Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory [1st ed.] 9789811570650, 9789811570667

This book provides empirically driven discussions and investigations in the relevance of Actor Network Theory (ANT) and

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Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory [1st ed.]
 9789811570650, 9789811570667

Table of contents :
Front Matter ....Pages i-xxix
Contemporary Application of Ant: An Introduction (Idongesit Williams)....Pages 1-13
Communicative Approaches to Risk Management in Complex Systems Through the Prism of Actor-Network Theory (Magdalena Bielenia-Grajewska)....Pages 15-32
The Act-Shifts Between Humans and Nonhumans in Architecture: A Reading of Bruno Latour’s Actor-Network Theory (Demet Dincer)....Pages 33-50
The Robots Are Here (Idongesit Williams)....Pages 51-75
Developing a Framework for Understanding How Media Entrepreneurs Act: An Actor-Network Perspective (Aidin Salamzadeh, Taher Roshandel Arbatani)....Pages 77-98
Institutional E-Learning Implementation: An Actor-Network Theory (ANT) Perspective (Benjamin Kwofie, Emmanuel Dortey Tetteh, Cephas Paa Kwasi Coffie)....Pages 99-119
Iranian Data Protection Policy in Social Media; An Actor-Network Theory Approach (Somayeh Labafi)....Pages 121-139
Different Approaches of Leadership in Multicultural Teams Through the Perspective of Actor-Network Theory (Małgorzata Bielenia)....Pages 141-153
ANT and Mobile Network Service Adoption in Banking Industry (Seyed Mozaffar Mirbargkar, Pejman Ebrahimi, Maryam Soleimani)....Pages 155-172
Application of Actor-Network Theory to Control Occupational Violence in Healthcare Facilities (Quazi Omar Faruq)....Pages 173-195
Actor-Network Theory and Networked Organizations, Proposing a Conceptual Framework (Mohammad Ali Sarlak, Yashar Salamzadeh, Fatemeh Sharafi Farzad)....Pages 197-210
How Actors of Social Networks Affect Differently on the Others? Addressing the Critique of Equal Importance on Actor-Network Theory by Use of Social Network Analysis (Shaghayegh Kolli, Datis Khajeheian)....Pages 211-230
Analyzing Network of Media Organization, Audiences, and ICTs Based on Actor Network Theory: The Case of IRIB (Siavash Salavatian, Mohammad Hesampour, Tohid Soltani)....Pages 231-255
The Interaction Between Human and Media in the Future of Banking Industry (Parisa Bouzari, Abbas Gholampour, Pejman Ebrahimi)....Pages 257-274
Correction to: Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory (Idongesit Williams)....Pages C1-C1
Back Matter ....Pages 275-283

Citation preview

Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory Edited by Idongesit Williams

Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory

Idongesit Williams Editor

Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory

Editor Idongesit Williams CMI‚ Department of Electronic Systems Aalborg University Copenhagen, Denmark

ISBN 978-981-15-7065-0 ISBN 978-981-15-7066-7


© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020, corrected publication 2020 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. This Palgrave Macmillan imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. The registered company address is: 152 Beach Road, #21-01/04 Gateway East, Singapore 189721, Singapore

To Uncles Mfon, Ndaeyo, Young and U


When we look at the globalized world, one cannot help but notice the power of ideas, concepts and various artifacts that serve as the basis of the transformation into the globalized world we see. One cannot help but realize that human effort alone did not produce the world we see today. Rather it is a result of the combined effort of the collaborative and cooperative activities of material and semiotics; and of human and nonhuman actants. The world we see today is a much bigger and complexly inscribed Actor Network which consists of many unstable and constantly evolving Actor Networks. Some of the Actor Networks enjoy relative peace, others are chaotic, others are for some reason in a state a flux, while others are just short-lived Actor Networks. These effects are enabled by the continuity in the synergic activities of human and nonhuman actants that results in different societal transformations. An example of such transformation being globalization. Although Actor-Network Theory is a widely used theory, there is very little research about the aforementioned transformations and what they mean for ANT and our civilization. As our world evolves, we will continue to face transformations. Such transformations could be sectoral,




cross-sectoral, societal, economic and cultural. Therefore the question in our minds, which is also the question this book aims at addressing is, how can these transformations or changes within society be explained with ANT? Unfortunately, it is impossible to cover every issue related to ANT as it related to different sectors within different societies. However in this book, the sectors covered include architecture, health, media entrepreneurship, data protection policy, adoption of mobile network service in the banking industry, robotics, risk management in complex systems and e-learning. ANT is used to explain translations in these areas as a way of shedding some light into the past, ongoing and future transformations in these sectors. Contributors to this book are researchers from Europe, Australia, Middle East, Asia. These researchers hail from different academic backgrounds and disciplines. The represented disciplines include, translation studies, architecture, media management, business administration, economics and accounting, human resources management, organizational behavioral management and Internet policy and regulation. These researchers have studied the ANT and utilized the theory in conducting research in their respective disciplines. In this book they have used ANT to provide expert insights and feedback from their fields on ANT. Hence, in this book, the reader will find contemporary issues related to ANT presented from the eyes of other disciplines other than sociology and techno-anthropology. This book will be relevant to researchers, academics, industry experts, policymakers also to the public. Sincere gratitude is expressed to the various authors whose valuable contribution has made this book possible. Dr. Idongesit Williams Aalborg University Copenhagen, Denmark


The editor wants to specially thank the contributors to this book; Dr. Magdalena Bielenia-Grajewska, Dr. Quazi Omar Faruq, Dr. Aidin Salamzadeh, Dr. Małgorzata Bielenia, Dr. Datis Khajeheian, Dr. Demet Dincer, Dr. Maryam Soleimani, Dr. Seyed Mozaffar Mirbargkar, Dr. Somayeh Labafi, Dr. Yashar Salamzadeh, Fatemeh Sharafi Farzad, Pejman Ebrahimi, Prof. Mohammad Ali Sarlak, Prof. Taher Roshandel Arbatani, Shaghayegh Kolli, Dr. Benjamin Kwofie, Emmanuel Dortey Tetteh, Cephas Paa Kwasi Coffie, Dr. Siavash Salavatian, Mohammad Hesampour, Tohid Soltani, Parisa Bouzari, and Abbas Gholampour. Thank you so much for your time and effort. It has been a great privilege to work with you on the dissemination of knowledge in this area of research. Special thanks to Louis Agbesi for his immense assistance in the preparation of the manuscript. The editor is also grateful to Joshua Pitt, Sofi Li, and Balaji Varadharaju from Palgrave Macmillan (A part of SpringerNature) for their assistance in guidance, and supervision in the course of this project. Thank you all for making this book a reality.





Contemporary Application of Ant: An Introduction Idongesit Williams Introduction The Relevance of Ant Today Introduction to the Book Conclusion References Communicative Approaches to Risk Management in Complex Systems Through the Prism of Actor-Network Theory Magdalena Bielenia-Grajewska Introduction XXI Century—The Century of Technology, Mobility, and Risk Complex Systems Actor-Network Theory

1 1 3 8 11 11

15 15 16 18 22




Complex Systems—Communicative Perspectives in Risky Situations Risk Management in Complex Systems—Ant in Communicative Perspectives Case Study—Apiculture and Risk Management Summary References 3



The Act-Shifts Between Humans and Nonhumans in Architecture: A Reading of Bruno Latour’s Actor-Network Theory Demet Dincer Introduction Nonhumans as Actors Act-Shifts in Architecture Conclusion References The Robots Are Here Idongesit Williams Introduction Four Moments of Translation The Evolving Power Relationship Between Humans and Technology Implications of the Evolving Power Relationship to 4 Moments of Translation Conclusion References Developing a Framework for Understanding How Media Entrepreneurs Act: An Actor-Network Perspective Aidin Salamzadeh and Taher Roshandel Arbatani Introduction Media Entrepreneurs: The Global Change Agents

23 24 26 28 28

33 33 34 36 46 48 51 51 54 57 66 70 71

77 77 78


Actor-Network Theory and Entrepreneurship Actor-Network Theory and Media Entrepreneurs Conclusion References 6



Institutional E-Learning Implementation: An Actor-Network Theory (ANT) Perspective Benjamin Kwofie, Emmanuel Dortey Tetteh, and Cephas Paa Kwasi Coffie Introduction E-Learning Implementation in Higher Education Settings The Actor-Network Theory (ANT) Research Methodology ANT Analysis of Institutional LMS Implementation Discussion Conclusion References Iranian Data Protection Policy in Social Media; An Actor-Network Theory Approach Somayeh Labafi Introduction Literature Review Methods Findings Stakeholder Analysis Conclusion References Different Approaches of Leadership in Multicultural Teams Through the Perspective of Actor-Network Theory Małgorzata Bielenia Introduction


82 85 88 89 99

99 101 103 106 110 114 117 118 121 121 122 125 126 129 136 137

141 141



The Influence of Technological Changes and Globalization on Leadership Leadership Through the Prism of Actor-Network Theory Organization from the Perspective of Social System Analysis Actor-Network Theory, System Theory, and Cybernetics Complement the Concept of Leadership The Perspective of Sociological Theories in Communication Between the Leader and the Follower Leadership in Changing Conditions Through the Prism of ANT References 9


ANT and Mobile Network Service Adoption in Banking Industry Seyed Mozaffar Mirbargkar, Pejman Ebrahimi, and Maryam Soleimani Introduction Actor Network Theory and Its Socio-Ecological View Theories Related to Mobile Banking Acceptance Conclusion References Application of Actor-Network Theory to Control Occupational Violence in Healthcare Facilities Quazi Omar Faruq Introduction Interaction of Stakeholders in Healthcare System Use of Technology and Its Adoption in Healthcare Violence in Healthcare Actor-Network-Theory (Ant) in Explaining Interaction Conclusion References

142 143 144 145 148 149 152 155

155 157 164 166 169 173 173 174 176 177 183 189 189





Actor-Network Theory and Networked Organizations, Proposing a Conceptual Framework Mohammad Ali Sarlak, Yashar Salamzadeh, and Fatemeh Sharafi Farzad Introduction Networked Organizations Proposed Model for Networked Organization Networked Organization and Actor-Network Theory Conclusion and Future Research Orientations References How Actors of Social Networks Affect Differently on the Others? Addressing the Critique of Equal Importance on Actor-Network Theory by Use of Social Network Analysis Shaghayegh Kolli and Datis Khajeheian Introduction Literature Review Research Method Results Conclusion References Analyzing Network of Media Organization, Audiences, and ICTs Based on Actor Network Theory: The Case of IRIB Siavash Salavatian, Mohammad Hesampour, and Tohid Soltani Introduction Actor Network Theory (ANT) The Evolution of the Television and Audiences Trends in ICT Methodology Findings Conclusion References



197 199 201 203 204 207

211 211 212 216 219 224 226


231 233 235 239 243 245 246 248



14 The Interaction Between Human and Media in the Future of Banking Industry Parisa Bouzari, Abbas Gholampour, and Pejman Ebrahimi Introduction Customer-Bank Interaction Banking and Social Media Using Mobile Banking in Banking Interactive Banking; A Combination of Artificial Intelligence Technology and Banking Services Customer Interaction and Its Emotional Feedback Customer Interaction and Establishing Trust The Future of Media in Banking Conclusion References Correction to: Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory Idongesit Williams Index

257 257 259 261 262 263 264 266 267 268 269 C1 275

Notes on Contributors

Prof. Taher Roshandel Arbatani Full-Professor of media management at the University of Tehran. At the time of writing this article, he acts as the Vice-President of Farhangian University. His main areas of interest are media management, media policy, qualitative research methods. Professor Roshandel Arbatani has published several books and many articles in English and Persian. Dr. Małgorzata Bielenia is a graduate from the Gdansk University of Technology. She completed studies in the field of Environmental Protection and Management at the Gdansk University of Technology. Moreover, she is also an M.A. in Economics since she finished the second studies at the Faculty of Management and Economics of Gdansk University of Technology in the field of Management, majoring in Small Business Economics and Management. What is more, she is also an M.A. in Law. In her diploma thesis in this field she discussed the problem of abuse of a dominant position by an entrepreneur. Being a Ph.D. student she received a grant from the National Science Center. She finished doctoral



Notes on Contributors

studies at the Faculty of Management and Economics of Gdansk University of Technology where she received a Ph.D. in economics. Currently she works at the University of Gdansk, Division of Maritime Economy Department of Maritime Transport and Seaborn Trade. Her scientific interests include maritime industry, entrepreneurship, leadership, innovation, globalization, transformation, economic crisis, social and cultural issues in organizations. Her up to now publications concern all abovementioned issues. What is more, she participated in many scientific conferences where she discussed her research findings and presented her paper. Dr. Magdalena Bielenia-Grajewska, Ph.D. habil, is a University Professor, the Head of the Department of Translation Studies. She also leads the Intercultural Communication and Neurolinguistics Laboratory at the Faculty of Languages, University of Gdansk. She is a linguist (M.A. in English Studies, Ph.D., and Venia Legendi in Humanities, University of Gdansk), an economist (M.A. in Economics, Gdansk University of Technology), a specialist in managing scientific projects (postgraduate studies, Gdansk University of Technology) and a specialist in the mechanisms of the Eurozone (postgraduate studies, University of Gdansk). Her scientific interests include organizational discourse, neuromanagement, online social networks, intercultural communication, sociolinguistics, ANT, and symbolism in management studies. She is an author of over 150 publications on, among others, corporate identity, business communication, and the discursive dimension of organizations. Parisa Bouzari is a researcher and an expert in finance and accounting systems. She has authored papers on financial performance of firms and small and medium-sized enterprises. She is also educated in industrial engineering. Cephas Paa Kwasi Coffie is a lecturer at the All Nations School of Business, All Nations University College Koforidua-Ghana since 2013. He tutors business information system, accounting information system, financial management, and strategic management. He is currently a

Notes on Contributors


Ph.D. candidate at the School of Management and Economics, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China. He majors in Financial Technology. His research interest focuses on Blockchain, FinTech, Business Information System, and Small Business Finance. He has published articles in high ranked peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Demet Dincer is a lecturer at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Built Environment, Australia. Her research interests are architectural theories, multisensory design, visual representation and much of her work has been improving a transdisciplinary approach. Demet received her B.Sc. in Architecture from Yildiz Technical University (2007) as the highest-ranking honor student and M.Sc. in Architectural Design from Istanbul Technical University (2010). She was enrolled in the Urban Design Program in TU Delft for her M.Sc. studies (2009). Demet went to Columbia University as a Fulbright Visiting Researcher for her doctoral dissertation (2013–2014) and received her Ph.D. from Istanbul Technical University (2016). She has worked as a postdoctoral researcher at IKEA x UTS Future Living Lab at the University of Technology Sydney (2018–2019) and as an academic at Istanbul Kultur University for over ten years, affiliated with architecture and design studies. Pejman Ebrahimi is a researcher and member of Iran’s Elite. Moreover he is an educator and an expert in statistical analysis (proficient in Structural Equation Modelling (SEM), statistical analysis (using tools such as Amos Graphic/Lisrel/SPSS/SmartPLS 3/Econometrics with Eviews and STATA/EQS/SAS/R/R Studio/Nvivo/Minitab/Meta analysis with CMA 2 and STATA/DEA with MATLAB/DEMATEL with MATLAB/ANN with MATLAB/IBM SPSS Modeler/Future study with Cross Impact Analysis and MICMAC software/ANN with super decision/AHP with expert choice, Social Network Analysis with Pajek and Gephi) and econometrics as his main areas of interest. He earned a Master of Business Administration from Islamic Azad University of Rasht, Iran. He is author of papers published by Springer, Emerald, Elsevier, and Taylor & Francis publishers on Social media, green entrepreneurship, green innovation, SMEs performance, Social Media, leadership styles, and organizational performance. He has authored numerous marketing papers


Notes on Contributors

using quantitative and qualitative analyzes approach, presented at international conferences and journals. He is also a referee of some international journals in management and econometrics and the author of these books: relationship marketing, loyalty of sports fans, entrepreneurship and factors affecting it, risk management and insurance, the bases of management in the organization, the bases of modern banking, Guilds and resistive economy and statistical analysis with PLS-R. Dr. Quazi Omar Faruq earned a Doctorate in Business Administration (Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia), Master’s in health management (University of Auckland, New Zealand), M.Phil. in Preventive Medicine (Dhaka University, Bangladesh), M.B.B.S. (Dhaka Medical College, Bangladesh). I am working in health sector since 1981. My current interest is in risk management in health sector with particular focus in “training to minimise risk”. From 2017 to 2019 I worked in National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), Australia, as coordinator and planner. I worked in different teaching positions in community health and disability sector. In 2004 I worked as Epidemiologist at National HIV and AIDS control project, at Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa. 1990–1995 I worked as Assistant Prof. Epidemiology, at Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease Control Project, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Fatemeh Sharafi Farzad is a Ph.D. candidate doing her research on social innovation and game theory. She has published about ten research articles in national and international conferences and journals. Having an M.B.A. in strategic management, she has worked as a management expert for about five years. She is now working as a graduate assistant in the Graduate School of Business at Universiti Sains Malaysia. Her fields of interest include strategic management, CSR, social innovation, game theory, system dynamics, network analysis, and social enterprises. Abbas Gholampour has a Master of Business Administration from Islamic azad university of Rasht, Iran. He works as a researcher and expert in banking industry. He has published papers on organizational management and innovation. His research interests include topics related

Notes on Contributors


to organization specially bank organization. Author of books on organizational innovation, entrepreneurship, and the bases of modern banking. Mohammad Hesampour is a Ph.D. candidate researching into Communication Science at the Allameh Tabataba’i University (ATU). His thesis is about digitization on Iranian TV. He did his B.A. and M.A. at the Cinema & Research in Art. He later joined the management board of IRIB University as a full-time staff since 2019. He has also been working as an executive manager in Iranian TV channels for two decades and producing some documentaries for IRIB TV channels. Dr. Datis Khajeheian is a faculty member of the University of Tehran in the field of media management and a visiting lecturer in the Center for Communication, Media and Information Technologies at the Aalborg University of Denmark. He holds a Ph.D. in Media Management and an M.A. in Entrepreneurship with a specialization in New Venture Creation. Datis’ main area of interest is media entrepreneurship. He is the head of the special interest group of “Emerging Media Markets” in the European Media Management Association and the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Nordic Journal of Media Management. Shaghayegh Kolli was awarded an M.A. in Media Management from the Allameh Tabataba’i University, and earned her Bachelor in Multimedia from the Tabriz Islamic Art University. Her areas of interest include social network analysis (SNA), big data, eye tracking, and media behavioral science. She is working in the Iran Computer and Video Games Foundation. Dr. Benjamin Kwofie is a lecturer at the Computer Science Department of Koforidua Technical University. He specializes in educational technologies, information systems, and information technology entrepreneurship. Dr. Somayeh Labafi is an Assistant Professor of media management at Iranian Research Institute for Information Science and Technology(IranDoc). She was awarded a Ph.D. in Media Management and an M.A. in media management with a specialization in media policy from the University of Tehran. She has focused on media policy as her


Notes on Contributors

main area of interest. She is interested in social media analysis toward developing policy models. She has been an author of numerous articles in English and Persian and has served in editorial roles in several academic journals. Dr. Seyed Mozaffar Mirbargkar graduated with a Ph.D. in economics from the Mysore University of India. He is the university Vice Chancellor for research & technology at Islamic Azad. He also teaches as an Assistant Professor of economics at the department of management of Islamic Azad University of Rasht. His special studies and interests are on econometrics and SMEs. He has translated two books with the name of “Crowdfunding for SMEs which, is edited by Roberto Bottiglia & Flavio Pichler, and Venture capital that is edited by Brad Feld & Jason Mendelson.” Dr. Aidin Salamzadeh is an Assistant Professor of media management at the University of Tehran. He has several publications in international journals. His main areas of interest are media entrepreneurship, media management, start-ups, and new venture creation. He is the editor-inchief of the Journal of Entrepreneurship, Business, and Economics, and serves as a member of the editorial board and reviewer in a series of distinguished international journals. He is also a member of the European SPES Forum and the Asian Academy of Management. Dr. Yashar Salamzadeh is a Ph.D. scholar in Human Resources Management and is a Senior Lecturer at the Graduate School of Business at the Universiti Sains Malaysia. He had published more than 100 research articles in international and national journals and conferences. He has ten years teaching experience in M.B.A. and Master of management courses at four different universities. He had worked as a project manager in more than ten national research projects. He has five years experience in management consultancy with different organizations. He also has cooperated in more than ten international journals as an editorial board member and review board member. His fields of interest include entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurial Universities, Leadership and digital leadership, business models, strategic management, green business and CSR, HRM (HCM) and networked organizations.

Notes on Contributors


Dr. Siavash Salavatian earned his Ph.D. in media management and is an Assistant Professor of media management in IRIB University in Iran. His field of interest is management in public media organizations and new technologies and its effects on media management. He has several publications in the field of communication and media management that published in national and international journals. Prof. Mohammad Ali Sarlak is a Full-Professor in organizational behavior management. He has the experience of being dean of Payame Noor University’s higher education center for long years. He has published more than 200 research articles in national and international journals and in international academic world is known as a theorist and is well-known because his book series on The New Faces of Organizations in the 21st Century which is the textbook in many universities around the world. He is the editor-in-chief of three scientific journals in Iran and Canada. He is also a top executive member of organizational behavior scientific association in Iran, which is an “A” ranked scientific association in his country. His main field of interest includes organizational behavior, theory building, new organizational faces, E-business, E-Government. Dr. Maryam Soleimani is currently Assistant Professor of Management, Economics and Accounting, Payame Noor University of Tehran, Iran. She has a Ph.D. in Strategic Management. Her researches mainly focus on Entrepreneurship, marketing, and Social Media. She is an expert in quantitative analysis with various software (Amos Graphic/SPSS/SmartPLS 3/Meta-analysis with CMA 2/PLS-R). She has had published papers in international journals in management. Tohid Soltani graduated from IRIB University with an M.A. in media management and from the Tabriz Islamic Arts University with a B.A. in multimedia. Tohid’s research interests are on technology management in media firms. Emmanuel Dortey Tetteh is a lecturer at the Computer Science Department, Koforidua Technical University Koforidua-Ghana since 2016. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the School of Information and Software Engineering, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China. He majors in Software Engineering. His research


Notes on Contributors

interest focuses on Computer-Mediated communications, Information Systems, and computer networks. He has published articles in high ranked peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Idongesit Williams is a lecturer and a Postdoctoral researcher with the Center for Communication, Media and Information Technologies (CMI) located at Aalborg University Copenhagen. He holds a Bachelor in Physics, a Master degree in Information and Communications Technologies, and a Ph.D. He has since 2010 researched into socioeconomic, sociotechnical issues related to Information and Communications Technologies. His research areas include the facilitation of telecom and ICT infrastructure using Public–Private Partnerships, the development and the sustenance of Community-Based Networks, e-government implementation, Science and Technology Studies, gender adoption of ICTs, Organizational adoption of ICTs, User experience with ICTs and Organizational Learning. He has authored more than 26 research publications, including journal papers, books, book chapters, conference papers, and magazine articles. He is the co-editor of the Book, The African Mobile Story.



