Paper by Luuk Verstegen & Isabelle Reymen accepted in Research Policy
Digital technology usage in dynamic and complex work practices is a core phenomenon in innovation research. There are, however, few detailed analyses of how people organize the use of digital tools in their work practices. We aim to offer more insight into how individual actors use digital technology, how these actors organize its use in collectives, and how they organize their work with that of other actors in order to realize collective-level goals. We implemented a qualitative research design, based on interviews in architectural firms complemented with observations and archival data. By analyzing interactions of multiple individual actors with digital technology, we found that actors organize usage in collectives through activities that we call configuring-in-use and reflecting; and they combine these two organizational activities in order to realize collective-level goals. We identify the combination of these organizational activities as configurational usage. We contribute to literature on the usage of pervasive digital technology by providing a detailed empirical investigation of organized usage of digital technology. Furthermore, we refine the conceptualization of configurational usage, improving understanding of core processes of digital innovation.