Domesticating homecare services : vehicle route solver displaced
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionNordic Journal of Science and Technology Studies. 2016, 4 (2), 41-53. 10.5324/njsts.v4i2.2184
This article presents a case study of a vehicle route problem solver in the context of homecare work. Vehicle route problem solvers are technologies that calculate geographically rational driving routes. Primarily framed as tools for financial control, they have been tested in homecare services with good results under controlled circumstances. However, they have not been studied as part of users’ everyday work after implementation. The case study shows how, through processes of domestication, the vehicle route problem solver becomes unable to provide homecare workers with ‘optimal’ driving routes. Additionally, it shows how this ‘malfunction’ renders it understood as inconsequential to the very activities it was designed to support which ultimately leads to its removal from driving route production processes. The results highlight the importance of carefully studying how vehicle route problem solvers and other technologies interact with the everyday lives of those who are meant to benefit from them.