Fifth-generation mobile Artificial Intelligence Actor-Network Theory Augmented Reality Cultural Commission of Islamic Parliament of Iran Cyber Police Commission for the Promotion of the Cyberspace Content Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) of The I.R. of Iran Commission for the Regulation of Cyberspace Cybersecurity Commission Commission Sets Out Instances of Criminal Content General Practitioners Hybrid Broadcasting Broadband Television Higher Education Institutions Information and Communication Technology Islamic Development Organization in Iran Islamic Parliament of Iran Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Internet Service Provider Information Technology





Information Technology Organization Learning Management System Management of Aggression and Violence Attitude Scale Ministry of Information Ministry of ICT Mobile Interaction Television (MITV) Obligatory Passage Point Organization for the Regulation Broadcasting in Cyberspace Occupational Violence Occupational Violence and Aggression Research and Development Return on Investment Supreme Council of Cyberspace Social Media Data Protection Policy Network Social Media Industry Short Messaging Service Social Network Analysis Science and Technology Studies Technology Acceptance Model Theory of Planned Behavior User-Generated Content Ultra High Definition Television Virtual Learning Environments Virtual Reality Wireless Application Protocol World Health Organization Wireless Fidelity

List of Figures

Fig. 3.1

Fig. 3.2 Fig. 3.3 Fig. 3.4 Fig. 3.5

Fig. 3.6

Fig. 9.1 Fig. 9.2 Fig. 9.3

Nature as the principal actor in Cappadocia, guiding its architecture throughout the history (Illustration by the author) Argos in Cappadocia (Photograph by the author) Night-view from the hotel (Photograph by the author) Argos in Cappadocia Hotel settlement in Uchisar (Photograph by Argos Yapi, n.d.) First stage of the construction, photographs before and after the renovation process of Bezirhane (‘Argos Yapi’, n.d.) 1. Representation of the plots located at the same road (grey circles) 2. Investor’s choice to protect the village life, locating the hotel (orange squares) in-between the village 3. Hotel’s effect on its surrounding 4. Transformation taken place (overlapped coloured unexpected new shapes) (Illustration by the author) ANT key concepts and translation moments (Source Rhodes 2009) Socio-ecological model of ANT (Source Shin 2016) Conceptual model (Source Authors suggestion)

37 39 39 42


47 161 163 167



Fig. 11.1 Fig. 12.1 Fig. 12.2 Fig. 12.3 Fig. 12.4 Fig. 12.5 Fig. 13.1

List of Figures

A conceptual model of networked organizations (by authors) Research process Graph network Framework of research Fragmentation of influencers Position of influencers in the graph Feasibility—attractiveness of technologies

202 218 219 222 223 224 245

List of Tables

Table 5.1 Table 5.2 Table 6.1 Table 6.2 Table 7.1 Table 7.2 Table 9.1 Table 9.2 Table 10.1 Table 10.2 Table 12.1 Table 12.2 Table 13.1 Table 13.2 Table 13.3

Differences between discovery and creative views of entrepreneurship and ANT Mapping discovery and creative views of entrepreneurship and ANT Key Concepts of the Actor-network theory (ANT) Description of data General Iranian laws and regulations on user data protection Data protection policy actors The main concepts of ANT Common theories in acceptance of mobile banking Classification of workplace violence The actors of conflict in a healthcare facility could be grouped under following types Graph metrics Influencers list A matrix: actors, actants, and audiences in media innovation activities (Westlund and Lewis 2014) Weighting criteria for expert opinions Prioritized technologies

83 84 107 110 129 130 162 165 179 188 220 223 244 244 247


1 Contemporary Application of Ant: An Introduction Idongesit Williams

Introduction ANT is a theory that explains social translations. In principle ANT, though proposed almost 40 years ago, was ahead of its time. It was and still do enable meticulous and sometimes verbose descriptive analysis of the translation that results in material. Furthermore it explains why previous and, in recent times, current socio-technical systems exist. It was and still, by no means, a perfect theory. However, it does account for explaining the role of ‘the social’ in the creation of technical artifacts (Hanseth and Monteiro 1998). The descriptive nature of the thoery allows social theorists to leave no stone unturned and even to unturn back then stones that should have been left unturned in the description of tranlations. That is understandable because ANT is antiepistemological. However, ANT was and is still is a lens in which one I. Williams (B) CMI, Department of Electronic Systems, Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2020 I. Williams (ed.), Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory,



I. Williams

could use to interpret our world. This made the theory to gain traction in the 1990s, when researchers who were not Science and Technology Studies scholars realized the usefulness of the theory for the description of translation in their discipline. As a result ANT has been used to analyze systems in the natural sciences (see examples Newton 2002; Balzacq and Cavelty 2016), social sciences (see examples Fine 2006; Callon 1999), humanities (see examples Luo 2020; Piper-Wright 2020), and the medical sciences (see examples Altabaibeh et al. 2020; Cresswell et al. 2010). It is true that due to the unorthodox nature of ANT, researchers sometimes take due liberties in extending their perception and representation of the core principles of the theory in their analytical endeavours. However, if one views the thoery from either a non-sociological or socio-anthropological point of view, that was not necessarily a bad thing. That is because those researchers realize that, within their field of expertise, the ANT made sense in the way and manner presented by them. Nevertheless, despite such deviations such researchers do not take liberties with the core concepts of the theory. The core concepts of the theory abide, whiles their applicability varies. Nevertheless, the eclectisism of the theory has led to its sustenance over the years. What also makes ANT dynamic is its applicability in explorations, diagnostics, investigations, and for interrogations. These properties have enabled researchers to utilize the theory in the study of innovations (see examples Akrich et al. 2002; Harty 2008), system examples (see Tatnall 2005; Callon 1987) and society (see examples Latour 2011). Almost 40 years after its conceptualization, our contemporary world has provided an environment for the theory to be probed and further utilized. It is time to test the theoretical concepts and ideas on the sociology of translation presented more than 40 years ago. It is time to highlight various contemporary areas where the theory can be utilized and to consider if either certain theoretical propositions hold today or they have to evolved. This is important because we live at a time on earth where ANT seems to present the best pathway towards understanding contemporary innovations, organizational changes, societal changes, and the cultural changes. Furthermore, our society is evolving at a rapid pace and it is technology driven. There is an observable correlation between technological advancement and the advancement of

1 Contemporary Application of Ant: An Introduction


the society. Hence as technology evolves, so does the society. Evidence of our technology-driven society is evident in different echo systems. These ecosystems could be organizations, business models, e-commerce, e-governance, e-health, etc. These ecosystem, among others, are all interconnected in different puntualized networks or clusters with members from different parts of the world. Hence as technology evolves these echo systems evolve as well. Often times they do not evolve without challenges. In other cases, they evolve into challenges. One way of solving these challenges is by investigating the weak links within the actor network and trying to find ways on how to solve the problem. This implies that the person in charge has an overview of the actor network. Furthermore, these punctualized networks are very complex systems (see example Sage et al. 2020). The complex systems consist of the core and the periphery (edges). Example of systems at the edges are social media systems, etc. Nevertheless currently, very few literary works analyze the complexity of these systems. For example, the socio-technical analysis of these contemporary socio-technical systems governed by new digital technologies like Block chain, AI, etc., are rare. Hence, our contemporary age opens up an opportunity for the investigation of our world using ANT. It opens up the possibility to analyze translations, understand the character of actants today, examine the challenges with the theory if any, and if necessary propose ways we can understand our world today using ANT. This book is designed to kick start this process of probing, analyzing, and highlighting new ways of approaching the theory in different fields. This chapter has four sections. This section is followed by a brief expose on the relevance of ANT today. The section is followed by a summary of chapters presented in this book. It then ends with a conclusion.

The Relevance of Ant Today The Actor Network Theory is an unorthodox theory. Nevertheless, it is a theory that is still relevant today. This is more so because the present innovations in society consist of elements that can be explained by the ANT. The nature of the current network of interactions is consistent with


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the theory and the translation process still holds not just for artifacts but also for Black boxes. In this section, the discussion is on to the consistency of the theory to contemporary times and the need to rethink actant agency allocations. The consistency is discussed under three headings, the nature of the network, network transformation, and agency.

Nature of the Network The first applicable tenet is fact that actor networks consist of human and non-human actants (Law 1999). This still holds in contemporary times. It is more evident today that it was when Bruno Latour and Michel Callon (1981) proposed the theory. Nevertheless, the common actors in our contemporary world are human and non-human actors. Some of the contemporary actors include human and different non-human actors such as technology, ideas, concepts, semiotics, and a whole range of actors. In principle this one of the doctrines of the ANT that is timeless and used in a great deal of non-Science and Technology Studies (STS) ANT research as mentioned earlier. ANT also posits that the human actant, material, semiotics, artifacts, and other actants interacting in the actor network as a whole (Latour 1993, 1999). A contemporary example is Facebook as a platform, not the company this time. Facebook is represented by its brand logo (semiotic) and by its name. When anyone sees that brand logo or hears the name, Facebook the first thing that comes to mind is the service. The platform is accessed via technological artifacts, such as mobile and desktop devices. The materiality of these artifacts makes is attractive for humans to use the service. In these devices, there are different semiotics familiar to the users that enable human interaction. These are some of the different actant interactions in the actor network of Facebook. These interactions occur as a whole. However, the Facebook Brand Logo or the name represents them. Another tenet of the actor network, which has contemporary implications, is on the nature of the actor network. The ontology of the Actor Network is different from the ontology of other networks. As the name implies, actor network is about the interaction between actants

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(Latour 1993). The actants are not nodes in the network; rather the actants produce action toward one another in their interactions within the network (ibid.). That is also visible in contemporary times. If one considers a laptop as an actor network. When the keyboard is activated, any command typed using the keyboard is displayed on the screen. If the screen goes blank, there is no actor network because no action is produced. The same thing does with the switch and the light bulb. Hence, the network is not about the nodes but the actions produced by the actant in the network. Other tenets of the ANT that is applicable in contemporary times it that of Puctualization (Crawford 2004; Williams 2015). Although actor networks are heterogenous and unstable, from time to time, there are observable moments where different black boxed actor networks become interlinked to create larger actor networks. The punctualization of actor networks is very visible today. The driver for this process in most cases is technology. A contemporary example is e-government. In the western hemisphere, the government of some countries in the 2000s established black boxes of sectoral e-government service delivery systems. However, in the last decade these systems have been consolidated (Williams 2020). Hence, citizens and businesses who intend to conduct any transaction with government agencies does so via one portal (ibid.). Aside e-government systems other examples of punctualization is evident in business ecosystems using Cloud computing and Blockchain. However, in contemporary times, punctualized networks are very volatile and susceptible to change.

Network Transformation Actor Network transformations are often interpreted using a process called translation. Translation is the basis of the study of the ANT (initially called Sociology of translation) (see Callon 1986). In simplistic terms, translation in ANT provides a third person’s perspective to the development of an innovation. In the often interpreted or re-interpreted version of events, the chronology describes the emergence of the innovation from its transformation as an idea to its materialization. This


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explanation might be oversimplistic. Anyway, the developers of the theory have gone at length to describe the translation process of different systems. In their description, a focal actant conceives an idea and draws a plan for how the idea will be fulfilled and the actants that will be involved. The focal actor then coopts these actants to support in the development of the idea. The translation process is complete when the emerging actant embodies the pattern of use. The emerging actant, be is a network or an individual actant represents what it will be used for. This representation is the inscription of the actant (Callon 1991). In contemporary times, there is a great deal of translation taking place. This is backed by the fact that there are more inscribed actants today than any time in history. Aside technology artifacts, there are millions of other inscribed artifacts emerging from myriads of actor networks. But as mentioned in the introduction of this chapter, ICT has enabled translations that has resulted in an interconnected world—a globalized world. A world that is technology driven, a world where different actor networks have punctualized be it briefly to define our age. One could say that we live in an age where successful innovations has to facilitate competitive advantages as well as networking possibilities. The networking possibilities aid the strength to lift the weak. It also enables the leveraging of competences to develop innovative solutions. This is why technologies that enable punctualization of actor networks such as Microsoft Azure, Google cloud, etc., are at the forefront of their business. They enable bigger corporations to collaborate with SMEs in different parts of the world to solve problems. They enable a company to take advantage of access to market, access to workforce, and access to friendly markets by decentralizing their workforce to different geographical locations. However, these workforces use these collaborative platforms, sync to their organizational platform to work together. An inscription of a new world and a new way of life. Hence, many contemporary issues can be analyzed and translated using the Actor Network theory.

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Agency In the earlier part of this section, mention was made of the classes of actants identified in ANT. ANT grants actants the status of equality. This is because ANT does not ascribe agency based on the nature of the actant. Agency is assigned based on the action the actant produces in the network (Latour, The power of association 1986). When ANT was conceived, certain non-human actors were unable to act independently. However, in the contemporary world, the adoption of ICT has changed that. Hence, today, you do not need to monitor your lawn’s water sprinkler. You just program it and leave the rest to the sprinkler. You do not have to bother about conserving energy at home. You only have to hook up the electrical wiring in your home to a smart home device and the rest is taken care of by the smart home device. Therefore, certain non-human actors now possess programmed intentionality. However, in between the 1950s and 1960s (CHM 2019), AI and robotics were conceptualized. Today they are a reality and in our homes. They operate independently of humans. The same is the case for smart factories. Nevertheless, in the future these non-human actants will become very independent from human us. They will possess intentionality. This implies that although ANT is still relevant today, it might be necessary to classify further non-human actants. Granting intentionality to human actants and other actants that possess such attributes does not diminish the role of non-human actants in an actor network. Yes, it might reduce their status in the actor network thereby creating actant inequality. On the other hand no. For example, the law is a non-human actant; it constrains, restricts, and even induces punishment. It is human revere and fears the law. Is the law by any means inferior to men? By all means no. However, that does not imply that humans and the law are equal. Hence granting actants the properties that rightly describe them is essential to ANT of the future. We should observe translations as they are and not the way we think they should be. Hence, ascribing agency to man and any other non-human actant not based on their action alone but also their intentionality should be considered in contemporary ANT.


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In summary to this section, a summary of the chapters in this book is presented.

Introduction to the Book The book is not developed exclusively for researchers, and academics. It is also developed for policymakers, entrepreneurs, engineers, web developers, innovators, and head of organization anyone who wants to understand how to explain the world around him or her. The writing style in the book is academic, but the authors have provided simplified explanations of concepts to enable an average reader comprehend the discussions. This enables persons who are new to ANT to also understand the theory and utilize it. Although ANT is an STS theory, its use in this book transcends STS. In this book, it is applied in the field of banking and finance, architecture, risk management, information technology, policy studies, education, health, organizational studies, media entrepreneurship, and the social sciences. Different issues with respect to the ANT in these fields are presented. Hence, any reader from any field of study will derive value from the book. All papers in this book were peer-reviewed. The book has 14 chapters. A summary of their contents are as follows. This chapter is the introduction to the book. It highlights why research in ANT is valuable today. Chapter 2 discuss risk management in complex systems using ANT through the perspective of language. The author focuses on the communicative side of dealing with extraordinary situations in diversified systemic entities. The chapter first analyzes the characteristics of complex systems from the communication perspective to highlight the inherent challenges encountered by those taking part in any form of interaction. The author then utilizes ANT to discuss risk management and its communicative aspect. The discussion in this chapter is supported on case studies that highlight practical approaches to managing risk in complex systems. Chapter 3 is a very interesting chapter analyzing the actor network in an Architectural setting. The chapter highlights the role of a building as a

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mediator in an architectural actor network. It issues a call for the change in practice where architectural design is human centric. The chapter argues that the relationship between an architect and a design is always dynamic and complex and cannot be simply reduced to human mastery over built form. Hence, the author argues that architects should not only impose their ideas on a building, rather they should pay attention to feedback non-actants as well. Chapter 4 interrogates the validity of the four moments of translation in ICT driven actor networks. The highlights that actor network are evolving from human controlled or driven actor networks into technology-driven actor networks. This evolution implies that the social translation processes will evolve at some point. The evolution will not have an impact on ANT, but it might have an impact on the four moments of translations and how the decision to consider power relationships in actor networks. Chapter 5 introduces media entrepreneurs as agents of change. It highlights the increasing pervasiveness of technology on the supply and demand side of the media market as mediators of the change. However, the media entrepreneur realizes this opportunity and implements it. The chapter argues that the explanation of the actions of these change agents can be best explained using ANT. In this chapter the author, provides a compelling argument to their position toward researchers of media entrepreneurship. Chapter 6 interrogates the reason for the failure in the mobilization process in the adoption of e-learning in Ghana. The chapter identifies the current adoption process in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic as chaotic. Using the four moments of translation, the authors analyze the translation process to identify what went wrong along the way. Chapter 7 utilizes ANT to evaluate the translation process in the development of the Social media Data protection policies in Iran. The author pays great deal of attention to debate as a mediator in the translation process. The four moments of translation by Michel Callon is used to evaluate the translation process. The chapter indicates that instances where there was a break down in debate, it was difficult for actants to be mobilized in the Social Media Data Protection Policy network.


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Chapter 8 provides an analysis of leadership in multicultural teams through the perspective of Actor Network Theory. The author presents the technological and organizational dynamics that sustain multicultural teams. These dynamics consist of human and non-human actants. The chapter argues that a successful management of a multicultural team hinges in the ability to manage human and non-human actants to enable them work together as a whole. Chapter 9 argues for the use of ANT as an adoption theory. The online banking system is used as a case study and described as an actor network. The actor network is described as consisting of the demand and the supply side of the Banking System. Based on this description, the chapter argues that by investigating the translation process, factors that enable and inhibit the adoption of online banking can be revealed. Chapter 10 uses ANT as a tool to analyze why occupational violence occurs in health care settings. The chapter argues that the reason for occupational violence in healthcare settings is not human centric. Rather non-human actors contribute to the problem as well. The chapter provides recommendation on how to tackle occupational violence from a holistic perspective. Chapter 11 highlight the relevant for using ANT in the analysis of network organization. The authors argue that as organizations become interconnected, ANT becomes more relevant in analyzing these organizations. Despite their optimism, the authors feel that ANT has to be streamlined in the management and business discipline, hence they have proposed a conceptual framework to aid this process. Chapter 12 analyzes the notion of equality of actors in actor networks. The argument is that even within actants of the same kind inequality exist in the way they produce action. The argument is supported by an empirical analysis of actant interaction on Twitter. Chapter 13 presents the influence of technology in the broadcast industry. It further highlights what should be the basis for translation of technological innovation in the broadcast industry. The authors identify that the disruptive nature of technology to the broadcast industry makes it difficult to understand which technology to use. They have developed a matrix that could be used to preplan the translation process for innovation. IRIB is their case.

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Chapter 14 provides a state of the art on the actor network in the banking system. The authors do not discuss ANT; rather they provide an overview of a contemporary network and possibilities for interactive online banking. This chapter is included in this book to inspire ANT research in this area. As evident in the overview of each chapter, except for the last two, different authors have analyzed ANT as it pertains to their field and area of expertise. The analysis covers complex networks, heterogeneous networks, networks at the edges, and core networks. The analysis has been predictive, interrogative, and prescriptive. They have also covered contemporary issues in different sectors. In the course of the analysis, the chapters have not deviated from the sociological foundations of the ANT. Rather they have maintained the core of the theory in their analysis,

Conclusion As implied in earlier in the introductory part of this chapter, we live in a technology-driven world. This has enabled heightened interaction between human and non-human actants. Furthermore, these actants act as a whole. Hence, we are living in a world made up of interlinking but complex actor networks. This book draws our attention to this fact and calls for more ANT related research into the various actor network. This will enable us understand our world, inspire great innovations, inspire team building, inspire team management as well as diagnose challenges in order to be able to solve them.

References Akrich, M., Callon, M., & Latour, B. (2002). The key to success in innovation part1: The art of interessement. International Journal of Innovation Management, 6 (2), 187–206.


