Main dependent construct(s)/factor(s)
Firm Performance, Organizational performance
Main independent construct(s)/factor(s)
Social and Material dimensions like IT skills, IT capability and IT infrastructure.
Concise description of theory
Sociomaterialism perspective argues that social and materiality aspects are entangled or interlinked in an organizational life. (Orlikowski, 2007) elucidated that social and materiality dimensions are inseparable and related. From this theoretical lens, it is considered as the technology and the humans are inextricable. The literature of sociomateriality is a part of Actor Network Theory (ANT), which was developed by sociologists Michel Callon and Bruno Latour. As per ANT, the social and technological elements interact with each other and are indistinct.
The conceptualization of Sociomaterialism in IS literature posits that the organizational (i.e., IT management), physical (i.e., IT infrastructure), and human or social (e.g., skills and knowledge) dimensions are interlinked and it is difficult to measure these dimensions separately. According to (Orlikowski & Scott, 2008), “sociomateriality is integral, inherent, and constitutive, shaping the contours and possibilities of everyday organizing”. In our everyday life, there are innumerous sociomaterial examples. For example, the web search engine is sociomaterial, as the coders (computer engineers developed it), and they update it regularly, which in turn used by millions of users every day on different computer systems, which was developed by some other engineers and production workers. Hence, all dimensions are entangled and exists together. Identification of an individual dimension in isolation can not be done. Therefore, sociomaterial perspective helps in understanding the interlinkages of these social, material, and technological dimensions in organizational life.
Diagram/schematic of theory
Wanda Orlikowski and Susan Scott
Orlikowski, W. J. (2007). Sociomaterial practices: Exploring technology at work. Organization Studies, 28(9), 1435–1448. https://doi.org/10.1177/0170840607081138
Orlikowski, W. J. (2009). The sociomateriality of organisational life: Considering technology in management research. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 34(1), 125–141. https://doi.org/10.1093/cje/bep058
Orlikowski, W. J., & Scott, S. V. (2008). 10 Sociomateriality: Challenging the Separation of Technology, Work and Organization. The Academy of Management Annals, 2(1), 433–474. https://doi.org/10.1080/19416520802211644
Level of analysis
Links from this theory to other theories
IS articles that use the theory
Akter, S., & Wamba, S. F. (2016). Big data analytics in E-commerce: a systematic review and agenda for future research. Electronic Markets, 26(2), 173–194. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12525-016-0219-0
Akter, S., Wamba, S. F., Gunasekaran, A., Dubey, R., & Childe, S. J. (2016). How to improve firm performance using big data analytics capability and business strategy alignment? International Journal of Production Economics, 182, 113–131. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpe.2016.08.018
Kim, G., Shin, B., & Kwon, O. (2012). Investigating the value of sociomaterialism in conceptualizing it capability of a firm. Journal of Management Information Systems, 29(3), 327–362. https://doi.org/10.2753/MIS0742-1222290310
Mohammed Nawazish, Doctoral Student at Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode, India.