboration and cooperation. One technological feature, the cooperation room, is especially successful. It is a space wherein user share documents and talk openly in a semi-private environment. However, other tools, like blogs, are not adapted to any significant level. Perceived benefits for personal work is relevant to adoption. Findings on insecurity towards what is appropriate to contribute as content are seen to limit active user participation in conversations. Role models for activity are called for. Users are more confident to converse in closed groups. Thus, social connections and communication are given a new arena, but it often takes place in familiarized circles of people (e.g. project groups, office colleagues).

This thesis provides knowledge and insights into an exciting and growing field of research. It also provides important insights from an implementation in a public organization – a context not extensively investigated.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 92 p.
Keyword [en]
Orlikowski, McAfee, Practice lens, Enterprise 2.0, social intranet, Web 2.0, municipality, public organization
National Category
Media and Communications
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-176655OAI: diva2:536346
Subject / course
Media and Communication Studies
Educational program
Master Programme in Social Sciences
2012-06-28, H 325 - Ekonomikum, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10, Uppsala, 16:30 (English)
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2012-09-18 Created: 2012-06-21 Last updated: 2012-09-18Bibliographically approved

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