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Altabaibeh, A., Cadwell, K. A., & Volante, M. A. (2020). Tracing healthcare organisation integration in the UK using actor–network theory. Journal of Health Organization and Management, 34 (2), 192–206. Balzacq, T., & Cavelty, M. D. (2016). A theory of actor-network for cyber security. European Journal of International Security, 1(2), 176–198. Callon, M. (1986). Some elements of a sociology of translation: Domestication of the scallops and the fishermen of St Brieuc Bay. In L. John (Ed.), Power, action and belief: A new sociology of Knowledge (pp. 196–223). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Callon, M. (1987). Society in the making: The study of technology as a tool for sociological analysis. In W. Bijker, T. Hughes, & T. Pinch (Eds.), The social construction of technological systems. Cambridge: MIT Press. Callon, M. (1991). Techno-economic networks and irreversibility. In J. Law (Ed.), A sociology of monsters: Essays on power technology and domination. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Callon, M. (1999). Actor-network theory—The market test. The Sociology Review, 47 (S1), 182–195. Callon, M., & Latour, B. (1981). Unscrewing the big Leviathan: How actors macrostructure reality and how sociologists help them to do so. In K. D. Knorr- Cetina & A. V. Cicoured (Eds.), Advances in social theory and methodology: Toward an integration of micro- and macro-sociologies. Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul. CHM. (2019). Computer History Museum. timeline/1951/. Crawford, C. (2004). Actor network theory. In G. Ritzer (Ed.), Encyclopedia of social theory. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Cresswell, K. M., Worth, A., & Sheikh, A. (2010). Actor-network theory and its role in understanding the implementation of information technology developments in healthcare. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak, 10 (67), 1–11. Fine, B. (2006). From actor-network theory to political economy. Capitalism Nature Socialism, 16 (4), 91–108. Hanseth, O., & Monteiro, E. (1998). Understanding information infrastructure. Oslo: University of Oslo. bok.html. Harty, C. (2008). Implementing innovation in construction: Contexts, relative boundedness and actor-network theory. Construction Management and Economics, 26 (10), 1029–1041. Latour, B. (1986). The power of association. In J. Law (Ed.), Power, action and belief (pp. 264–280). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

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Latour, B. (1993). We have never been morden. Cambridge: Havard University Press. Latour, B. (1999). Pandora’s hope: Essays on the reality of science studies. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Latour, B. (2011). Network theory | Networks, societies, spheres: Reflections of an actor-network theorist. International Journal of Communications, 5 (2011), 796–810. Law, J. (1999). After ANT: Complexity, naming and topology. In J. Hassard & J. Law (Eds.), Actor-network theory and after. Oxford: Blackwell. Luo, W. (2020). Translation as actor-networking: Actor, agencies, and networks in the making of Arthur Waleys’s English translations of the Chinese ‘Journey to the West’. London: Routledge. Newton, T. J. (2002). Creating the new ecological order? Elias and actornetwork theory. The Academy of Management Review, 27 (4), 523–540. Piper-Wright, T. (2020). Between presence and program: The photographic error as counterculture. In R. Earnshaw, S. Liggett, P. Excell, & D. Thalmann (Eds.), Technology, design and the arts—Challenges and opportunities. Cham: Springer. Sage, D, Vitry, C., & Dainty, A. (2020). Exploring the organizational proliferation of new technologies: An affective actor-network theory. Organization Studies, 41(3), 345–363. Tatnall, A. (2005). Actor network theory in information systems research. In M. Khosrow-Pour (Ed.), Encyclopedia of information science and technology (1st ed., pp. 42–46). Hershey, PA: IGI. Williams, I. (2015). Analysis of public private interplay frameworks in the development of rural telecommunications infrastructure: A multiple-case study. Aalborg: Aalborg University Press. Williams, I. (2020). E-government, yesterday, today and in the future. In A. Sieben (Ed.), E-government: Perspectives, challenges and opportunities. Hauppauge: Nova Publishers.

2 Communicative Approaches to Risk Management in Complex Systems Through the Prism of Actor-Network Theory Magdalena Bielenia-Grajewska

Introduction System, as a term that denotes parts or entities forming a whole, is used to describe people, things, or organizations in almost all domains of life. As von Bertalanffy (1973) states, the complexity of modern technology and society leads to the growing importance of holistic and systemic approaches. Moreover, the twenty-first century seems to be even more complex and interrelated than the past epochs. Although risks have always been part and parcel of any society, the mentioned complexities and turbulences of different types have made the current reality even more imbedded with different risks. The multilayer and multifactorial character of complex systems makes them prone to both internal and external risks. In order to study these complexities, ANT is applied to M. Bielenia-Grajewska (B) Department of Translation Studies, Institute of English and American Studies Faculty of Languages, University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2020 I. Williams (ed.), Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory,



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show how both human and non-human entities shape risks in nonsimple systems. An example is the application of diverse technological tools in governing risk communication. Moreover, risk management can also be exercised by applying proper linguistic policies in systems, aiming at efficient communication conducted for a diversified audience. It is difficult to imagine risk management in complex systems without effective communicative policies. For example, Bentley et al. (2012) stress the role of keywords in the information dissemination processes of scientific writing. They discuss how selected keywords in climate science influence general discourse. In addition to the mentioned analysis conducted at the word level, the macro perspective to crisis management in complex systems is often exercised through approaches such as Critical Discourse Analysis by examining verbal and nonverbal elements in sharing risk communication. Thus, risk management in complex systems can be studied through discursive prisms by paying attention to the communicative side of any system.

XXI Century—The Century of Technology, Mobility, and Risk The twenty-first century is determined by a number of factors, with technology being one of them. As Lawson (2017) states, there are two trends in the philosophy of technology. The first one focuses on the ethical dimension of technology by discussing how technology influences “good life,” whereas the second approach highlights the constraints and controls exercised by technology. In our time, many machines possess human-level abilities (at least to some extent), but there are ones that were controlled completely by people in the past which have started to act independently. The advantages and disadvantages of these situations are raised by supporters and opponents of technological development; the dual nature of technology is visible with technology being treated both as an asset and as a potential hindrance. For some, the threat connected with the growing role of technology is represented in the potential substitution of people by technology-driven robots with the example of autonomous machines. Moreover, driverless cars, which are

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still a science fiction scenario for some, may become the everyday reality in the future. However, the “robotic chauffeur” (Lipson and Kurman 2016) also poses ethical questions about making difficult decisions by machines about one’s life in one second before the accident. Another important factor of the twenty-first century, connected with the mentioned technological progress, is mobility, which is represented in the constant movement of people, ideas, and things. By analyzing maneuverability, the same dual character as seen in the case of technology can be observed, visible in mobility while having diversified influence on various stakeholders. Since in most cases flexibility is associated with positive changes for people and things involved, there are also cases when mobility decreases the local potential of places and organizations. The example includes the mobility of highly qualified personnel which may lead to the lack of human resources in another place. The dual nature of mobility is also discussed by Lipson and Kurman (2016), who highlight that driverless cars will give mobility to those who, for various reasons, are dependent on others as far as transport is concerned. On the other hand, jobs such as truck or taxi drivers may be less in demand and, consequently, the representatives of these professions may be unemployed. Since our times can be called “the age of turbulence” (Greenspan 2007), the twenty-first century can also be named the “risk epoch.” Kotler and Caslione (2009) mention the factors that increase risks: technological development and informational revolution, groundbreaking technologies and innovations, hypercompetition, the environment, and the increased power of customers. The first factor, technological development and informational revolution, includes the development in the field of hardware and software, digitization, and the role of the Internet. The second one involves the technological innovations, products, and services of groundbreaking character. They include, among others, digital technologies and e-books. Hypercompetition reflects the difficulty of having a competitive advantage for a long period of time, whereas the environment includes the influence of cooperators and stakeholders. The last important notion is the growing power of customers, which is visible in organizations having to respond to their changing needs and expectations. Risks, although often associated exclusively with the negative side,


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also have dual natures. As Bielenia-Grajewska (2013b) discusses, apart from the detrimental effects of risks (visible in e.g., fears), risky situations do not only evoke negative connotations, but also make people more attentive and eager to implement changes. From the biological perspective, adrenaline is needed to cope with everyday problems. Thus, in the case of organizations, the risk spirit, represented in organizational adrenaline, makes business entities more apt to accept risk and respond to them in a constructive way. The ability to react to risks is especially important in complex systems, due to, among others, the diversity of stakeholders, products, services, and threats themselves.

Complex Systems Since the twenty-first century is an epoch determined by complexity in different forms, it can be stated that complex systems constitute the reality of modern times. They are visible, among others, in individuals, things, organizations, and environments. Complex systems can be briefly defined as systems having many elements, often interrelated, that form subsystems. De Bono (1981) states that an effective system must be created in such a way as to handle diversified incoming flows under different conditions; its elasticity is represented in canalizing the flows in the right direction. Systems can be viewed from different perspectives, including the social one. Lundén (1982) states that three levels of societal organizations can be distinguished: “the state as a system and a territory; a more diffuse level of voluntary associations and regions; and the individual level which forms the basis of social organization” (1982, p. 149). Since complex systems are to be found in many areas of life, they are studied by representatives of different domains. For example, Bielenia-Grajewska and Scarlett (2015) discuss the dynamic and relational systems theory in education. They underline that this approach looks at the studied phenomenon not as the one constituting of independent elements, but rather as an intertwined one with one element depending on the other one. Taking into account the growing role of technology, complex systems are also created and located on the Internet. Wikipedia can be an example of complex systems written and published

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online, with authors and users located in different parts of the world (Jemielniak 2015). In addition, systems interact with other systems. Guo et al. (2016) stress the relation between figurative systems and operative systems since cognitively based schemas, offering potential for adjusting behavior, influence the way one performs.

Complex Systems—Key Functions The approach suggested in this paper is to study complex systems through the prism of functions. The nature of complex systems can be examined by taking into account features such as complexity, durability, liquidity, and adaptability. • Complexity Complexity in systems can be studied in different disciplines, including linguistics, management, and technology, to mention some of them. One type of linguistic complexity includes linguistic diversity itself, being visible in different languages, professional jargon, and genres used by workers and stakeholders. Another important notion is communicative diversity, represented in, among others, standard and innovative tools (offered mainly online) to interact with stakeholders in both synchronous and asynchronous ways. Technological complexities and other systemic characteristics belong to non-linguistic determinants. Technological complexity is represented in the variety of tools used to create, disseminate, run, and control systems. An example includes using telephones or emails in any type of modern enterprise. Complexity as such can be treated as an advantage and a disadvantage of modern times. For example, Hollow (2016) also stresses that especially in describing difficult situations, such as the 2007 financial crisis, complexity is presented as one of the key factors responsible for critical points. • Durability Another key feature of any system is its life span. To examine how long systems can last, Law (2009) discusses the concept of durability


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and its different subtypes. Material durability is connected with the longevity of materials with the duration of their usage. When they are a part of the network, their durability determines the durability of the whole network. Strategic durability is represented in creating and applying strategies that constitute durable networks. Discursive stability is connected with the role of ordering represented in technologies and organizational procedures. In the case of organizations, it is visible in workers playing different roles, using different features of their character. Another approach to durability is examining it through the perspective of notions that can influence its longevity, such as internal and external factors, human-dependency and non-human dependency, etc. • Liquidity The next important feature of modern times is the notion of liquidity that is observed in the lack of boundaries between individuals, organizations, and environments. At the organizational level, the nature of modern organizations also makes them more prone to different risks. As Power states, “it becomes difficult to distinguish organizations, at least in their formal character, from their institutionalized environments” (2007, p. 8). The changing nature of complex systems can also be observed in the sphere of management education. As Chory and Offstein (2017) discussed, the relationship between students and academic teachers have changed, moving rather from looking at students as pupils but as customers. The relation is partly visible in the market-driven character of modern academia, making universities more competitive for the broadly understood stakeholders. Another important feature of liquidity is the possibility of entities becoming stable. Heylighen (1990) stresses the feature of complex systems evolution and the principle of natural selection, which are being represented in elements producing a stable entity after long-term interaction since unstable elements are the first to disappear. Thus, liquidity does not have to concern the whole system, but only some of its elements or under some circumstances. The crucial element of discussion on systems liquidity is the notion of border. Complex systems are created and sustained by borders that can be natural or man-made

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ones. The discussion may focus on socio-ecological systems (SES), as presented by Ostrom et al. that underlines the role of socio-ecological environments for resources used by humans. The systemic construction of SES is visible in a number of subsystems. The exemplary ones include, “subsystems such as a resource system (e.g., a coastal fishery), resource units (lobsters), users (fishers), and governance systems (organizations and rules that govern fishing on that coast) are relatively separable but interact to produce outcomes at the SES level, which in turn feed back to affect these subsystems and their components, as well other larger or smaller SESs” (2009, p. 419). It should also be stated that complex systems discussed through the perspective of borders can be explained in different ways, depending on the type of border taken into account by interlocutors. By examining organizations as complex systems, those specializing in organizational studies will focus on such issues as hierarchy, company structures in discussing organizational borders. The hierarchical boundary is often represented in the limited access to certain people because of their position on an organizational ladder. For example, the possibility of talking to a boss is limited. Thus, language can be examined as a tool for creating and limiting communicational borders. Another type of border may be the spatial one, visible in the arrangement of office space that may stimulate or hinder the process of exchanging thoughts. Heylighen also draws our attention to the notion of boundary in complex systems. It “distinguishes the system from its environment, which separates strong (internal) interactions, from weak (external) interactions. The problem might therefore also be formulated as: how do boundaries (distinction, differentiation, structuration) appear and maintain within a complex system?” (1990, p. 7). There are different functions of borders in complex systems since they may also give the sense of security, uniqueness, specialty, and feeling of belonging to a community. • Adaptability As Bielenia-Grajewska (2012) mentions, the term allostasis is used to denote the ability of bodies to produce, e.g., hormones in order to adapt to new conditions in the environment. The reactions to


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change are supposed to achieve stability of a studied organism. BieleniaGrajewska (2012) coined the term corporate linguistic allostasis to stress the importance of communication in changing realities. Internal corporate hormones or cytokines, represented in effective linguistic tools, facilitate the processes of adapting to new situations. In addition, the allostatic character of organizations does not only consist of human beings, but also entities that determine corporate allostasis. The mentioned complex character of individuals, organizations, and environments and the interrelations between them should be studied by an interdisciplinary theory that takes into account the discussed features observed at the micro, meso, and macro dimensions of modern systems. The theories that look at the complexities of studied phenomena are network theories, with Actor-Network Theory being one of them.

Actor-Network Theory Actor-Network Theory is the approach of stressing the role of nonhuman entities in creating and maintaining the performance of human beings, situations, and organizations. The popularity of ANT in discussing various issues is connected with the multidimensional perspective embedded within it. Actor-Network Theory does not have to be applied to notions or phenomena that look like a network (Latour 2007). Thus, it can be used to discuss people or things that do not have the visible “network” character. The mentioned entities share the interrelatedness of their elements. The relation component of ANT is stressed in the following definition: “an actor-network is a set of relationships between human and nonhuman entities drawn together by a particular activity of concern” (Moreira 2010, p. 7). There are different reasons for the adoption of ANT in the studies on complex systems. First, ANT stresses the lack of strict and fixed boundaries between different realities, such as social, natural, and technical environments (Murdoch 2005). What is more, the place of one type of reality is not privileged since technical and social positions are equal (Adam and Tatnall 2010). Michael (2017, p. 17) states that “at the ‘micro’ level of local practice, the nonhuman, in the guise of technological artefacts, routinely

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shapes the comportment of, and the inter-relations amongst, human actors. Indeed, humans and nonhumans are so closely entwined that it is better to think in terms of hybrids.” Law also adds that “in actor network webs, the distinction between human and nonhuman is of little initial analytical importance: people are relational effects that include both the human and the nonhuman (think, for instance, of ‘Pasteur’) while object webs conversely include people (ephemerides). Particular networks may end up being labelled ‘human’ or ‘nonhuman,’ but this is a secondary matter” (2009, p. 147). Thus, the role of non-human entities is not reduced to the sole usage of them, but they are presented as powerful actants. In addition, ANT favors actors and networks over the space itself (Pedersen 2009). Thus, people, things, and phenomena are treated as more important than the environment. In addition, this theory is not fixed itself. As Michael states, ANT is not a static edificeit has been adapted, nuanced, expanded, and problematized by numerous scholars, not least by its founders (2017, p. 4). Nowadays we can observe the growing role of network theories in different disciplines. ANT is used in a plethora of research topics. The recent publications include, among others, the role of Actor-Network Theory in planning (Rydin and Tate 2016), media studies (Spöhrer and Ochsner 2017), sport and technology (Kerr 2016), crime studies (Robert and Dufresne 2015), tourism (van der Duim, Ren and Thór Jóhannesson 2012), organizations (Bielenia-Grajewska 2011a; Belliger and Krieger 2016), and e-medicine (Bielenia-Grajewska 2011b).

Complex Systems—Communicative Perspectives in Risky Situations Communication is especially important in the case of any risks or dangers. Although one associates risk communication with human beings, it should be remembered that it is not restricted to individuals. In such studies as the ones conducted by Peter Wohlleben (2015), communication among trees is presented. For example, when an acacia is beaten by a giraffe, it gives off ethylene to inform other acacias about the danger.


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Another example is communication by mycelium among trees located in close proximity. Linguistic diversity is represented in the multitude of languages used by individuals and organizations. To discuss the mentioned complexity, the concept of hybrid linguistic identity (Bielenia-Grajewska 2010) can be applied, stressing that linguistic representation shares common elements and offers communication among people. However, it is unique at the same time, being the representative of a single person or organization. The complexity from a more organizational approach is also discussed in the contribution on heteroglossic linguistic identity (Bielenia-Grajewska 2013a), with the notion of many languages and their interrelations taken into account.

Risk Management in Complex Systems—Ant in Communicative Perspectives There are different notions that determine the way risk management is handled in complex systems. First, complex systems make communication diversified to meet the needs and expectations of different stakeholders and facilitate the creation and dissemination of data in different channels and by using various tools. Secondly, complex systems may face risks at both the internal and external level, thus, any approach should be of a holistic type, taking into account hazards in the close and far environment. Thirdly, complex systems are dynamic, responding to inner and outer changes that may generate risks. Thus, communication during crisis situations in complex systems should take into account different factors, not only the ones related to human beings. Thus, ActorNetwork Theory reflects the complexities connected with applying the multidimensional approach to studying human and non-human relations. The interest in ANT is connected with the holistic approach to different studies. An example is the multimodal perspective, which focuses on different types of communication. In the case of managing risks in corporations, not only words are used but also nonverbal ways of crisis communication, including pictures, drawings, and photographs. Another important feature is the possibility of concentrating the voices

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into one entity. Berti (2017, p. 102) states that “black-boxing is both process of semantic simplification, through which the constituent parts of a network cease to be perceived as individual entities, and a process of political integration and domination, through which one becomes the voice of many, collapsing diversities and differences of interest.” Communication within a system can be studied on the example of trees as discussed by Wohlleben (2015). He mentions that similar to a human body, trees feel pain; when a caterpillar bites a leaf, the tissue around the bite changes, alternating electrical signals to other parts of the tree. However, the impulse does not travel as fast as in the case of a human body (in the case of trees, only one centimeter per minute). The tree “recognizes” the saliva of the “invader” and produces a substance to deter the aggressor. Moreover, in system-system communication, trees and other plants within one species can communicate by roots and mycelium. For example, beeches communicate with beeches, whereas their possibilities of “talking” with the representatives of other trees are limited. Thus, this type of communication system is closed, linked to the members of one species type. Communication may serve different functions in ecosystems, such as the main need for survival. Beiler et al. (2010) discuss the notion of Wood—wide-web to denote the interrelations of trees and their cooperation in exchanging nutrients and supporting conspecific regeneration and effective ecosystem. By focusing more on complex systems in which human beings participate, with the advent and development of IT tools, many of them are created and maintained online, either as the only place of interaction (websites, blogs, Facebook) or they complement the traditional ways of communication in organizations (face-to-face meetings, discussions, writing letters). Online complex systems online are heterogeneous in nature, in terms of tools, individuals, and organizations. As far as this type of communication is concerned, it is very difficult to estimate the precise number of participants in online discourse and their involvement may differ (temporal versus permanent). Thus, in this study, the attention is focused on tools and their contribution to communicating in complex systems. Through applying the ANT approach, the role of non-human elements in communication is not less important than interlocutors themselves. Moreover, ANT can be useful in discussing the role


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of mobilization in communication. As Williams (2019) states, mobilizing human and non-human actors is connected in ANT with such notions as potential resources, perceived value, mental congruence, and cooperativeness. Since incentives trigger mobilization, they will matter in the process of decision-making as well as in the face of risk situations. The rise of modern technology and the application of artificial intelligence have led to the new dimension of communication, including the risk discourse as well. Both companies and individual users are offered tools, such as sensors and detectors, to monitor a situation in a given place, as well as to detect risk and inform the person in charge about it. Moreover, AI offers the option for machines to learn and make a proper decision when a crisis occurs or calculate the risk for future situations.

Case Study—Apiculture and Risk Management As other types of business activities, beekeeping has to face different risks, of both internal and external character. Beehive is a complex system itself that is influenced by different natural and man-made hazards, originating inside and outside it. Beekeepers have to face risks related to the use of pesticides in agriculture and parasites attacking bees (e.g., varroosis). One of the most dangerous ones—Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)— happens when the majority of worker bees from a colony disappear and they include, among others, the death of bees. Taking economic factors into account, as with other types of food products, the consumption of honey depends on the popularity of natural or regional products in a given period of time and the general trend of slow food in a given society. Analyzing the multitude of factors determining the life of bees, risk communication in the sector of apiculture is conducted in different ways. Traditional methods of communication include the meetings of beekeepers, apiculture fairs, and television programs devoted to agriculture. Online communication tools involve organizational websites, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, forums, and microblogs. They differ in the level of reliability since they are created and are run by specialized organizations and individuals with different levels of apiculture.

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It should be also stated that the IT system can be used to communicate dangers that may take place near the beehive. The detector with GPS and special applications informs the owner about the changed position of a beehive (the examples include, among others, such devices as the Control Bee device or Projekt Maja). Pollenity offers beehives tools for estimating colony dynamics, recording data about the change in temperature and humidity, and performing acoustic analysis. HoneyPi and GoBuzzRalso measure temperature, humidity, and weight. Moreover, systems such as ziBees, using the Artificial Intelligence algorithm, provide information about varroa infections. The discussion on communication in apiculture should also include information on communication among bees themselves. As Yule discusses, the communication of human beings is different from the one of animals since people can refer to the past and future. The mentioned displacement is characteristic of human discourse and is absent in the animal world. However, bee communication also contains some form of displacement. “For example, when a worker bee finds a source of nectar and returns to the beehive, it can perform a complex routine to communicate to the other bees the location of this nectar. Depending on the type of dance (round dance for nearby and tail-wagging dance, with variable tempo, for distance), the other bees can work out where this newly discovered feast can be found” (2006, p. 9). Moreover, to communicate about risks and dangers, bees use pheromones (Billen and Morgan 2019). Thus, communication in the apiculture sector can be viewed from the perspective of ANT since this approach highlights the role of non-human factors in risks discourse in the bee industry, stressing how online social media or websites facilitate exchanging information about bees. In addition, tools and applications play a key role in informing beekeepers about dangerous situations in the beehive and its neighborhood, leading to the potential reduction of losses and the increased comfort of apiculturists. In the case of the last feature, namely, the conductance of danger alerts, the discussed tools and applications offer information that for obvious reasons, cannot be submitted by the bees themselves. Moreover, electronic monitoring of beehives is not stressful for bees since the beehive does not have to be opened and checked as it is done during traditional inspections.


