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Dissertation Katja Schönian, M.A., Wien

Global portals, local practices – intranet software as a management tool within knowledge societies

My dissertation investigates how work practices transpire through digital technologies using the example of intranet software. It does so by examining how the intranet is part of distinct settings of a company working in the telecommunication industry. Moreover, expectations and understandings of software developers, intranet managers and people working in internal communication departments are similarly explored so as to illuminate the global diffusion of this software.

Relying on theories of practice, I analyse the intranet as accomplished within and through practices. This perspective tries to undergo the subject-object distinction by focussing on the mutually constitutive powers of practices and participating artefacts. In particular, recent developments conceptualising the distribution of practices across time and space serve to illuminate the intranet as a likewise global and local phenomenon, occurring on different scales and as part of distinct locales. Thereby, I ask to what extent this software increases the standardisation of work practices and related ideas about contemporary office life.

The study is embedded in the discourse on contemporary work practices and everyday office life distinctive to so-called ‘knowledge societies’. It serves as a critical and empirical insight into how knowledge generation coupled with a specific technology enable current work processes.


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