The Right Kind of Feedback: Working through Standardized Tools
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionCulture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research. 2012, 699-720.
This article discusses the implications of working through globally integrated computer systems in transnational firms and addresses in particular employees’ possibility to give feedback on how these systems are working. The aim is to contribute to the literature on the standardization of IT with a focus on co-production by questioning the apparent neutrality of feedback processes. The literature focusing on co-production has shed light on the fact that standardized IT systems are not fixed, but rather flexible in the sense that they are continuously developed based on user feedback. However, based on my empirical case, I argue that employees identified the existence of a frame for acceptable criticism. Two different cases of business critical IT systems are presented; these cases share a common consensus among managers and employees that the systems required improvements. However, employees had experiences of providing business critical feedback on functionality that had not been acted upon. Consequently, when evaluating their possibility to provide feedback, this was not just interpreted in the sense of functionality of the system, but also the perceived prestige of the stakeholders of the systems, which in turn had implications for both the relationship between the central organization and employees and the functionality of the systems.