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Summary Complex systems are prone to the influence of factors that determine their character. With the growing role of technology and communication in the twenty-first century, Actor-Network Theory offers a multidimensional perspective on the role of non-humans’ notions in coding and decoding information. It is especially important in the era of AI and human–computer interaction, when people interact with computers and complex technological artifacts undertake the tasks previously assigned exclusively to human beings. The example of the beekeeping sector in Poland shows how tools and applications do not only offer efficient and quick risk communication but also provide information on threats that cannot be uttered by participants in risk discourse themselves. Taking the observed progress in the sphere of the broadly understood technology, it can be predicted that risk communication will rely even more on technologically advanced tools and applications.

References Adam, T., & Tatnall, A. (2010). Use of ICT to assist students with learning difficulties: An actor-network analysis. In N. Reynolds & M. TurcsányiSzabo (Eds.), Proceedings of the key competencies in the knowledge society: IFIP TC 3 International Conference, KCKS 2010, held as part of WCC 2010, Brisbane, Australia (pp. 1–11). Berlin: Springer. Beiler, K. J., Durall, D. M., Simard, S. W., Maxwell, S. A., & Kretzer, A. M. (2010). Architecture of the wood-wide web: Rhizopogon spp. genets link multiple Douglas-fir cohorts’. New Phytologist, 185, 543–553. https://doi. org/10.1111/j.1469-8137.2009.03069.x. Belliger, A., & Krieger, D. J. (2016). Organizing networks: An actor-network theory of organizations. Bielefeld: Transciot Verlag. Bentley, A. R., Garnett, P., O’Brien, M. J., & Brock, W. A. (2012). Word diffusion and climate science. PLoS One, 7 (11), e47966. 10.1371/journal.pone.0047966. Berti, M. (2017). Elgar introduction to organizational discourse analysis. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

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Bielenia-Grajewska, M. (2010). The linguistic dimension of expatriatism— Hybrid environment, hybrid linguistic identity. European Journal of CrossCultural Competence and Management, 1(2/3), 212–231. Bielenia-Grajewska, M. (2011a). A potential application of actor network theory in organizational studies: The company as an ecosystem and its power relations from the ANT perspective. In A. Tatnall (Ed.), Actor-network theory and technology innovation: Advancements and new concepts (pp. 247–258). Hershey, PA: IGI Publishing. Bielenia-Grajewska, M. (2011b). Actor-network-theory in medical ecommunication: The role of websites in creating and maintaining healthcare corporate online identity. International Journal of Actor-Network Theory and Technological Innovation, 31, 39–53. 0104. Bielenia-Grajewska, M. (2012). Business performance management from the systemic communicative and linguistic side. In B. Christiansen (Ed.), Cultural variations and business performance (pp. 231–244). Hershey: PA, IGI. Bielenia-Grajewska, M. (2013a). The heteroglossic linguistic identity of modern companies. Management and Business Administration. Central Europe, 21(4[123]), 120–131. Bielenia-Grajewska, M. (2013b). Risk Society. In K. B. Penuel, M. Statler, & R. Hagen (Eds.), Encyclopedia of crisis management (pp. 841–842). Thousand Oaks: Sage. Bielenia-Grajewska, M., & Scarlett, G. (2015). Dynamic and relational systems theories. In W. G. Scarlett (Ed.), The SAGE encyclopedia of classroom management (pp. 274–276). Thousand Oaks: Sage. Billen, J., & Morgan, E. D. (2019). Pheromone communication in social insects: Sources and secretions. In R. K. Vander Meer, M. D. Breed, M. Winston, & K. E. Espelie (Eds.), Pheromone communication in social insects: Ants, wasps, bees, and termites (pp. 3–33). Abingdon: Routledge. Chory, R. M., & Offstein, E. H. (2017). Your professor will know you as a person: Evaluating and rethinking the relational boundaries between faculty and students. Journal of Management Education, 41(1), 9–38. De Bono, E. (1981). Atlas of management thinking. McQuaig Group. Greenspan, A. (2007). The age of turbulence. New York: Penguin Books. Guo, K., Yolles, M., Fink, G., & Iles, P. (2016). The changing organization: Agency theory in a cross-cultural context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


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Harman, G. (2016). Immaterialism: Objects and social theory. Cambridge: Polity Press. Heylighen, F. (1990). A new transdisciplinary paradigm for the study of complex systems? In F. Heylighen, E. Rosseel, & F. Demeyere (Eds.), Selfsteering and cognition in complex systems: Toward a new cybernetics (pp. 1–16). New York: Gordon and Breech Science Publishers. Hollow, M. (2016). Introduction: Rethinking the crises-complexity nexus. In M. Hollow, F. Akinbami, & R. Michie (Eds.), Complexity and crisis in the financial system: Critical perspectives on the evolution of American and British banking (pp. 1–10). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. Jemielniak, D. (2015). Naturally emerging regulation and the danger of delegitimizing conventional leadership: Drawing on the example of Wikipedia. In H. Bradbury (Ed.), The SAGE handbook of action research (pp. 522–528). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Kerr, R. (2016). Sport and technology: An actor-network theory perspective. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Kotler, P., & Caslione, J. A. (2009). Chaotics: The business of managing and marketing in the age of turbulence. New York: Amacom. Latour, B. (2007). Reassembling the social: An introduction to actor-networktheory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Law, J. (1999). After ANT: Complexity, naming and topology. The Sociological Review, 47 (1), 1–14. Law, J. (2009). Actor network theory and material semiotics. In B. S. Turner (Ed.), The new Blackwell companion to social theory (pp. 141–158). Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell. Lawson, C. (2017). Technology and isolation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lipson, H., & Kurman, M. (2016). Driverless: Intelligent cars and the road ahead . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Lundén, T. (1982). Linguistic minorities in boundary areas: The case of northern Europe. In B. De Marchi & A. M. Boileau (Eds.), Boundaries and minorities in Western Europe (pp. 149–168). Milan: Franco Angeli. Michael, M. (2017). Actor-network theory: Trials, trails and translations. London: Sage. Moreira, T. (2010). Actor-network theory. In S. Hornig Priest (Ed.), Encyclopedia of science and technology communication (pp. 7–9). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Murdoch, J. (2005). Ecologising sociology: Actor-network theory, coconstruction and the problem of human exemptionalism. In D. Inglis, J.

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Bone, & R. Wilkie (Eds.), Nature: From nature to natures: Contestation and reconstruction (pp. 282–305). Abingdon: Routledge. Neisser, F. M. (2014). Riskscapes’ and risk management—Review and synthesis of an actor-network theory approach. Risk Management, 16 (2), 88–120. Ostrom, E., et al. (2009). A general framework for analyzing sustainability of social-ecological systems. Science, 325, 419–422. Pedersen, M. A. (2009). At home away from homes: Navigating the Taiga in Northern Mongolia. In P. W. Kirby (Ed.), Boundless worlds: An anthropological approach to movement (pp. 135–1520). New York: Berghahn Books. Power, M. (2007). Organized uncertainty: Designing a world of risk management. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Robert, D., & Dufresne, M. (2015). Actor-network theory and crime studies: Explorations in science and technology. Abingdon: Routledge. Rydin, Y., & Tate, L. (2016). Actor networks of planning: Exploring the influence of actor network theory. Abingdon: Routledge. Spöhrer, M., & Ochsner, B. (2017). Applying the actor-network theory in media studies. Hershey, PA: IGI. van der Duim, R., Ren, C., & Thór Jóhannesson, G. (2012). Actor-network theory and tourism: Ordering, materiality and multiplicity. Abingdon: Routledge. Von Bertalanffy, L. (1973). General system theory: Foundations, development, applications. New York: George Braziller Inc. Williams, I. (2021). Mobilization-decision theory. In M. Khrosrow-Pour (Ed.), Encyclopedia of organizational knowledge, administration, and technologies. Hershey PA: IGI Global. Wohlleben, P. (2015). Das geheime Leben der Bäume: Was sie fühlen, wie sie kommunizieren - die Entdeckung einer verborgenen Welt. Munich: Ludwig Verlag. Yule, G. (2006). The study of language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Analyzed Materials (case study). Accessed 1 May 2017–25 October 2019 Apimondia. Retrieved from Forum pszczelarskie Ambrozja. Retrieved from http://forum.pasiekaambrozja. pl/index.php?sid=d47eac7d4ca5e110495656b9111650e7.


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Miód kupujesz- pszczoły ratujesz- the action of apiarists association and the publisher „Pasieka”. Retrieved from pszczelarstwo-w-polsce. Polski Zwi˛azek Pszczelarski. Retrieved from Pismo Pasieka. Retrieved from Portal Pszczelarski z Miło´sci do Pszczół. Retrieved from http://www.portalpsz Projekt Maja. Retrieved from ControlBee. Retrieved from Gobuzzr. Retrieved from HoneyPi. Retrieved from Pollenity. Retrieved from ziBees. Retrieved from

3 The Act-Shifts Between Humans and Nonhumans in Architecture: A Reading of Bruno Latour’s Actor-Network Theory Demet Dincer

Introduction The discussion on ‘nonhumans as the missing masses of social sciences’ (Latour 1992) was filling a vast missed gap in science, which changed not only the social sciences but also the way architecture looks at the ‘things’. However, the voice of Latour’s theory, considering nonhumans having an agency has been lately applied and/or discoursed in architecture. By acknowledging the necessity to go beyond the disciplinary boundaries, architecture has a lot to comprehend from Latour’s theory. This paper aims to discuss the act-shifts between humans and nonhumans in architecture, referring to Latour’s actor-network theory. The first part, Nonhumans as Actors, is a literature review to define the viewpoint of the paper, also to highlight the significance of the viewpoint with a D. Dincer (B) School of Built Environment, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia e-mail: [email protected]; [email protected] © The Author(s) 2020 I. Williams (ed.), Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory,



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contribution of ANT to architecture. Second part, Act-shifts in Architecture uses an example of a hotel (Argos in Cappadocia), deliberating its interaction with the small village (Uchisar) where the hotel is located. The first reason to choose Uchisar is that the interactions, as well as the transformations, are more visible in small settlements to discuss the acts of nonhumans among the human actors. Secondly, Uchisar has been a recognised settlement lately because of the events taking place there. Data were collected in four ways for this study: documents, discourse analysis, unstructured interviews and observations. Observations were made by one visit every two years, started with the author’s role as an instructor at Uchisar Workshop in 2011.

Nonhumans as Actors Actor-network theory (ANT), one of the key theories that Latour has manifested, aims a researcher not to break down a complex problem into static actors but to follow the links that these actors already do. Latour (2004) explains ANT as a theory about how to study things when those things change fast, and boundaries become fuzzy. Therefore, one could mention that ANT is against having a standpoint as a method because it is more about the viewpoint. The viewpoint is more dynamic and inherently changeable (Latour 2004). What it suggests might also be considered as a starting point for ‘a proper rendition of the complexity of the associations we form with others and with nonhumans’ (Sayes 2014, p. 145). According to ANT, an actor or an actant do act, and they are not ready-made essences or substances but unique events, irreducible to any other (Latour 2004). An actor needs to differentiate by its presence, which is not substitutable. The theory might be considered as a backto-object discourse but is distinctive by its dynamic nature as Latour suggests ‘to follow objects in action’. Also, humans are not superior to nonhumans, and an actant is not limited to human individuals. Therefore, actants are not involved in a sort of subordination but gain in strength only through their alliances (Harman 2009). By mentioning how Latour rejects the gap between an inner substance and its exterior,

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Harman (2009, pp. 16–17) comments on Latour’s actant as ‘a concrete individual, but not a nucleus of reality surrounded by shifting vapours of accidental and relational properties’. ANT has welcomed a ‘new set of objects’ (Sayes 2014, p. 135), which is crucial to understand how nonhumans should be re-considered. ‘Nonhuman’ encompasses a comprehensive understanding of entities. Latour (1993, p. 13) talks about nonhumans referring to ‘things’ and ‘objects’ in his book entitled as We Have Never Been Modern, also ‘microbes, rocks’ in Reassembling the Social (Latour 2005, p. 11) (as cited in Sayes 2014, p. 136). What Latour suggested and prompted was not simply to give a role to the nonhumans, but also to acknowledge that nonhumans have agency. ‘Objects are not means, but rather mediators’, says Latour (1996a, p. 240), such as the other actors are. Within an architectural framework, a building needs to be addressed by its dynamic role as a mediator, demanding some other acts while transforming its circumstances. The design process of a building involves both visible and invisible actors, and a building prompts an ongoing change by its presence, or by affecting the behaviours of other actors (humans or nonhumans). Thus, ‘buildings need to be understood as neither static nor passive’ (Beauregard 2015, p. 541), as they are never at rest (Latour and Yaneva 2008, p. 85). Nonhumans are actors by causing humans to response as a part of a collective action. The relationship between architects and material world that they design is not one of human mastery over a built form, but more active and recursive (Beauregard 2015, p. 534). The environmental conditions, functional demands, technological changes and economic circumstances continually transform the buildings. Buildings do also transform its surrounding while acting and receiving reactions. Buildings can do a lot as other actors re-act according to it, and these relationships between human and/or nonhuman actors are always dynamic by nature (Yaneva and Guy 2008, p. 200). Latour (2008, p. 6) mentions that all designs are collaborative designs, whether the collaborators are visible or not. Nonhumans should not be isolated from all other actors as the associations between humans and nonhumans matter. In fact, the buildings share the responsibility with its


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designers. Beauregard (2015, p. 545) mentions that buildings are responsible in two senses. The first one is that buildings cause, or even provoke other actors ‘who are entangled with them to respond as they change physically’. The second one is about the buildings’ moral responsibility, along with humans (Beauregard 2015, p. 545). The responsibility cannot be merely limited to one actor, as a human (architect) or a nonhuman (building) while talking about a collective action such as an architectural design process. Buildings connect to material or immaterial networks, also embedded in legal frameworks such as ownership rights. However, ‘network’ is a critical word which requires to be considered regarding how Latour addressed, as Latour (1996b) states that what he meant by the network is misunderstood due to the technical usages of the word. An actor-network is not finalised or stabilised, as actors (humans or nonhumans) are never isolated from each other (Latour 1988). A building is ‘never an object isolated from the world’ (Beauregard 2015, p. 542), and an actor-network involves the process of actions and reactions, rather than a finalised product.

Act-Shifts in Architecture This part is to conduct a further discussion, within the viewpoint mentioned in the previous part. The case of a hotel in Cappadocia is addressed to consider the transformative role of (non-counted) nonhumans in architecture. The design process, as well as the process after completion, is significant for an overall understanding of a building’s role as a mediator. Understanding a building makes it necessary to acknowledge the process that led to the object. Also, it is essential to cross-examine the life of the object after its completion as well as its role (Till 2012).

Uchisar, Cappadocia Cappadocia is a unique landscape located in Turkey, with its distinctive geography attracted to many travellers since the eighteenth century. The region has a volcanic landscape sculpted by erosion to form of valleys,

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mountain ridges and pinnacles known as fairy chimneys. After being proclaimed as a world heritage site by The United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) in 1985, Cappadocia became a national park in 1986 but eliminated in 2019 because of a presidential decision. UNESCO has defined Cappadocia as an outstanding example of traditional human settlement ‘which has become vulnerable under the combined effects of natural erosion and, more recently, tourism’ (UNESCO 2019). The volcanic tuff forms today’s scenery of Cappadocia. Forces deep inside the earth created deep cracks in the now hardened crust, through which molten magma poured out million years ago. The eruption of the surrounding volcanic cones continued, which resulted in a layer of volcanic tuff. Geographical conditions were particularly vulnerable to erosion. Many factors, such as temperature differences between seasons, and flowing streams, contributed to rock formations in the region (Sozen 2000). Nature is the principal actor in Cappadocia, forming its unique landscape but also guiding its architecture throughout its history (Fig. 3.1). The rock structures have hosted many communities where people used rock caves as shelters in times of war or built cave-houses inside the volcanic cones. Its geography, rupestral dwellings, villages, convents and churches project an overlapped historical experience, revealing the use of the landscape by multiple civilisations. For example, in the Byzantine

Fig. 3.1 Nature as the principal actor in Cappadocia, guiding its architecture throughout the history (Illustration by the author)


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period, Christian priests and monks enlarged the cavities and made them into seclusion cells, churches and monasteries (Rodley 1985). The environmental and settlement history of Cappadocia forms an integral part of its heritage and makes it a notable tourist attraction. The settlement was mostly functioned as a shelter beside the defensive use of the caves. Large groups arriving at Anatolia reformed Cappadocia in the eleventh century, and people turned the existing settlements into housing areas (Alper 1998). When humans settled, they began sculpting the soft tuff as the rock cones formed practical and versatile houses (AlSayyad 2014). Through the years, humans extended these rock houses to build new rooms for the existing house, following the traditional family organisation (Alper 1998). Building rock houses was a continuous process where families would hollow out one more room to the existing house with each newly married couple or newborn baby. Today, the number of people living in these houses has decreased, and many cave-houses have functioned as hotels, boutiques, restaurants and cafes. According to Turkish Statistical Institute report in 2017, international tourists visiting Nevsehir (centre) were counted as 56,528 in 2017, and the number of local tourists was 146,184 with a total number of 202,712 (TUIK 2017). Tourism is a significant actor influencing the region, and this paper focuses on Uchisar for a further discussion, which is one of the villages located in Cappadocia. Uchisar is located at the highest point in Cappadocia region, between the cities Nevsehir and Goreme, and consisted of hills and valleys situated on a volcanic tuff plateau. As one of the smallest villages in Cappadocia, transformation of Uchisar is more visible in comparison to the other settlements. Also, Uchisar has been a ‘global village’ recently. Besides its unique nature as an actor, one of the major acts shaping today’s Uchisar is the design process of a hotel, Argos in Cappadocia. The hotel was selected as a case, based on its high visibility to observe the building’s role as a nonhuman actor.

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The Village with a Reception Desk Argos in Cappadocia is a luxurious hotel located in Uchisar, a partly archaeological treasure, and partly rural building with fifty-two rooms (Figs. 3.2 and 3.3). ‘The Village with a Reception Desk’ title is to discuss the hotel and its fluid shifting relationship with the village, Uchisar.

Fig. 3.2 Argos in Cappadocia (Photograph by the author)

Fig. 3.3 Night-view from the hotel (Photograph by the author)


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The guestrooms are formed from unearthed caves, which are restored and transformed into ‘luxurious lodgings’, as the hotel illustrates (‘Argos in Cappadocia’, n.d.). In a more romantic sense, the guestrooms are mentioned having windows into the past by their rustic niches shaped out of volcanic rock forms. Turkish traditional artefacts were used together with modern furnishings, creating the link with the cultural heritage and modern necessities of a hotel (‘Argos in Cappadocia’, n.d). This case could be evaluated parallel to what Robbins (1991) says about ‘inserting local values into an overall picture of a global system’. The traditional understanding would position ‘local’ in a dualist structure against the term ‘global’, resulting in the terms to be considered as if they are opposites. Today, we live in an era that might be considered ‘inbetween’, within the tension between these terms, which demands a new inquiry on what to call local and global. Appadurai (1995) mentions that locality should be viewed as primarily relational and contextual rather than as scalar or spatial. By stating the relational context of locality, he mentions the series of links between the sense of social immediacy, the technologies of interactivity, and the relativity of contexts. Local–global relations form new meanings within the ongoing changes, and globalisation is never a one-way process when talked about the effects of global relations. Bauman (1998) suggests that it could be more relevant to discuss ‘global undertakings’ rather than ‘global effects’, and that globalisation is not about what we all hope to do, it is about what is happening to us all. This discussion about ‘us’ should involve the human actors as well, reflecting globalisation is just one part of the genesis. Hence, the discussion about Argos in Cappadocia is not merely a ‘global tourism effects on vernacular architecture’ one; but undertakings as human and nonhuman actors, as part of a network. If the social world was made of local interactions, it will retain a sort of provisional, unstable, and chaotic aspect and never this strongly differentiated landscape that the appeals to power and domination purport to explain. (Latour 2005, p. 66)

Goksin Ilicali, the investor and the owner of the hotel, has given an interview about the process of his investment in Uchisar in 2011 (Ilicali and

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Cil 2011). He mentions that he was a tourist visiting Cappadocia when he decided to invest, and had the opportunity to buy different plots in the village. The plots of ruined rock-cave houses that he bought were close to each other, but not along the same line or on the same side of the village road. It was important for him that local inhabitants remain inbetween these plots to ensure the continuity of the village life. There were few local inhabitants living in these rock-cave houses at the time. Ilicali’s investing has been significant and transformative for Uchisar, which is to be discussed later. Ilicali also wanted to work with the leading restoratorarchitects for the hotel, which was the second important decision of his to invest ‘in architecture’ as well. Turgut Cansever, one of the architects of the hotel project, is a well-known Turkish architect whose expertise is in restoration. The construction and renovation processes have been spread over time, started in 1997 and has continued for more than 20 years. The hotel was opened in 2010 with 27 rooms after continuous renovation process of 13 years (Fig. 3.4). Asli Ozbay (2015), the architect of the project, is also a local from Cappadocia. She mentions that Uchisar was not a well-known and taken-care village, so ‘protection’ has become the keyword, which was not just about protecting the vernacular architecture but also the lifestyle. Thus, the historical significance of cave-system needs to be highlighted with a reference to humans who used to live there more than 3000 years. Ozbay (2015) states that she aimed to narrate the hidden story of the village rather than hiding it under the fake decors as a response to current touristic demands. Within this framework, the aim was to protect the traditional village with its authentic spatial values. Stated at its website, Argos in Cappadocia pays ‘homage to local traditions with its distinctive architecture and interior design’ (‘Argos in Cappadocia’, n.d.). Even though what local means today, and what the local traditions remained as could be questioned regarding Uchisar today, it is evident that the hotel has transformed the (so-called) local life while solving some significant problems of the village. As an example, some of the infrastructure problems of the whole village were solved during the hotel’s construction. The hotel has renewed the sewage and irrigation system of the village. The electricity system was not conventional as well, which was partially renewed.


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Fig. 3.4 Argos in Cappadocia Hotel settlement in Uchisar (Photograph by Argos Yapi, n.d.)

The whole village has not been turned to a hotel after the hotel project; however, the hotel has become a reception desk, welcoming other actors to Uchisar. It was not only the human actors such as the architect or investor, giving a shape of what Uchisar is today. The relationships are more complicated and dynamic, and the reception desk’s role is addressed at the following part.

‘The Reception Desk’ as an Actor The hotel itself is an actor, referring to the description of an actor as having a role in making things happen (Latour 1996b). As an actor, the building shares responsibility for its acts along with the other actors, for the things it causes along with the opportunities it provides. The design process of a building is not a linear process, which involves shifts caused

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by non-designed acts of humans and nonhumans. This part of the paper aims to discuss ‘the reception desk’ of Uchisar, which is the Argos in Cappadocia Hotel as an actor, by looking at its design process. The hotel has been completed in six stages, as Ozbay mentions (2015). The first stage, entitled as ‘Manastir Konak’ and ‘Bezirhane’ stage, was between 1996 and 2002 (Fig. 3.5). Ozbay (2015) defines this first stage as the surprising one when an existing supporting wall collapsed during the clearing of the terraces of the hotel land site, unearthing an ancient monastery from the fourth century and a Silk Road caravan lodge. The collapse of the wall has brought the monastery back to life, and the architect revised the plan. The monastery has been renovated which stand as an event-area of the hotel today. This area has hosted music concerts, as well as many social and cultural events, and brought many others to explore Uchisar. One of the popular events at the region is the Cappadox Festival, being organised by Pozitif Group since 2015. Pozitif Group is a company

Fig. 3.5 First stage of the construction, photographs before and after the renovation process of Bezirhane (‘Argos Yapi’, n.d.)


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organising big events (such as Efes Pilsen Blues Festival), hosting international concerts in metropolitan cities such as Istanbul. The main sponsor of the Cappadox Festival has been an international car brand, Volkswagen. Official website of the event also says that Cappadox was to be explored through music, contemporary art, gastronomy and outdoor activities each year in May in Cappadocia (‘Cappadox’, n.d.). Even though Argos in Cappadocia Hotel is not the only reason for Uchisar hosting such events with an enormous budget for a village today, it is evident that the concerts and events taken place at the hotel have been a start of another act. The second stage of the hotel’s construction occurred between the years 2001 and 2006, where another ‘surprise’ has appeared by discovering that there used to be a historic rock-caved water channel underground. The hotel was located on the 200 meters-part of this channel. Ozbay (2015) decides to renovate the structure while designing an additional building next to the renovated part, where the ‘splendid suite’ of the hotel, a suite with a private pool is placed today. The suite is one of the most expensive rooms in the hotel. The hidden history leads the first two design stages of the hotel, which results by having a room with a pool and an event space. Argos in Cappadocia has been beneficial for some inhabitants pragmatically, as the economic rise of the land has been attractive for new investors. The real estate market has changed by new trends driven by the global market economy since the first investments started. During the (unstructured) interviews held in 2011 as a part of Uchisar Workshop, which was hosted by Uchisar Municipality, some villagers mentioned that the restoration and renovation projects cost more than a villager could afford. As expected, villagers owning properties wanted to take advantage of this new market, which could be observed by the real estate advertisements. The advertisements from different years demonstrate the soaring land values in Uchisar; especially after the hotel was opened in 2010. Accordingly, the price per one square meter was approximately $200 in 2003, and it reached $1000 in 2011. In 2012, the price per one square meter increased and doubled to $2000 (Author refers to the advertisements on Milliyet Emlak, Hurriyet Emlak and Sahibinden). In 2019, the sale price per square meter has reached approximately to $2500

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despite the economic conditions and currency shifts in Turkey. The target group has been the investors, which is evident from the statements of advertisements such as: ‘located in the centre of Uchisar, with a view of Erciyes Mountain, the house is on sale that has rock-cave rooms, and suitable to be a boutique hotel’. A sales advertisement of a house with 12 rock-cave rooms were listed on sale for 1,100,000 USD in 2018. The money currencies of the advertisements have shifted from USD/Euros to Turkish Liras especially after 2018 due to the recent economic conditions in Turkey. Ilicali (2011), the investor and the (first) owner of the hotel, had a notable vision to invest in different plots where local inhabitants would remain ‘within the hotel’ area. Ilicali’s first decision was not to transform the local life there while protecting the vernacular urban pattern by working with the experts for the renovation. The decision process has been considered as a good example for other investors in the region, while the hotel has received some awards. However, the approach has been the problem itself, considering nonhumans as static entities. Asli Ozbay (personal communication, August 20, 2019), as the architect of the hotel, confirms that the initial decision to protect the vernacular houses located in-between the invested plots for the hotel has been such a visionary one while causing some problems. The owners of these 4– 5 houses affected the hotel in a way while aiming to sell or rent their properties with an astronomic price. Argos in Cappadocia has been a significant project for Cappadocia, to discover and protect the hidden heritage while responding to investor’s demands (A. Ozbay, personal communication, August 20, 2019). The nonhumans led the construction process, demanding to re-organise the project designed by its architect (as discussed by the first stages of the construction). The dynamic nature of the village within its social and physical transformations reveals the profound necessity of an adjusted approach, which does not consider humans as the only and/or major actors. ANT reveals how the network of human and nonhuman actors shapes the cultures and practices of buildings. Argos in Cappadocia stands as a nonhuman actor, along with the human actors as decision-makers leading the design and construction processes. The design process of a


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building involves many participants, both humans and nonhumans. All types of design, architectural or not, merge heterogeneous relationships as a collective action. The notion of responsiveness represents the heterogeneity of networks and all forms of collective action. We are encouraged to think in terms of collaboration, negotiation, and accommodation among diverse human and nonhuman actors. (Beauregard 2015, p. 544)

Latour (1996a, p. 240) highlights the objects’ role as mediators, and relationships held by the objects are always a part of collective action. In architecture, the relationship between the architect and their designs is always complex and not simply ‘human mastery over built form’ (Beauregard 2015, p. 534). In fact, the building leads its design process among the others, which is usually not considered enough by its human actors. Also, each act demands and produces a response by its presence, as collaboration or as negotiation.

Conclusion Given that the era we live in today is quite chaotic in terms of the multilayered and fragmented environment, it is necessary to develop a new way of reading. The dynamic nature of contemporary cities, as marked by their social and physical transformations, requires that we adjust our approach for a comprehensive understanding. In the field of architecture, Latour‘s discourse points to the dynamic context of architectural production, going beyond a simplistic understanding of a building as an object or as a practice-based project. Designing a building is a collective action, and the building itself creates a ‘new context’ by virtue of the process governing its development and by its material existence. The relationship between an architect and a design is always dynamic and complex, which cannot be simply reduced to human mastery over built form. This relationship becomes even more complex if humans are considered as decision-makers when designing buildings. Even though nonhumans are counted in the design

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process, considering nonhumans as passive and secondary actors bring act-shifts between humans and nonhumans. Nonhumans lead the design process, re-organise it as active actors. In fact, Latour’s actor-network theory provides a significant viewpoint for architecture. Argos in Cappadocia has been discussed as an example, which represents how buildings share responsibility for its acts along with the others. As a nonhuman actor, the hotel shares the responsibility for the things it causes as well as for the opportunities it provides for Uchisar. For example, at the beginning of the construction process of the hotel, an existing supporting wall collapsed during the clearing of the terraces of the hotel land site, unearthing an ancient monastery from the fourth century and a Silk Road caravan lodge, both of which stand today as event-area of the hotel. Even the hotel does not stand as the only reason; it is one of the main actors giving a shape to what Uchisar is today, hosting global festivals and being attracted to new actors. The investor of the hotel had the opportunity to buy different plots in the village for the location of the hotel, but it was important for him that local inhabitants remain in-between these plots to ensure the continuity of the village life. Other actors, however, acted outside of their assumed passive roles, resulting in the failure of the initial decision to protect the village life (Fig. 3.6). On the other hand, the hotel has been beneficial for the locals, as the rise in the economic value of the land has been attractive for new investors. The villagers owning properties wanted to take advantage of the new market for pragmatic reasons, as observed by the real estate advertisements.

Fig. 3.6 1. Representation of the plots located at the same road (grey circles) 2. Investor’s choice to protect the village life, locating the hotel (orange squares) in-between the village 3. Hotel’s effect on its surrounding 4. Transformation taken place (overlapped coloured unexpected new shapes) (Illustration by the author)


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A building needs to be addressed in terms of its dynamic role as a mediator, where other acts are involved in the transformation of the circumstances governing the building environment. The design process of a building involves both visible and invisible actors, and a building prompts an ongoing change by its presence, or by affecting the behaviours of other actors (humans and nonhumans). The relationship between an architect and a building is never linear by its dynamic presence. In fact, the architectural design process demands an overall understanding, one where nonhumans will not be counted as passive actors affecting the process but as active participants taking on an operative role. This relationship needs to be flexible, optional, considering the possible act-shifts.

References Alper, B. (1998). Vernacular architecture and handcrafts. In M. Sozen (Ed.), Cappadocia (pp. 526–547). Istanbul: Ayhan Sahenk Foundation. AlSayyad, N. (2014). Traditions, the real, the hyper and the virtual in the built environment. New York: Routledge. Appadurai, A. (1995). Modernity at large: Cultural dimensions of globalization. Minneapolis: Minnesota Press. Argos Yapi. (n.d.). Argos in Cappadocia. Retrieved August 22, 2019, from Argos in Cappadocia. (n.d.). Retrieved August 10, 2019, from https://argosi Bauman, Z. (1998). On glocalization: Or globalization for some, localization for some others. Thesis Eleven, 54, 37–49. 3698054000004. Beauregard, R. (2015). We blame the building, architecture of distributed responsibility. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 533– 549. Cappadox. (n.d.). Retrieved July 10, 2019, from 2015cappadox. Harman, G. (2009). Prince of networks, Bruno Latour and metaphysics. Melbourne: Re-press.

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Ilicali, G., & Cil, O. (2011, April). Luksun En Yalin Hali. Retrieved from Latour, B. (1988). The pasteurization of France (A. Sheridan, & J. Law, Trans.). Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Latour, B. (1992). Where are the missing masses? The sociology of a few mundane artifacts. In W. E. Bijker & J. Law (Eds.), Shaping technology/building society: Studies in sociotechnical change (pp. 225–258). Cambridge: MIT Press. Latour, B. (1993). We have never been modern. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Latour, B. (1996a) On interobjectivity. In Mind, Culture, and Activity (Vol. 3, No. 4), pp. 228–245. EBSCO Publishing. Retrieved from http://www. Latour, B. (1996b). On actor-network theory: A few clarifications plus more than a few complications. Soziale Welt, 47, 369–381. 22394/0869-5377-2017-1-173-197. Latour, B. (2004). On using ANT for studying information systems: A Socratic dialogue. In Avgeraou, 62–76. Retrieved from sites/default/files/90-ANT-DIALOG-LSE-GB.pdf. Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the social: An introduction to actor-network theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Latour, B. (2008). A cautious prometheus? A few steps toward a philosophy of design. In F. Hacking, J. Glynne, & V. Minto (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2008 International Conference of the Design History Society. Cornwall: Universal Publishers. Latour, B., & Yaneva, A. (2008). Give me a gun and I will make all building move: An ant’s view of architecture. In R. Geiser (Ed.), Explorations in architecture. Basel: Birkhauser. Milliyet Emlak. (2012). Retrieved October 22, 2012 from www.milliyetemlak. com/ilan/5077231. Ozbay, A. (2015). Argos in Cappadocia. Rodley, L. (1985). Cave monasteries of Byzantine Cappadocia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Robbins, K. (1991). Tradition and translation: Traditional culture in its global context. In J. Corner & S. Harvey (Eds.), Enterprise and heritage: Currents of national culture. London: Routledge. Sananatak. (n.d.). Cappadox. Retrieved May 12, 2019 from http://www.sanata


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Sahibinden. (2019). Retrieved October 29, 2019 from https://www.sahibi Sayes, E. (2014). Actor-networ theory and methodology: Just what does it mean to say that nonhumans have agency? Social Studies of Science, 44 (1), 134–149. Sozen, M. (2000). An in-depth look at the natural and cultural identity of Cappadocia. In M. Sozen (Ed.), Cappadocia (pp. 12–15). Istanbul, Turkey: Ayhan Sahenk Foundation. Till, J. (2012). Is doing architecture doing research? In 4IAU 4a Jornadas Internacionales sobre Investigación en Arquitectura y Urbanismo, Valencia. TUIK: Türkiye ˙Istatistik Kurumu, Turizm ˙Istatistikleri. (2017). Retrieved June 11, 2019, from UNESCO: Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia. (2019). Retrieved June 15, 2019, from Yaneva, A., & Guy, S. (2008). Understanding architecture, accounting society. Science Studies, 21(1), 3.

4 The Robots Are Here Idongesit Williams

Introduction The earth is an actor network consisting of different heterogeneous and unstable actor networks. These actor networks are interconnected biologically, chemically, and physically. These networks are numerous and they shape the world, as we know it today. Even our existence depends on the interconnectedness of these actor networks. For example, plants and humans are different, and one of the ways they are interconnected is via the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen between themselves. Therefore, it is hard to imagine the existence of humans without plants. Nevertheless, the interconnectedness of the different actants in the earthly actor network provides the balance that sustains life and human activity on earth. An imbalance in one of the networks has an effect on other actor networks within planet earth. The effect could either I. Williams (B) CMI‚ Department of Electronic Systems, Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2020 I. Williams (ed.), Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory,



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be a positive or negative. An example of an imbalance with a potential negative effect is that of global warming. Environmentalists have identified the industrial activities of man as one of the reasons for the global rise in temperature. This rise in temperature has an effect on biodiversity (D’Amen and Bombi 2009), melts the polar ice (Hanna et al. 2008), affects our weather patterns (Vidya et al. 2020), which affects can directly affect our agricultural sector as well as our economy (Chen 2019). These endangered areas are inscribed actor networks. Other imbalances could produce mixed effects. An example is the imbalance created by the current COVID-19 Pandemic. Currently One million people are infected globally and the COVID-19 or Corona virus is very contagious (Kooraki et al. 2020). The actions of this virus had an impact on as the global economy (McKibbin and Fernando 2020); work place practices and inter-human relationships (social distancing) (Dingel and Neiman 2020), relationship with the environment and human interaction with drugs that relieve flu symptoms has been affected (Goodman and Giles 2020), etc. The list of inscribed actor networks is infinite. However, one of the positives is that the lockdown measures imposed by national governments around the world have resulted in Smog free cities (Brandon 2020). Furthermore, research has indicated that there was a correlation between clean air and the reduction in the spread of the virus (Sterpetti 2020). Nevertheless, the point is that isolated actor networks do not exist. They are connected either physically, chemically, or biologically. They are also unstable, volatile, and heterogeneous. Despite the interconnectedness, most of these actor networks evolve socially if either human or living things that are non-human actors has influence on the network. The actor networks with greater social evolution are human influenced actor networks. Human led actor networks are diverse, unstable, dynamic, and always evolving. This is because humans possess the desire to push boundaries. Human influence on actor networks often result in their emergence of as the focal actor in such an actor network. This is because humans, based on higher intelligence possess and exhibit the capacity to destabilize and recreate new actor networks out of existing actor networks inorder to achieve their desired goals. This has been the attitude of humans from pre-historic Paleolithic (early Stone Age) times date. Hence, humans have largely monitored,

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governed and have tried to exert control over the biological, chemical, and physical actor networks on planet earth. Largely they have carried out this task as the focal Actor in the global actor network ethically. Obviously they are yet to govern force majeure, but it could be a matter of time. Anyway, on a global scale humans can be termed “guardians of the earth.” Over the ages, the achievement of humans in emerging as the global focal Actor has been enabled by their reliance on technology. Interessing the aid of technology, humans have created an interconnected world where elements from chemical and biological actor networks are now interacting in a mutually inclusive network. In the previous power relationship dynamics, between humans and technology, humans conscript technologies into their(human) actor network. In these actor networks, the role assigned to technology by humans was to mediate change that would result in the upgrade of various human civilizations. Today human civilization is so advance in such a way that mundane technologies have evolved into automated technologies. This has resulted in humans gradually weaning technology from its previous role as a mediator of change towards becoming the governor of change. Humans wean technology by gradually granting technologies the autonomy to govern and conscript actants into existing actor networks created by humans. The autonomy also enables technology to conscript actants to create new actor networks. ANT opposes this idea, as actants do not impose their will on other actants (Callon 1980). However, this chapter differs with ANT on that bit. This difference of opinion does not invalidate other aspects of ANT, it rather highlights an aspect evident in actor networks that is ignored. Nevertheless, the interconnected world inherited from nature and upgraded by humans (with the aid of technology) is gradually becoming a technology driven world. This implies that the power-relationship between technology and humans in the global actor network is changing. This also implies that our view on social translations in the future will be different from how we view it today. Obviously, this transformation will have an implication on how we study the social translation. Currently researchers have recognized the important role of automation technologies such as AI and Robots in contemporary actor networks (Richardson 2015; Shaw-Garlock 2011; Griffin et al. 2020)


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and some have proposed the identification of these technologies as social actors (Reed 2018). This is a great start. However, the gap in literature is the implication of the aforementioned changes to the study of social translations. One of the most common frameworks for the study of social translations is the 4 moments of translation by Michel Callon (Callon, 1986). This work provides an outline on how social translation takes place. This piece of work has grained traction due to its relatability to observed network interactions in other fields other than sociology. However, the inspiration for Callon’s work was the human driven actor network. Currently we are gradually moving toward autonomous technology driven actor networks. Such autonomous systems exist. This implies that the four moments of translations may or may not be adequate to study social translations for these autonomous systems led by the new “social actor (technology).” Hence the rhetorical question that comes to mind is, will the four moments of translation hold true when technologies become “masters of the Universe”? An attempt will be made to provide ideas on what the answer to this question might be. However, the ultimate aim of this chapter is to draw attention to the need to revisit sociology of translation in light of the changing reality as described. This chapter tries to set the scene for related research in that area. This chapter is divided into 5 sections. The introduction is followed by an overview of the 4 moments of translation. This is followed by a depiction on the shift in power relationship from humans to technology. The section provides a brief snapshot of this shift in power relationships from prehistoric times uphill the information age. That section is followed by a discussion on the effect the elevation of technology, as a focal actor, in current actor networks will have on the how we view sociology of translation. The section adopts a present and futuristic approach to the implication. The last section is the concluding part of the chapter.

Four Moments of Translation The concept of translation, as used in ANT, is open to interpretation (Latour 1996; Law 2009; Gross and Sonnberger 2020). One of the approaches to translation highlights a process where either an

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actant or a group of actants emerges as spokespersons for black boxes consisting of defined and interlinked entities (Shiga 2007). The emerging spokesperson from the transformation process could be a human, a nonhuman, or an inhuman actant. This approach to translation is derived from the work of Callon (1986). Although there are different sociological approaches towards describing translation (Shiga 2007), Callon’s work provides a somewhat systematic approach on how to approach translation. It is important to note that his work was not aimed providing a universal framework that highlights moments of translation. Rather his aim was to describe the moment of translation from an observable phenomena. It turns out however that Michel Callon is not the only individual that has observed these moments of translations. A great deal of Callon inpsired researchers, not just sociologists, have identified the four moments of translations in social systems (example Meurer Sela et al. 2020), technical systems (example Chitanana 2020), and sociotechnical systems (example Harker and Twum-Darko 2020). Furthermore, in our world today, these moments of translation can be identified in the evolution of human and non-human activities. Such activities include production processes, service delivery processes, and policy development processes, just to name a few. The non human activies can be observed in biological, nanophysical, technical and business ecosystems, etc, just to name a few. A brief overview of Callon’s moment of translation is as follows. Callon (1986) highlights 4 moments of translation. These are problematization, Interessement, Enrolment, and Mobilization. Problematization is the first stage. This process is led by a focal actant. The focal actant could be a single or a collective actant. The focal actant identifies the problem, its solution, and the relevant actants needed to solve the problem (ibid.). At this stage, the focal actant creates an indispensable Obligatory Passage Point (OPP). The OPP defines the action program and the relationships that need to be established between the actants. The OPP forms the basis for which the focal actor negotiates with other actant in order to conscript them into the actor network. The second stage is the Interessement phase. Here the primary actant negotiates with the needed actant to get them to accept the roles assigned to them in


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the OPP (ibid.). The third stage is the enrolment stage. This stage highlights a successful interessement stage. That is because at this stage the actants accept the roles assigned to them (ibid.). If the interessement stage is unsuccessful, the actor network formation process either stalls or collapses. The last stage is the mobilization stage. This is a stage where representative actants emerge as spokespersons for black boxes in the actor network (ibid.). The representative actant could be either one or more than one. Hence, the mobilization stage is a successful enrolment stage. Despite the wide adoption of the four moments of translation, this framework is without its deficiencies. It is evident that this framework is a high-level abstraction of the process of translation, hence metatheoretical. The four moments of translations are well defined. However, the intricacies of these four moments of translations are subject to interpretation as there are no defined rules governing the processes identified in each stage of the translation. Another deficiency is that the framework seems to diminish the role of power-relationships in the translation process. As mentioned earlier, ANT ignores inequality in the actor networks, but inequality actually exists between the actors observed in Callon’s work. For example, in the work of Michel Callon, there is a fundamental uneven relationship between the fishermen and the scallops. The scallops are coerced to anchor not because the fishermen are environmentalists and intend to create a peaceful home for the scallops. No scallops are slaves to the fishermen. Their duty is to anchor reproduce and become fished by the fishermen. Hence there is an issue of inequality there. The fact that not all actants are equal is evident in the interessement phase. This is because there are schools of thought that indicates that the focal actor could coerce other actants into the actor network (Tatnall 2001). Coercion denotes power relationships and that should have been expressed in Callon’s work. However, despite these deficiencies, the framework is still valid for analyzing high-level abstractions of moments of translations. The latitude of thought enabled by the theory fits the purpose of discussion in this chapter with a high-level abstraction of thoughts as well. In this chapter, the focus is on the age-old power-relationship that exist between humans and technology in the process of advancing human civilization.

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In actor networks where these two actants coexist, humans are always the focal actors guiding the translation process. This is because humans develop the technology they need as well as interrese other actants to solve problems. However, as the relationship between humans and technology advances, there has been a gradual shift in the power-relationship toward making technology the focal actor in the translation process. This will obviously have an impact on the future validity of the four moments of translation and the power dynamics between humans and technology. In the next section, the four moments of translation are used as a reference framework for the discussion on the evolving relationship between human and technology within the context of the four moments of translation.

The Evolving Power Relationship Between Humans and Technology Before discussing the implications of the evolution of power relationships between humans and technology, it is necessary to provide an overview on how the evolution occurred. From time immemorial, humans utilized technologies to assist in the fulfilment of specific tasks and processes and visions. Technologies, when enabled by humans produce or induce action. Hence, they are actants, but actants that perform the bidding of humans and not theirs. Once they are enabled by humans to act independently in any actor network, they possess agency. However, if they need human support in order to perform an action, that agency is reduced. The need for human has been the case until recently as will be discussed later. One can identify this point of contention as the bias in the chapter. Nevertheless, the power relationship between both actants has been unequal and mostly favoring humans. As implied in the previous paragraph, the inequality in the relationship between humans and technology has been a constant from pre-historic times until recently. Although technology has been a critical ally to humans, the interessement of technology into actor networks by humans has been coercive. The coercive nature of the interessement process is evident either, in the invention process of the new technology;


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the upgrading process; the innovation of existing technologies; or in the re-invention of a technology to fit the task for which the human intends for the technology. If one could recall in eons past most technologies then were forged in hell blazing furnaces. The product of the coerced interessement has been an upward trajectory in the proliferation of new technologies that has enabled the advancement in the development of human civilization. However, despite the inequality in power relations between both actants the strength of their relationship has been on the increase from pre-historic times until date. This strength has been enabled by the efficiency of technology in enabling humans to advance their civilization. This positive feedback from technology and trust in technology by humans resulted in the gradual over-reliance of humans on technology. This over-reliance and trust resulted in humans gradually relinquishing the reins of their actor networks. This is evident in governance (Paulin 2020), the banking sector (Kaur et al. 2020), manufacturing (Zhang and Yang 2020) and even in our homes (Rahimi et al. 2020), etc. Hence, the scale in the power relationships is actually tipping toward technology controlling human actor networks and invariably controlling human activity. This implies that someday, if it is not happening now, that technology will have the right to conscript and control human actions in certain actor networks. Let us take a very brief trip back in time to take a snapshot that could provide a rough sketch of how the over-reliance on technology led to a gradual shift in the power relationship between both actants. If one looks back into pre-history, then the encounter and interaction between humans and technology were nascent. Humans were still primitive but also exploring their environment, driven by the necessity to overcome the challenges posed by nature against their existence. The accidental discovery of fire and the potential to create tools out of stones was human’s first encounter with some form of technology (Wrangham and Gowlett 2018). Overtime, humans could develop different forms of technology from iron (Schmidt and Avery 2013), as well as copper, and bronze among other (Ottaway 2001). Using the technology tools developed, pre-historic humans created artefacts from stones copper and iron that enabled humans to transition from foraging to “cultivation

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and animal husbandry” (Bar-Yosef 1998) as well as create shelter (Barber 1991). Hence, technological tools developed at this time were aimed at enabling human survival. However, from the dawn of history through antiquity up to the middle ages, technology—slowly but gradually— evolved from being a means of survival to a tool for advancing civilization via conquest, architecture, and the stratification of social structures. The following points provide a brief snapshot of the evolution using selected ages (point of references) in history. 1. The dawn of history: At the Neolithic (new stone age) period, there was the wide scale uptake of agrarian and animal husbandry and less reliance on hunting by humans (Hole 1984). This period saw the uptake of agro-technology by humans (ibid.). However, different regions transited from pre-history into the Neolithic age at different times (Putterman 2008), Hence, the moment and process of the adoption of agro-technology by humans, across regions, differed. Nevertheless, the OPP for the adoption of agro-technologies was to scale up food production, not just for families but also for emerging communities. The social alliance of then hunters turned farmers resulted in communities (Bar-Yosef 1998). The alliance enables the communities to exploit a vast amount of territories for agriculture as opposed to one family (ibid.). The period also saw the uptake of technologies used in making pottery (Bellwood 2004). Hence, the need for innovation was critical and humans had to constantly create OPPs of which technology was a critical actant. 2. Antiquity: Another interesting point of reference is the antiquity. In between the Neolithic period and the antiquity, human society had evolved from agro-based society to organized societies. Within this time period, technology became a tool used to provide social amenities such as the building of aqueducts, water baths, public gardens, transportation, housing projects, and roads; the architectural expansion cities in empires such as Assyria, Persia, Babylonia to name a few; and the development of war machines, etc.,. Therefore, by the antiquity humans had grown used to the importance of technology. This led empires in the antiquity such as Roman and Greek empire in exporting their technology and civilization to territories


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they conquered (Curchin 2014; Jones 1964). The importance placed on the role of technology in upgrading civilization resulted in the elevation of technology within human led actor networks. This is because technology was not just a mediator but also a spokesperson in the actor network, displaying the civilization. This was evident in different inscribed actor networks, such as art, architecture, monuments, war machines, mode of transportation (both land and sea) and in water management, sanitation, etc. However, just as in the Neolithic Age and the ages in between, humans created and governed the OPP for these actor networks. 3. Middle ages and Renaissance: The middle ages or medieval times and the renaissance, are another points of reference due to the emergence of simple machines and hydraulic engineering, etc. (Mokyr 1992). Obviously previous mechanical artifacts that were present in antiquity and even in the archaic ages inspired these machines (ibid.). Therefore, the ideas were not new, rather these simple machines were either an implementation of these ideas or an innovation of existing inventions. It is at this age that humans began granting semi-autonomy to machines in human led actor networks. However, machines that gained the semi-autonomy operated in niche actor networks which required intensive human labor. Examples of such self-operating machines included flywheel, printing press (Mokyr 1992), etc. Aside the simple machines there are other non-machine technologies such as gunpowder (Khan 2004), horseshoe (Wigelsworth 2006), mechanical clock (Mokyr 1992), etc. among other that were invented. These ages also saw greater diffusion of technology and culture. In Antiquity, the intermediaries that enabled the diffusion of these technologies in other human led actor networks in other countries and regions were war and travel. Both intermediaries enabled a mediator “ideas” about technologies to diffuse easily to newer civilizations. A good example is the diffusion of the art of making Gunpowder and the printing press from the East (China) to the West (Khan 2004; McLay 2011). The trajectory of the diffusion of Gunpowder from China to the West was wars (McLay 2011). Other examples are the description of technologies Marco Polo encountered in the East and the inspirational drawings of Leonardo Da Vinci. These descriptions

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served as inspiration for the replication of such technologies in other jurisdictions. Technology still emerged as one of the spokespersons in human led actor networks. However, there were parallel humans actor networks that were expounding and documenting the science behind the technology. A part of the influence to this parallel actor network wase ancient Greek Philosophies. The spokesperson in that network was science. While the spokespersons in actor networks involving technology was innovation. 4. First industrial revolution: However, after the Middle Ages and the renaissance, Humans had interresed science into actor networks aimed at advancing human civilizations. In the first industrial revolution, Science enabled became a mediator, which enabled the greater potentials of technology to be unveiled resulting in, semi-autonomous operating, mechanical, electrical, wind, and water driven technologies. Therefore, the role of technologies in different actor networks was elevated. This was evident in manufacturing, agriculture, mining, transportation, city planning, etc. Hence technology became an active partner with humans in the upgrade of human civilization. Humans operating industries were able to, attain competitive advantage, lower their production overhead costs as well as maximize profit. These benefits occurred because the use of technology implied the reduction in work force needed to perform factory functions, in which the technology was more efficient in performing. On the other hand humans also had access to innovative technologies such as the gramophone (for entertainment), home electricity, advanced carriages, house plumbing, etc. One could say that the semi-autonomy granted to technology by humans resulted in the modernization of societies, hence modernization became the spokesperson of the actor networks where technology was involved. Nevertheless, it was in the industrial age that the age-old relationship between humans and technology was strengthened. 5. Second Industrial revolution: The active partnership between human and technologies became stronger in the second industrial revolution. This was the age where Information and communication Technologies (ICT) were developed and technology was used to modernize society. Such modernization efforts include extending the supply of


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electricity; extracting and refining petroleum; and the development of Steel. However, the technology that would revolutionize the relationship between man and technology in a very significant way was the ICTs. ICTs emerged due to the innovations that emerged from the telegraph and electronic tabulation (Williams, 2020a). The telegraph became an inspiration for long distance communication. While the Electronic tabulator was the inspiration for machines that can handle complex computations. By the end of the second industrial revolution, these technologies were found useful by government agencies, industry stakeholders (Williams 2020b; 2018), and citizens. It is important to note that citizens used more of the electric telegraph. The electronic tabulators were mostly for government agencies. Nevertheless, this was the moment in history where humans began developing an OPP toward a technology driven world enabled by ICTs. 6. Transition between the second Industrial revolution and Information age: This was a transition period in the relationship between humans and ICTs. The aim was to interesse technology into the OPP developed at the end the second industrial revolution by human industrialists such as Alexander Bell who envisioned telephones for all (Compaine and Weinrub 1997). This period in human history is characterized with the imposition of the will of humans on ICTs. The idea was to develop ICTs that will become the major drivers of society. It is within these periods that visions about Artificial Intelligence, robotics, wireless telephony, the various technologies of the current World Wide Web were planned (CHM 2019). Technology was coerced in different research based actor networks by humans to produce the necessary actions that will lead to the manifestation of the world envisaged by humans. This is still the case today. The research networks involved those of the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, and medical sciences. The spokespersons of the different actor networks were ICTs that drive other technologies; ICTs that support e-government and e-governance; Technologies that support media rich remote communications; new business models; electronic commerce; and evolved sciences. These spokespersons ushered the

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world into the Information age and became actants in the information age themselves. 7. Information age: This age saw the interresement of and enrolment of the ICT spokespersons in the previous age into different global actor networks. For the first time in the world’s history, there was a global effort to facilitate the aforementioned interesements and enrolments. Inscribed networks such as International Governmental Agencies, national government agencies, donor agencies, and continental governance agencies developed global, regional, and national OPPs, where technology was identified as an enabler (a mediator) for sectoral and societal development. They utilized Intermediaries such as regulations, policy, organizational change management procedures, institutional change management procedures and regional change management procedures enabled the diffusion of ICTs (Blackman 1998). They also provided financial incentives and deployment incentives as mediators to attract researchers and ICT providers toward the deployment of ICTs in various jurisdiction around the globe. These incentives enabled these researchers and ICT providers to research into more advanced technologies as each of them were eager to outdo the other. As a result, toward the end of the information age, basic ICTs enabled by mobile telephone networks existed in every part of the globe. As ICTs diffused, around the globe, toward the end of the information age humans developed new socio-cultural ways of life. This was because ICT services bridged diverse cultures around the globe, so humans could choose how they want to behave. They now had a new identity or persona. Hence a new global community emerged called the Internet (not the technology). Hence phrases like, “the internet went wild” or the “breaking the internet” or the personification of the internet such as “the internet does not agree with you” are now common. Hence, technology has been able to create new social actor networks. The most common and the biggest being “the Internet” (not the technology). Subset of “the Internet” includes “youtubers,” “Facebook family,” and twitter “hash tags” to mention a few. Aside the Internet as a whole, platforms like Facebook and Youtube have become a platform where people share emotional details of their lives.


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It is unheard of in time past, as you share details about your life to, not just friend, but very close friends. The reason for this act is because, most people do not have physical friends they can trust but they trust the unknown stranger “friend” whom they have never seen. These are examples of how technology has reframed our social lives. There are myriads of other examples, online dating, online protest being one of them. Similarly, the gradual use of ICT had an effect in the business world. First of all cash was no more the only legal tender. There were alternatives such as mobile pay, mobile money tokens, and even cryptocurrency. Aside that, the ability of ICTs to control and manipulate other technologies implies that there were certain actor networks in the business world, Technology could handle. These potentials resulted in: • the greater adoption of e-commerce; • the employment of less human help by Small and Medium Scaled Enterprises (SMEs); • the emergence of new and emerging business models; • the potential for networking between companies locally and internationally; • the portable deployment and movement of assets; • the possibility to outsource and collaborate with other companies in real-time; • and the use of ICT for managing partners, customers, transactions, tasks, processes, and production. Furthermore, ICTs are now integral parts of research. It is the tool for statistics, forecasting and predictions; monitoring and the evaluation, modelling of digital twins; the modelling of various other global actor networks, be they physical, chemical, or biological. In different sectors of the economy there are myriads of examples where some ICT is used in an actor network. In other words,. ICTs are pervasive (Blackman 1998) in most sections of society. Hence, one could say that ICT in the Information age has fulfilled a part of it role in the OPP designed by various human visionaries at the end of the second

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industrial age. However as human relationship with ICTs and other technologies grew, so did trust in technology by humans. 8. Automation age: Today we are in the automation age and the same global actor network that helped the advancement of the information is playing a part in the fulfilment of the promise of the age. But the grand plan is far from being achieved. Nevertheless, in many actor networks, ICT enabled machines or robots are in control. This implies that industry players are far ahead of the global network. Currently some factories are fully automated. The society and homes are still lagging but some are automated. The result is the emergence of smart cities and smart homes. Although technology controls some of the actor networks humans are still in control of the actor networks and technology still exhibits soft power in general. Nevertheless, humans are now increasingly relinquishing control technologies such as AI, Robots, and even Blockchains. OPPs are created for these technologies, which grants them powers to control actor networks such as transaction-based actor networks, Operational-based actor networks, governance-based actor networks, and even actor networks that are social networks. These technologies are designed to accept or reject human intervention based on pre-defined interessement and enrolment criteria. Let us take Blockchain as an example. Blockchains were originally developed to enable secured transactions, transparency, and trust between untrusting partners (BlockchainHub 2018). It creates an OPP where the operations of each partner are visible to the other partners. Hence, it is easy to track, trace, and validate transactions and processes. However, in a situation where the human actors on the Blockchain validate a wrong transaction or process, once that transaction is added to the Blockchain, it is deemed valid. The human stakeholders cannot intervene, as the Blockchain does not permit erasure. If humans try to change the hash key, it messes up the Blockchain altogether. However, despite the existence of this OPP, Blokchain is adopted by government agencies and industries around the globe (Chandler 2019; Anwar 2009; Mearian 2019; Werwitzke 2020; TE-FOOD 2019). Another example is AI, in the case of AI, once their OPP is set, it is left for the AI to govern the actor network using that OPP. Human intervention is not here.


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In summary, if we look back through the ages, it is obvious that humans have imposed their will on technology. The imposition of “this will” shapes technology to fulfil its role in the intended actor network. However here at the automation age, humans are gradually diminishing their role in preference of technologies in actor networks. Hence, humans are transiting into a technology driven live. A fully technology driven life is on its way, as will be discussed later. Nevertheless, the transition in the power relations implies that we are moving into a new world where human operations in actor networks will be governed by technology. Imagine having a robot police arresting you for a crime. However, as this change occurs, what does this mean for sociology of translations? Will robots and AI still problematize, interrese, and enroll? That is reflected upon in the next section.

Implications of the Evolving Power Relationship to 4 Moments of Translation As highlighted in the previous section, some ICT enabled technologies exerts soft power over humans. As discussed, this is not a subtle takeover of planet earth or a plot from a sci-fi movie. Rather humans have granted soft power to technology. Humans do so based on trust. Furthermore, they currently assist some of the technologies in the sociology of translation process. Hence, as long as humans program technology, problematization, interessement, enrolment, and mobilization will always be part of the actor network even when technology is the focal actant. Humans have always been able to engrain these moments of translation in the process of developing technology. They can do so by adding supporting information based technology to the main technology or they co-share the responsibility of leading the actor network with the technology. Let’s take a look at how that could work. The different ways humans assist the translation process are as follows: 1. Problematization: From the 2000s, most ICT technologies have been developed with default OPPs. This implies that the technologies are developed not to just support existing industry but revolutionize

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the industry. That will imply the adoption of new business models (Makridakis 2017; Bloem et al. 2014). The catch though for businesses is the potential toward becoming competitive and making profit (ibid.). Hence existing businesses, lured by this promise often neglect existing technologies to adopt the new one with its new business model. This trend is evident in the influence of technologies such as the mobile technologies (3G, 4G, and now 5G), computing technologies (Blockchain, cloud computing, etc.), sensor based technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and robotics. However, so far quite unlike that witnessed in the 4 moments of translation (Callon 1986), there are two partner focal actants. That is the human and the technology. The human problematizes and develops the OPP while the technology embodies the OPP. The human who produced the technology is a temporal focal actant, whose leadership ends after enrolment while the technology is the permanent focal actant whose leadership continues until the actor network breaks down. Any human who is not the producer of the technology is a mediator in the network. They are unable to tamper with the OPP. 2. Interessement: Unlike the problematization process, the involvement of the human producer here is limited. However the partnership continues. The interessement process is a joint action by both actants. Examples of joint actions could be road shows, advertisement, etc. where the human speaks and the technology performs. However, despite the joint action, the technology ultimately decides if the interresed actant can join the technology driven actor network or otherwise. This implies that if the human focal actant attempts to interreses an artifact or another human that does not comply with the rules of the OPP, the technology will bar that entry. For example, an AI system controls the door to a mall and that door has to scan only human eye pupil to grant access to a single customer per time. Assuming the owner of the mall who installed the door invites everyone in town to visit the mall and a young boy shows up with his dog, he will enter the mall but his dog will not have access. That is because the robot was designed to scan human eye pupil. Hence, in this case, the AI overrides the owner of the mall, who forgot to announce that pets are not allowed in the mall. Another example is


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a self-driving car. There will be rules for starting, driving, and stopping self-driving cars; humans will sell the self-driving cars. Assuming the would-be buyer fails to obey the rules, the car will not drive. The partnership between the focal actants is not a panacea for a successful interessement. This is because interessement is not always guaranteed. 3. Enrolment: The role of the focal human actant diminishes here. In the event that the interresement is successful, then all actants involved will begin to play their part. Further negotiations are needed here if an actant agrees with an assigned role but decides not to take up the role for any reason. Then the human focal actor can intervene. 4. Mobilization: At this stage, the various spokespersons elected by the member of the network emerge. As mentioned earlier, it could be a product, an act, a delegation, a way of life, etc. The focal human actant has no role here. But other human actants that are part of the network have a role here. This translation process will be evident in the advancement of Industry 4.0 (advanced manufacturing), the development of self-driving cars, automated homes, and other areas where technology exhibits soft power. Hence the 4 moments of translation is bound to be valid for a while. But as mentioned in the previous section, a point is coming when technology will create itself and the needed OPP. There will be no human intervention. A perceivable example can be found by looking back into middle of the information age. If you needed a website, you would pay a professional that will develop it for you. Now today you pay a platform owner, he/she grants you access to the platform’s web designing platform. All you do is drag and drop and few minutes you have a website. You upload your content and go to bed and the system works for you. That is what we can perceive now. But as will be discussed, at some point technology will exhibit full power and humans will have to be permitted by the technology to either join or remain in the network. The ICT technology likely then to play a similar central role as ICTs today is Artificial Intelligence (AI), to be specific Artificial Super Intelligence. They will be the brains behind machines and robots. This is easy to predict because western governments and different industries have

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been interested in AI (Williams, E-Government, Yesterday, Today and in the Future, 2020a). Before discussing the potential implication of Artificial Super Intelligence led actor networks on the 4 moments of translation, let’s take a very brief overview of AI. There are 4 types of AI. These are reactive machines, limited memory, theory of mind, and self-awareness (Senthilkumar 2020; Gollapudi 2019). 1. Reactive AI: They are common today. They are programmed with neither stored memory nor to use past experience (ibid.). Siri, Google’s Alpha Go, and IBM’s deep blue are examples of such AIs. They are also used in manufacturing plants. They are reliable because they are repetitive but they do not engage. 2. Limited memory AI: As the name implies they hold limited memory (ibid.). They can interact but by fetching the relevant answer from what they have stored. In instances where they lack information, they are limited. However, in order to create space for more information, the stored information lasts for a short period. This type of AI is being implemented in self-driving cars. 3. The theory of mind AI: It does not exist yet, but it will exist in future. This AI will be emotionally intelligent; will be able to understand the psychology of humans and Interact with humans (ibid.). Such AI will be able to become a part of human society as well as learn from humans in order to be able to interact with humans. 4. Self-aware AIs are those that possess their own independent consciousness (ibid.). These types of AI are categorized into three. Artificial Narrow Intelligence (Reactive machines). The term narrow is used because they can perform narrowly defined tasks (Kaplan and Haenlein 2019). The next stage is Artificial General Intelligence (limited memory AI). The term general is used because they can think and make decisions (ibid.). The final stage is Artificial Super Intelligence (ibid.). They are humanized AI (theory of Mind and the Self Aware AI). This is when the capacity of AI surpasses that of humans.


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In other words, we can say that the future is sci-fi made real. Anyway, that was a digression. But by analyzing the 4 types of AI, it is evident that in the future technology will grant agency to men. Currently reactive AI and limited memory AI are here and exhibiting soft power granted by human. For example, voice recognition commands are needed to open doors, control home lighting systems, smart homes, etc. But when the theory of mind and self-awareness AIs are in charge of earthly actor networks, will the observable 4 levels of translation in Callon (1986) work still be valid? That is difficult to predict but also highly doubtful. We have to look at it in two ways. In instances that involve machine-to-machine activity, the 4 moments of translation will not exist. That will just be a master-slave relationship. They will just function as programmed. However, for machine-to-human activity there is the probability of enrolment and mobilization. Problematization might be scaled down to just an OPP and identifying the actants needed. However, this is very uncertain.

Conclusion As the title of this chapter indicates, the robots are here. They are here because their status has been elevated in the various actor networks where they operate to that of focal actancts. Technologies have earned the trust of humans over the ages. They have been reliable in advancing human civilization. Today in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has saved economies from total collapse. All activities such as conferences, meeting, remote working, ecommerce, and even ordering from restaurants all take place on the Internet. Aside that software companies are developing applications that can track your COVID-19 status. Aside the pandemic, technologies via mobile apps support our wellbeing. There are apps that aid our workout routine, eating habits, and even how we cook. Hence, as a result of that trust, we humans are granting more powers and autonomy to technology. However as seen in this chapter, the gradual emergence of technology as the focal actant in different actor networks such as commerce, the environment, our home and industries, etc., has an implication on the 4

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moments of translation and potentially on the Sociology of translation as a whole. So far, there are signs that the 4 moments of translation will still be observable in different technology driven translation processes in the near future. But after that no one is certain. Despite this mixed conclusion, there is the need to study sociology of translation as a whole with power relationships in mind. This will enable the research to move to human-centric translation to technology-centric translations. Just as the title of the chapter reads “the Robots are here,” we should acknowledge it in research and grant them the place due them in the sociology of translation.

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5 Developing a Framework for Understanding How Media Entrepreneurs Act: An Actor-Network Perspective Aidin Salamzadeh and Taher Roshandel Arbatani

Introduction Entrepreneurs are change agents in society (Medina Vidal 2015; Achtenhagen 2020; Tsourvakas and Riskos 2018; Tokbaeva 2019; Will et al. 2020). Their actions are a source of inspiration and change in different industries and economies (Radovic Markovic and Salamzadeh 2012, 2018). As critical actors of the economy, they take advantage of a variety of networks (Sharafi Farzad et al. 2019; Emami et al. 2020; Emami and Khajeheian 2019). Therefore, the idea of studying their approach, based on an actor-network perspective, could be beneficial. Scholars such as Korsgaard (2011), Jóhannesson (2012), Gardner and Lehnert (2016), Smith et al. (2017) have investigated this approach and opened new A. Salamzadeh (B) · T. Roshandel Arbatani Faculty of Management, Department of Business Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran e-mail: [email protected] T. Roshandel Arbatani e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2020 I. Williams (ed.), Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory,



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windows of opportunity for future researchers. However, this approach is used to study commercial entrepreneurs. On the other hand, the media industry provides a fertile ground for entrepreneurs, in this case, media entrepreneurs (Hang and Van Weezel 2007; Ebrahimi et al. 2019; Khajeheian 2016, 2017, 2019; Khajeheian et al. 2018), to identify, evaluate, and exploit entrepreneurial opportunities using different networks (Salamzadeh et al. 2019b; Achtenhagen 2020). This consideration is by a variety of media business models (Zanjani et al. 2013; Salamzadeh et al. 2019a). It is noteworthy that media entrepreneurs act proactively in emerging media markets that are dominated by large traditional companies. Examples of such companies include the big six that are hard to compete against (Khajeheian 2016). Nevertheless, media entrepreneurs such as founders of social media platforms and online media networks, have changed the competitive landscape (Compaine and Hoag 2012; Gardner and Lehnert 2016; Gustafsson and Khan 2017) by taking advantage of new possibilities such as co-creation (Hamidi et al. 2020; Khajeheian and Ebrahimi 2020), open innovation (Rauter et al. 2019; Hahn et al. 2019), use of Big data analytics (Nemati and Khajeheian 2018), and platformsbased business models (Arbatani et al. 2019a). The main unanswered research question is, therefore, how one could analyze the way media entrepreneurs act? Thus, in this chapter, after providing a review of the extant literature on media entrepreneurship, actor-network theory (ANT) and its connection to entrepreneurship are investigated. Finally, the connection between media entrepreneurship and ANT is elaborated, and some propositions are proposed for further investigation by future researchers.

Media Entrepreneurs: The Global Change Agents Media entrepreneurship is a concept that was coined more than a decade ago (Hoag 2008; Achtenhagen 2008). Nevertheless, there is a lack of consensus on what the concept implies (Khajeheian 2017). Just like entrepreneurs in all aspects of economic development, media

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entrepreneurs are change agents within media markets, but they were few (Salamzadeh et al. 2019c; Labafi and Williams 2018). At the advent of digital media, this trend has dramatically changed, and more entrepreneurs are now part of the media market (Khajeheian and Tadayoni 2016). Traditional media firms who were mostly large state-funded firms dominated the media market. Soon after the advent of digital media, non-electronic (print) media evolved into electronic media, where electronic technologies were used to exploit more significant media related entrepreneurial opportunities (Horst and Murschetz 2019). As more media entrepreneurs emerged so did creative media business models. These business models made competition extremely difficult for large media companies who were still using traditional business models (Kind et al. 2009; Salamzadeh et al. 2014, 2016a, 2019b). For instance, while several large media firms are using voice-on-demand and audio-on-demand as innovative practices in their conventional business models, media startups were using innovative streaming technologies to render their services to their audience. Furthermore, large media firms invested in infrastructural equipment, while agile small media firms made smart investments aimed at improving their audience engagement indicators (Salamzadeh and Radovic Markovic 2018; Salamzadeh 2018). These were the attributes of the new class of entrepreneurs—Media entrepreneurs. Hence, media entrepreneurs are also those agents who propose business models that exploit entrepreneurial opportunities in the media market. The potential market influence of media entrepreneurs is global. That makes the media entrepreneur a global agent of change. One of the reasons for this global influence of media entrepreneurs lies in the characteristic of media products in themselves, which obviously has an influence in the description of the media entrepreneur (Khajeheian and Roshandel Arbatani 2011). For instance, these entrepreneurs deliver digital goods. Digital goods are non-rival, extremely expansible, discrete, spatial, and recombinant (Chiu and Lin 2012). When one audience uses a digital good, it does not diminish the utility of the digital good for the subsequent audiences. Secondly, digital goods, when produced are


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not finite, and at the rate of production is rapid and the cost of production is either very low or negligible. Thirdly, digital goods are extremely expansible. Fourthly, digital goods are discrete, as one could make unlimited copies of it and share it easily. Fifthly, digital goods are ubiquitous as they are available everywhere at the same time, depending on the channel of distribution. Finally, new digital goods have properties that are absent from their origins. Media entrepreneurs can be spotted today. Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook), Larry Page (co-founder of Google), Ma Huateng (founder of Tencent), Jan Kuom (founder of WhatsApp), Evan Spiegel (founder of Snapchat), Reid Hoffman (founder of Linkedin), Sean Parker (founder of Napster), Jack Dorsey (founder of Twitter), Yoshikazu Tanaka (founder of Gree), and Hae Jin Lee (founder of Line) are among the most well-known media entrepreneurs. Their media entrepreneurship influences our lives resulting in a change in our daily habits and lifestyle. As one could see, their influence extends beyond the traditional and national boundaries, and their influence has changed billions of lives around the globe. The influence of digital media in our lives has increased the net worth of media entrepreneurs as compared to their commercial peers. For instance, if you compare the net worth of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of a new media firm, to that of Rupert Murdoch, the founder of an old media, it is evident that their respective firm delivers similar value. Nevertheless, Zuckerberg’s net worth had risen to one billion US dollars in three years, while Murdoch’s net worth got to that same level after forty years. The same picture can be seen if comparison is made between the founders of Linkedin, Reid Hoffman, and Charles Dolan, the founder of Cablevision Systems. The growth rate of their respective network is also different. The annual growth rate of Linkedin is higher than eighty percent, while the annual growth rate of Cablevision Systems was lower than one percent. Therefore, studying how these media entrepreneurs emerge and act in order to experience such growth is of significance (Goodarzi et al. 2018; Buschow and Laugemann 2020). For instance, in the view of Abernathy and Sciarrino (2019), they consider this domain by elaborating the strategic digital media as an emerging concept, which is both

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critical and influential in the global economy. The strategic characteristic of digital media enables these media entrepreneurs to use their strategic insights, combine it with their entrepreneurial alertness (discovery view) or creative destruction (creative view) approaches to explore, evaluate, and exploit entrepreneurial opportunities (Salamzadeh et al. 2016b, 2017; Emami and Khajeheian 2019; Horst and Hitters 2020; Nel et al. 2020). Other researchers, such as García-Avilés et al. (2019) investigate how journalists innovate their traditional newsrooms by integrating their innovative insights by using digital platforms. This type of approach is considered as corporate media entrepreneurship, a concept which is an emerging area of research (Khajeheian 2019). Corporate media entrepreneurship shows attempts by traditional media firms to act more entrepreneurial. It also highlights the intention of traditional media firm toward paving the way for innovative entrepreneurial activities in order to make notable changes in their current business models (Hang 2016; Sharifi et al. 2019). There have been multiple case studies scrutinizing these innovative approaches, as practiced by a variety of media firms. For example, Price Schultz and Jones (2017) studied two cases of corporate media entrepreneurship in urban and rural areas of the United States who strived to succeed in the media industries. Armstrong (2017) also studies these approaches in light of the challenges faced by a traditional TV in the digital age. He further raised critical questions about how the digital age and new business models could affect traditional TV stations. Moreover, Cwynar (2019) in investigating these approaches, highlighted the notion of self-service media. His approach toward reality podcasts and entrepreneurial aspects of media entrepreneurs is remarkable in revealing some of these innovative approaches. Aside from the case studies, some scholars studied media entrepreneurs at a macro-level (Ngwainmbi 2005; Sounaye 2013; Thomkaew et al. 2019). For instance, Himel (2017) investigated the factors that impact on the intention of media entrepreneurs in media markets. He believes that media entrepreneurs like social entrepreneurs (Cha 2020), are innovators of their society. This is because their invention causes a change in cultures, beliefs, and values. In another study, Baker and Scott (2018)


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focused on capacity building as a driver for creating media entrepreneurs. They further highlighted how these entrepreneurs could improve the country’s welfare. Moreover, Artero and Manfredi (2016) raised the question that are media entrepreneurs distinct compared to other types of entrepreneurs? They enumerated some competencies and skills of media entrepreneurs that could change their societies.

Actor-Network Theory and Entrepreneurship As Korsgaard (2011) argues, the actor-network theory merges insights from semiotics with emphasis on the constitutive force of daily practice found mainly in ethnomethodology and symbolic interactionism. The semiotic approach conveys that words derive their meaning based on their relationships to other words in a phrase (Bruni and Teli 2007). Such words have no intrinsic properties nor infer meaning from extralinguistic reality. According to ANT, the identity of any object results from its relationship with other objects. Therefore, objects, human beings, non-human entities, and even abstracts are defined based on their relations within a typical network (Alcadipani and Hassard 2010). Socio-material descriptions are among the most generally accepted views developed within the ANT. According to an example proposed by Latour (1999), a gun without a human who uses it could not kill a person. Consequently, a combination of these two elements—both human and non-human—could result in mortality. In addition, according to ANT, the reality is the consequence of a set of practices in multiple forms. It is also a combination of social, technological, and material elements (Lee and Hassard 1999). If one does not consider the interactions and interconnectedness between these elements, the ANT is not conceivable (Murdoch 2001). This theory approaches both human and non-human elements as symmetric elements in analyzing reality. Therefore, the social and material aspects of the reality are mutually constitutive, based on the more precise aspects of the theory (Murdoch 1997). This makes the relationship between ANT and entrepreneurship controversial, as the entrepreneurial research is dominated by positivist and functionalist

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approaches which use variance-based models, but ANT approaches are constructivist. However, these two are similar to other approaches such as post-structuralist, social constructivist, and narrative insights (Korsgaard 2011). These led to a series of research works conducted by entrepreneurship researchers who considered ANT as their theoretical approach. For instance, Korsgaard (2011) tried to connect discovery theories of entrepreneurial opportunities to this approach, although he tried to enumerate the differences as well. Table 5.1 shows how he differentiated the two theories of entrepreneurship and ANT. Table 5.2 shows the connection between these two theories and ANT. He argues that although the creation theory criticizes the discovery view, therefore, it needs more attention to become an alternative to discovery approach. Generally, there are three main views of entrepreneurial opportunity— which is the core concept in entrepreneurial studies (Eckhardt and Shane 2003). These views include discovery, creative, and allocative approaches (Sarasvathy et al. 2010; Emami et al. 2020). These approaches have mainly become a departure point for defining media entrepreneurship in previous studies such as Khajeheian (2017) and Salamzadeh et al. (2019b). We further developed the tables by adding the creative view (Eckhardt and Shane 2003). Table 5.1 Differences between discovery and creative views of entrepreneurship and ANT Agency

Process Opportunity

The discovery view

The creative view

The ANT approach

Singular agency–one protagonist (the alert entrepreneur) Linear and staged

Singular agency–one protagonist (the creative destructor) Indeterminate and non-linear An indefinite and subjective situation which will be created through creative destruction

Distributed agency–multiple protagonists

Definite, objective and existing before the entrepreneurial process

Indeterminate and non-linear A relational effect created in conversational and material interactions

Authors’ elaboration based on Korsgaard (2011) and Sarasvathy et al. (2010)


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Table 5.2 Mapping discovery and creative views of entrepreneurship and ANT The discovery view

The creative view

The ANT approach

Enterprising individual

A human individual with specific psychological, cognitive and experiential characteristics

A human individual with specific creative characteristics

A relational effect continuously (re)created in conversational and material interactions


An objectively existing object in the market represented through price differences

A subjective situation in an entrepreneur’s creative mind

A relational effect created in conversational and material interactions


Objectively existing structure beyond the control of individual actors and organizations

The subjective structure which is in an entrepreneur’s mind which will be revealed through creative destructions

A concrete network of actors engaging in ordered interactions

Research focus in the ANT perspective Individual as embedded in entrepreneurial practices and the network of relations that allows the individual to appear as acting. Focus on the various enactments of the entrepreneur and their functions Opportunities embedded in the entrepreneurial process that makes it appear as an object with specific characteristics. Focus on the enactments, representations and functions of the opportunity Markets as performed in actual practices. Focus on the concrete local interactions and mobilization processes

Authors’ elaboration based on Korsgaard (2011) and Sarasvathy et al. (2010)

Following Korsgaard’s (2011) prominent work, numerous scholars connected ANT to other concepts in entrepreneurship. These concepts include entrepreneurial leadership (Smith et al. 2017), effectuation (Murdock and Varnes 2018), entrepreneurial process (Lamine et al. 2016), and entrepreneurial networks (Lamine et al. 2019). Nevertheless, there is a lack of consensus on how to use this approach, i.e., ANT,

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in entrepreneurship research among some of these scholars due to their ontological and epistemological standpoints of view.

Actor-Network Theory and Media Entrepreneurs Although connecting media entrepreneurship with ANT is an interesting research area, it has not investigated before by researchers. For instance, Kumar and Rangaswamy (2013) investigated the mobile media actornetwork in urban India. However, their focus was not on the media entrepreneurship—ANT nexus. Instead, they explained how the practice of piracy increases the consumption of media, encouraged increased adoption of technology, and increased the digital literacy of Indian mobile users. In a similar study, Kumar (2013) took the same approach, and the concentration was also on mobile and media, which resulted in similar findings regarding the use of technologies. Lorenzen (2018) investigated media startups and mentioned the importance of using ANT in such studies. The focus on media entrepreneurship was also missing. In another research, García-Avilés et al. (2019) argued that the advancement of a variety of technologies is significantly essential in media industries. ANT was also used as a lens in this study to explain their thoughts, but the focus still was not on media entrepreneurship. Horning (2012) also marginally pointed out the importance of applying ANT in media research. Therefore, there is the need in the extant literature, for the elaboration on the connection between ANT and media entrepreneurship. To do so, this chapter takes advantage of the general entrepreneurship frameworks as explained by (Korsgaard 2011) and create network connections using the ANT. This approach makes it possible for us to provide a better understanding of this nexus. The basis for the Actor-Network is grounded in the following questions. What makes media entrepreneurs different from other types of entrepreneurs, such as commercial, social, civic, and academic entrepreneurs? How do these entrepreneurs act? Are their networking possibilities different from other entrepreneurs? What about their agency? Is it singular or distributed? How do they identify


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entrepreneurial opportunities? Is the process linear or non-linear? There are several questions which remained unanswered. These answers will reveal an actor-network that will add extra value to extant literature dealing with social media and digital technologies (see Hooper and Kearins 2007; Luoma-aho and Vos 2010; Aniemeka 2013; Salamzadeh et al. 2013; Dahnil et al. 2014; Westlund and Lewis 2014; Taffel 2015; Shabani 2016; Picazo-Vela et al. 2016; John et al. 2016; Arasti and Salamzadeh 2018; Khajeheian 2020). In order to elaborate the answers to the questions mentioned above, this chapter adopts an approach that pays attention to four main issues: (i) agency, (ii) process, (iii) opportunity, and (iv) market. Media entrepreneurs are distributed-agents whose agency is bestowed in a network by media consumers and other actors in the supply chain. This actor-network consists of a cluster of different types of networks that enable social media platforms as well as media platforms with triadic business models (Andreassen et al. 2018; Hamborg et al. 2019; Salamzadeh et al. 2019a; Jabło´nski and Jabło´nski 2020). In this actornetwork, every player in the supply chain is an agent. However, the activities of most agents are more pronounced than the other. Pronounced agencies in these markets are pluralistic in nature. They are a combination of media entrepreneurs and the audience that interact with the media to either, respectively, create or discover entrepreneurial opportunities in media markets. This approach is, to some extent, different from that of the general entrepreneurs who should be the sole protagonist and recognize entrepreneurial opportunities (Korsgaard 2011). Proposition 1: Media entrepreneurs are multiple protagonists whose agency is bestowed in a network in media markets. In this actor-network, entrepreneurial opportunity serves as the mediator between the media entrepreneur and the audience. Moreover, the process of identifying entrepreneurial opportunities by typical media entrepreneurs is indeterminate and non-linear, which is affected by inherent characteristics of media platforms and markets as well as the interactive nature of entrepreneurial actions of the media entrepreneur

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(Khajeheian 2017). In addition to this, the process is subject to a continuous translation of the meaning in the relationship between the media entrepreneur, media markets, and how the opportunity is treated in this relationship (Salamzadeh et al. 2019b; Brodie et al. 2019). Proposition 2: Media entrepreneurs act proactively in an indeterminate and non-linear pursuit of entrepreneurial opportunities in media markets. Entrepreneurial opportunities in media markets are also changing in terms of nature and quality, as the old legacy media becomes replaced by digital media. The change or evolution intermediaries here are humans and technology. However, this evolution creates unique entrepreneurial opportunities in the media markets (Kruikemeier and Shehata 2017). As a result, entrepreneurial opportunities become relational effects created in conversational and material interactions within media markets, among media entrepreneurs, digital technologies, as well as the audience, which are an integral part of these opportunities. Proposition 3: Entrepreneurial opportunities are relational effects generated in conversational and material interactions among actors in media markets. The actor-network in which the media entrepreneur operates is an evolving network and not static. This evolution redefines the emerging market. As a result, the market can be seen in different views and defined based on various explanations. One way of seeing the market is based on the idea for the alert media entrepreneur in the Kirznerian view. Another way the market can be viewed is from the Schumpeterian perspective, where the market is created based on the creative destruction of the media entrepreneur (Sicard 2017; Khajeheian 2018). However, if the market is to be analyzed from the ANT perspective, then the market will not have a single definition, but varied definitions based on the evolution of the actor-network. Such a market will include different human and non-human actors including the media entrepreneur, digital technologies, and audiences—engaging in regulated interactions. Emerging media markets are extremely susceptive to technological advancement as well as to user preferences (Arbatani et al. 2018, 2019b).


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Proposition 4: The market is defined as a robust network of participants, including the media entrepreneur, digital technologies, and the audiences, engaging in regulated interactions. In sum, according to the outlook of the actor-network, as described, it could be argued that investigating media entrepreneurship through ANT requires to consider remarkable axioms and presumptions. For this purpose, we should consider the different facets of interactions and relationships that resulted from the examination of the concept of media entrepreneurship from the lens of ANT. This approach is useful, as scholars could better understand and analyze this concept, and policymakers could devise relevant policies to encourage actors and enable the networks.

Conclusion Even though media entrepreneurship is an emerging field of research, the history of this domain has been highlighted from the dotcom boon in 2000, when numerous startups emerged. The start-up trend had increasingly improved in the late 2000s and 2010s when several social media platforms emerged, and media entrepreneurs revealed how they could change the world in a blink of an eye. Media entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg, Reid Hoffman, and Jack Dorsey used digital media platforms as well as global communication technologies to unveil a series of disruptive innovations that have changed our lives. This phenomenon is worth studying. In this chapter, ANT is used to study some of the relationships and interactions that enable this phenomenon. ANT defines how these entrepreneurs generally act, and more specifically, interact with a series of networks to recognize, evaluate, and exploit entrepreneurial opportunities. In this chapter, the agency of the media entrepreneur, the role of opportunity as a mediator in the creation and the shaping of the network, and the instability of the actor-network has been described. The description provides an insight into how the actor-network is formed and the basis of actor interaction.

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Therefore, in this chapter, we tried to map these two and proposed four main propositions based on this approach which could open new windows of opportunity for researchers who aspire to study media entrepreneurs further through this lens. Moreover, policymakers are advised to consider such an approach to provide a more fertile ground for media entrepreneurs who could change the economic scene of their home country. Skype is a perfect example of such an approach in Estonia which has led to proposing creative political packages such as e-residency. Finally, we recommend that future researchers go through details and conduct empirical studies.

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6 Institutional E-Learning Implementation: An Actor-Network Theory (ANT) Perspective Benjamin Kwofie, Emmanuel Dortey Tetteh, and Cephas Paa Kwasi Coffie

Introduction The chapter examines the ongoing interactions among the various actors involved in the implementation of the virtual learning platform intended for the continual engagement of students and facilitators caught up in B. Kwofie · E. D. Tetteh Koforidua Technical University, Koforidua, Ghana e-mail: [email protected] E. D. Tetteh e-mail: [email protected] E. D. Tetteh · C. P. K. Coffie School of Management and Economics, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu, China C. P. K. Coffie (B) All Nations University College, Koforidua, Ghana e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2020 I. Williams (ed.), Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory,



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the COVID-19 pandemic using the lens of the actor-network theory (ANT). The ANT offers a unique framework for making sense of the outcomes of the institution’s efforts to find a way to support and engage students’ learning while locked-up in their homes. While this is not a major problem for institutions in most developed and developing countries irrespective of the level of the institution of learning, developing economies continually find the diffusion of online digital solutions unnecessary and inconvenient despite the potential benefits. The abundance of literature on e-learning implementation and institutional experiences with different types of online learning platforms suggests that the learning curve for many institutions in this time and era is overdue. In the recent COVID-19 pandemic, one of the greatest lessons learned is the need to strengthen online digital solutions like online shopping, delivery platforms, and financing to avoid standstills in social lives and activities. However, it is unfortunate to note that none of the recent happenings make lasting impressions on the minds of some critical stakeholders on the need to explore measures to avoid future reoccurrences which may disrupt academic work. In Ghana, the call to engage in distance education left no doubt in the minds of the regulatory authorities that the medium of delivery was to be digital. This is because of the advancements in distance education from an era where the postal systems dominated engagements to a period (late 1990s) when online technologies allowed such correspondence to be deemed obsolete. This call was also necessary to ensure that the wheels of the educational system did not grind to a halt, as the current outbreak has necessitated the closure (offline and online) of primary and junior high schools in Ghana. Currently, in Ghana e-learning platforms are emerging in Universities, nonetheless, the call has been greeted with varied opinions that threaten the successful implementation of the directive. While it may appear that the regulatory institutions are threading on unchartered waters, it is worth noting that some of these institutions have varied experiences with the deployment of online virtual learning environments amidst the different levels of realization from successful technical deployment to successful integration into traditional learning contexts. Although it is possible to understand what causes

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these different levels of attainment, there is an urgent need to explore how the interactions, actions, and inactions of the various actors’ interplay to realize expected outcomes. Consequently, using the case of Koforidua Technical University, the chapter explores the institutional implementation of e-learning platforms from the actor-network theory’s perspective. The current chapter is divided into 7 sections. The introductory section is followed by a section on e-learning implementation in Higher Education Institutions (HEI). In the third section, we present the actornetwork theory and how it provides a useful lens in understanding the implications of current institutional actions in realizing intended outcomes in their effort to implement a Learning Management System (LMS) to support students’ learning online. The fourth section touches on the research methodology applied, followed by an analysis of the current case using ANT in the fifth section. A discussion is presented in the sixth section. The seventh section provides a conclusion and looks briefly at the way forward.

E-Learning Implementation in Higher Education Settings Electronic learning (e-learning) is described as the use of electronic or digital applications to learn. This mode of learning can be achieved by an individual over the intranet, intranet, on a CD, DVD, etc. The focus here is on individualized learning. Learning electronically, however, does not necessarily mean learning at a distance, e.g., learning with DVD on a personal computer. This term is often used interchangeably with online learning which also involves digitally delivered learning associated with some flexibility, structure, management, assessment, and grading via the internet. Online learning is typically delivered through a Learning Management System (LMS). An LMS is a web-based software for managing the learning process and needs of learners (Kwofie 2015; Machado and Tao 2007). The description suggests certain capabilities of an LMS: content provision and management, assessment of learning progress and achievement, possible communication with instructors


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and students, some kind of guide, administration, and management of the learning process. It also suggests the availability and accessibility of this kind of learning outside of the brick-and-mortar classroom environment through a medium that can allow for synchronous and asynchronous communication like the internet, intranet, or extranet. LMS is also referred to as Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) (Falvo and Johnson 2007) due to their ability to replicate learning environments and processes ubiquitously. Learning Management Systems are therefore integrated solutions for creating content, administering learning services, and managing the learning processes of learners (Kwofie 2015). Implementing LMS are complex engagements the outcomes of which are difficult to predict with accuracy (Kwofie 2015). Many cases of LMS implementation by institutions have been met with unsatisfactory implementation outcomes (Hogarth and Dowson 2008). Unfortunately, many of the analyses of e-learning implementation focus on the outcomes of individual initiatives in isolation rather than afford a deeper analysis of the contributions of the institutional context (Marshall 2010). Kwofie (2015) noted that research on the institutional implementation of e-learning systems was at best scanty and inadequate in providing frameworks to guide understanding guidance to institutions. Perhaps this may explain why institutions today are faced with challenges in their bid to deploy LMS platforms to support students’ learning during this COVID-19 epidemic. It is interesting to note that to date a lot of the research conducted into e-learning typically remains at the micro-level which entails actual teaching and learning with digital technologies. Arguably these issues are important if effectiveness and specified goals are to be achieved. Research at the meso-level which looks at the management, the organization, and the technology involved, however, is more scarce (Kwofie 2015; Zawacki-Richter 2009; Zawacki-Richter et al. 2009). The scarcity of this kind of research may have contributed to the ad hoc way in which educational institutions go about implementing digital technologies even though this may not necessarily be unique to educational institutions. A lot of these implementations also tend to be left in the hands of technical ICT experts whose sole objective often is to ensure the technical success of the implementation. This singular technical consideration, however,

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consisting of analysis, design, installation, configuration, and modification often does not achieve the higher institutional goals which may be to get all users to adopt the technology in a goal-oriented way. The implementation of digital technologies and any solution for that matter in an institutional context is a broader and far more complex engagement requiring a holistic consideration and approach to ensuring defined goals are accomplished. This is where theoretical frameworks such as the ANT come into provide useful perspectives on how well an implementation project is being handled. By recognizing human and non-human actors as having equal potentials of shaping the outcomes of actions either consciously or unconsciously, the theory the opportunity for a far deeper critical thinking and consideration of how best to create a network of committed, engaged, and knowledgeable actors. This is useful for the successful implementation of any digital technology in any context. In the next section, we proceed to look more critically into the actor-network theory and the tools it provides for achieving this kind of insight.

The Actor-Network Theory (ANT) The actor-network theory (ANT) is an approach adopted to understand humans and their interactions with inanimate objects. Usually, this theory is applicable in studying emerging technologies or industries driven mainly by technology. Therefore, the ANT is preferred for this study ahead of theories like the social network and institutional theories because; e-learning in Ghana is an emerging industry. While the theory is criticized on the limited explanatory power (Shim and Shin 2016), this can be resolved by combining the theory with other theories to provide description and explanation for the existence of networks. The ANT explores the mechanisms through which networks are formed and/or dismantled instead of providing reasons for the existence of networks (Callon et al. 2010). Further, it is considered as the sociology of translations and noted as a socio-technical approach to studying Information Systems (Walsham 1997). Tatnall and Burgess (2002) note that information systems are complex socio-technical entities and research into their


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implementation needs to take account of these relationships. As put by Afarikumah and Kwankam (2013), the theory hinges on the notion that to achieve any goal, a network of faithful alliances that will carry the network builders’ intentions is required to materialize their goals. They contend that the theory holds a clear view of society as a network of humans and non-human actants that interact and cooperate to pursue clearly defined goals. The theory recognizes that building a network involves the recruitment of human and non-human objects. The creation of this network is studied via inscription or translation. Specifically, the inscription studies the focal actor’s competence to offer innovative products to maintain a competitive advantage while the translation identifies and aligns with the interest of existing actors and gradually innovate to remain the focal actor through the displacement of other actors (Callon 1996). Consequently, because the focal actor’s aim is not product innovation, the study applies the translation approach to understand the institutional implementation of e-learning in Ghana. Translations are the mechanisms through which the network builder recruit actors and ensures their faithful alliance (Afarikumah and Kwankam 2013). Callon (1986), posited that the ANT comprises four moments; problematization, interessement, enrolment, and mobilization. In the next section, the description of these moments and how they help understand the intuitional e-learning implementation in Ghana, using a case in point are provided.

Problematization This is the first moment of translation which according to Callon (1986), is where an actor strives to be indispensable to other actors by defining the problem and motivating them to join the network. The main actor here suggests to the other actants that the problem would be resolved if they negotiate the ‘obligatory passage point (OPP).’ In this first stage, the theory posits that an alliance or an association between the actors can be formed through the identification of what they want (Callon 1986; Afarikumah and Kwankam 2013). According to Callon (1986), the obligatory passage point is that point where the main actor tries to

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convince all the other actors to accept the proposed network. Consequently, this stage directs the study to define the focal actor, and the challenges necessitating the proposal to diffuse e-learning in Ghana. This stage is significant because it describes the state of learning channels, the challenges, and the need for the diffusion of e-learning.

Interessement The second stage in the moment of translation is where the main actor attempts to lock the other actors into a position that has been offered to them in the network through a series of the process (Callon 1986; Afarikumah and Kwankam 2013). The main actor here tries to impose and stabilize other actors’ identities through clearly distinctive actions. The actions utilized here are developed in the problematization process with different devices being used for different actors in these actions. This helps the study to understand the reasons driving the interest of other actors. While the proposal of e-learning is not new in Ghana, the slow pace of diffusion initially and the sudden increase in diffusion provides significant insight into the decision-making processes of the actors.

Enrolment The third moment of translation is the enrolment. Here the main actor attempts to define and inter-relate the various roles that allow the other actors to enroll. According to Callon (1986), the enrolment process involves group multilateral negotiations, trials of strength, and tricks that accompany the Interessement and enable them to succeed. This signifies the readiness of actors to accept and follow the requirements of the network to keep the network intact (Shin 2010). Therefore, enrolment is the process by which other actors accept the interests defined by the main actor through the process of bargaining and making concessions. While this tests the strength of OPP and the entire network, it helps the study to understand the readiness of government institutions, educational institutions, telecommunication institutions, lecturers, students, and parents in maintaining the network.


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Mobilization The last moment of translation is the mobilization. This moment involves actions by the main actor aimed at ensuring all actors have legitimate speakers representing them in the various groupings. This also ensures that betrayals from the various groups are avoided in collective agreements (Callon 1986; Afarikumah and Kwankam 2013). According to Walsham (1997), these speakers or representatives are actors who speak or deputize for other actors. The stage helps the study to understand alliances providing support for the growth in the institutional implementation of e-learning in Ghana. To understand the ANT, there are other key concepts of the framework as a lens for understanding the implementation of a technological artifact. Table 6.1 summarizing these concepts adapted from Afarikumah and Kwankam (2013).

Research Methodology Research Approach Using the ANT, the chapter examines the interactions between the actors involved in the implementation of virtual learning platform to sustain learning during the COVID-19. Per the lack of secondary data to support rigorous empirical analysis, the qualitative approach is adopted to provide answers to the research questions. While qualitative studies have different models (Garson 2013), the chapter applies the case, study model. Although time-consuming, sometimes difficult to replicate, and the possibility of bias, this approach is justified because of the need to create new knowledge through the exploration of the emerging e-learning diffusion in Ghana.

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Table 6.1 Key Concepts of the Actor-network theory (ANT) key concepts


Actor (or Actant)

Both human beings and non-human actors such as technological artifacts. Any element which bends space around itself makes other elements dependents upon it and translates their will into the language of its own (Callon 1986) The heterogeneous network of aligned interests, including people, organizations, and standards. A set of relations in which an actor constantly influence other actors (Callon 1986) The creation and alignment of the interests in actor-network. This process consists of four major stages: problematization, interessement, enrolment, and mobilization The first process of translation during which an actor defines identities and interests of other actors that are consistent with its interests, and establishes itself as an obligatory passage point (OPP) (Callon 1986). What is the problem that needs to be solved? Who are the relevant actors? Forming the obligatory passage point. What are the obstacles? OPP refers to a situation that has to occur for all actors to satisfy the interests that have been attributed to them by the focal actor. The focal actor defines the OPP through which the other actors must pass through and by which the focal actor becomes indispensable (Callon 1986) After identifying the relevant actors and forming the obligatory passage point, getting the actors interested in and negotiating the roles and terms of their involvement. Establishing a device to make a power balance. Creating activities and sub-activities to convince and stabilize actors The third process of translation, where other actors in the network accept (or get aligned to) interests defined for them by the focal actor (Callon 1986). Actors accept the roles that have been defined for them during interessement. Strategies and activities to support actors’ enrolment and start the network Mobilization involves maintaining a commitment to a cause of action and the OPP. This phase investigates whether the delegate actors in the network adequately represent the masses










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Table 6.1 (continued) key concepts



The process by which complex actor-networks are black-boxed and linked with other networks to create larger actor-networks (Cressman 2009). Punctualization can thus convert an entire network into a single point or node in another network Whatever transforms, translates, distorts, and modifies the meaning or the elements they are supposed to carry. Their input is never a good predictor of their output; their specificity has to be taken into account every time. They can be counted not just for one but for several, for nothing, or infinity (Latour 2005) Whatever transports meaning or force without transformation: defining its inputs; is enough to define its output. Not only can it be taken as a black box, but also as a black box counting for one, even if it is internally made of many parts (Latour 2013) The different phases of a general process during which the identity of actors, the possibility of interaction and the margins of maneuver are negotiated and delimited (Callon 1986)




Source Adapted from Afarikumah and Kwankam (2013)

Case Description Established in 1997, the case University has a history of training technical graduates. The case focuses on the institutional implementation of the online Learning Management System for students and tutors with a population of over 8000 and 220, respectively. Although the institution has a history of similar project implementation, they were never able at any point in time to get all tutors and students to utilize it. This can be attributed to an unsuccessful system implementation. For any successful institutional system implementation, there must be a successful setup and configuration as well as a successful institutional process re-engineering (Tetteh et al. 2020). This time, however, there was an explicit instruction from the government and its agencies and so the outcome may be different. The technology in question to be deployed for supporting teaching and learning is the Moodle LMS. This is an open-source platform with features that supports learning management. Lecturers are required to

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set up their courses, interact with students, conduct an assessment, and generally ensure that course objectives are met. The students likewise are required to get on the platform, access their courses, engage in discussions, undertake assessment quizzes, collaborate, and interact with the tutors. The current project covers 5 Faculties and over 20 academic departments with the overall goal of continuing to engage the students who have been locked down at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic and completing the 2nd semester of the academic year.

Data Description and Collection To provide evidence to support the institutional implementation of e-learning platforms at the case University using the ANT, the data sources include; interviews (semi-structured), informal conversations with human actors, observation of non-human actors, document analysis, and telephone conversations. The application of multiple sources provides the advantage of gathering adequate data from diverse actors. First, the interview was designed and pretested using a sample of 5 and 10 top management and tutors from another institution to ensure the suitability of the questions. Afterward, the required amendments were made before using it at the case University. Next, because of the lockdown which limits human movements, telephone conversations were employed to solicit the response of government workers at the ministry of education. Further, upon obtaining permission from those involved, informal conversations with students and colleagues were recorded. Finally, an inspection of the ICT infrastructure of the institution, and documents on the e-learning implementation were analyzed for data. Table 6.2 provides details on the data of the study.

Data Analysis The study is unable to apply quantitative analysis because the data collated are fundamentally qualitative in nature, lack a similar measurement scale, and come from different sources. Therefore, the study applies the thematic or content analysis to identify, analyze, and report patterns


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Table 6.2 Description of data Source



Type of data


Head of departments and tutors Students and colleagues



Government officials

Policy documents, memos, letters, and directives ICT infrastructure


Informal conversations Telephone conversation Document analysis Observation

Source Authors construct

to support the four translation phases of the ANT concerning the implementation of e-learning at the selected case University. As proven by literature, the application of thematic or content analysis is equally useful in analyzing contents from different studies (Snyder 2019), and therefore the study outcome is not affected irrespective of the absence of quantitative analysis.

ANT Analysis of Institutional LMS Implementation In this section, a description of the actions and interactions of the actors and their outcomes is presented through the lens of ANT. This theory provides an insightful framework for understanding and explaining the institutional online LMS implementation and how well the relevant actors are brought into the network.

Problematization Per ANT, the Problematization stage of the translation moments guides us to examine the problems that necessitated the diffusion of e-learning

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platforms across the country. Factually, education in Ghana is delivered offline irrespective of the level of the learning institution. This could be explained by the relatively underdeveloped and unequal ICT infrastructural development across the country. However, the outbreak of the COVID-19 created a problem necessitating the diffusion of online learning to sustain learning in the country. While this provides the only solution to sustain the educational sector momentarily, the relative unpreparedness of institutions and ICT infrastructure may create diffusion challenges. In response, the President of Ghana called on educational institutions to diffuse distance-learning channels to engage students during the suspension of educational activities. This led the ministry of education to set up a committee to work out modalities for the effective operationalizing of the directives. The committee comprised members of the Ministry, the Ghana Education Service, and other stakeholders. This initial call led the institution to hold an emergency executive academic board meeting where a decision was taken to diffuse online LMS to engage students during the lockdown period. While the discussion is primarily focused on sustaining learning activities during the lockdown, it provides insight into the unwillingness exhibited by the institution to continue after the lockdown. The implementation of the current solution requires the involvement of several actors such as the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) unit of the institution, the University Management, the Deans of faculties, Specialists in online learning systems, the faculty members, students, Telecommunications companies, students and the regulatory bodies like NABPTEX, NAB, NCTE, and Ministry of Education (MoE). The decision from the executive meeting led to the creation of a committee to spearhead the implementation of the LMS for online engagement with students. The terms of reference were to train lecturers within one week to upload their course materials onto the platform. This presupposes that the institution is not preparing for sustainable online learning platforms beyond the COVID-19.


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Interessement E-learning is the proposed solution by the government of Ghana to resolving the challenges in the educational sector necessitated by the COVID-19. Therefore, to generate interest, the board of higher education institutions becomes necessary actors in the prioritization of the directives. The current implementation began with an emergency academic board meeting decision to upload lecture materials online onto the LMS to engage students. It was followed immediately with the setting up of a committee. The committee was required within one week to prepare tutors to upload their course materials online to engage students. While the time might be short, the urgency of the situation necessitated such a decision. However, this period hindered communication significantly because the committee members expressed concerns over the difficulty to understand the operations of the system. Again, the absence of clearly defined terms of reference resulted in uncertainties regarding the implementation of the directives from the president and the institution’s board. This nearly discouraged some of the committee members as it was apparent management commitment was beginning to become elusive. Eventually, a letter was issued to the committee members to commence work but this also lacked clearly defined terms of reference. The committee, however, resolved to go ahead and commence with the implementation. A member was asked to set up, configure, and populate a new LMS. This was immediately done as the software was open source and free. Besides, the committee member had acquired extensive experience in the setup and management of the platform and so could manage 3 days to complete the task. Approval had also been given by management for 5-day training for tutors via zoom. This training was deemed to be important but not mandatory as many tutors did not partake and yet suffered no repercussion. It was also not evident whether other stakeholders like deans and heads of departments had been involved and had specific roles to play in the process. This reveals that although the proposed solution by the government of Ghana is prudent, the unpreparedness of the institution to diffuse e-learning previously

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leads to less commitment. Therefore, this is consistent with the assertion that the implementation of an information system is complex and requires strategic planning (Tatnall and Burgess 2002).

Enrolment Per the board of directors’ commitment to instituting the directives of the President of Ghana to sustain the education sector through online learning, the interest generated is with the inclusion of other actors. Consequently, several actors were enrolled in the online LMS implementation process. These include the Chief Information Officer of the institution, 2 Internet Service providers, a dean, an online instructional designer, and a Moodle technical expert. These formed the core of the implementation team. A WhatsApp platform for tutors was subsequently employed to enroll tutors to partake in the 5-day training session. Directives from some regulatory bodies such as the National Accreditation Board (NAB), and the National Board for Professional and Technical Examination (NABPTEX) had also caused the management of the institution to be enrolled as they required the institution to submit modalities for going online in the short and long terms as well as examination conduction via the online platform. Through a request by these regulatory bodies, a member of the implementation committee had been selected to undergo e-learning training to be offered by International Business Machines (IBM). Nonetheless, what was still not clear in all of this was who was actually in charge and pushing development. It was not clear who was enrolling actors onto the project and to what end. It was also not clear what medium was employed to create awareness and sensitization of the platform to actors. Per the ANT these uncertainties could threaten the long term existence of the network since there are no clear-cut roles for actors. However, after the initial 5-days of training, some tutors managed to contact members of the committee to take them through some of the lessons. While this is ongoing, students had tutorial modules placed on the LMS for them to get acquainted with the use of the platform. A


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WhatsApp platform created for students was also employed to communicate with students. Tutors were required after the 5-day training to populate their courses and start actual facilitation the following week.

Mobilization Finally, with most of the actors on board, the current implementation carried out to date shows attempts by the institution to mobilize actors to ensure successful implementation. These include the training provided to tutors to ensure their familiarity with the basic functionalities and features of the LMS platform. Though the period was short, efforts were made to capture video recordings of the training sessions for members to continue learning after the training sessions. Students have also been provided with online training modules to learn how to engage in online learning. A member of the implementation committee with experience and knowledge in instruction design was invited by management to advise on online examination modalities. Inputs were taken and considered with a final decision to submit a proposal to the academic board for approval. More needs to be done to mobilize all actors if success and sustainability are to be assured.

Discussion The available evidence so far points to a lack of clarity on who the main or focal actor is—whether the regulatory body NAB, NABPTEX, or the Ministry of Education. Also, at the institutional level, it is uncertain who the main actor is and extent to which the proposed solution is to be implemented—whether just to engage students, continue with a broken semester, etc. What is clear though is the absence of clear direction and purpose and the mobilization of the existing and necessary resources to address the problem. Whether the main actors are internal, external, one or many is certainly not clear at this moment. Internally, although there appears to be mixed feelings and opinions

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on whether or not the online is the way to go, some see it as a directive from authorities beyond the boundaries of the institution and so can have far-reaching consequences when not complied with. Others appear to be simply following instructions from institutional management without clearly understanding and appreciating what is at stake. This may have been caused by the inadequate communication and inappropriate communication channels adopted. The obligatory passage point, although not clearly defined, may be considered to be acceptable to go online using the LMS to engage students and continue with the semester. To get all networks to understand, accept and arrive at this point is still an activity yet to be consciously undertaken even though the training of tutors was an important action that could have sent signals of institutional intentions. However, less than half of existing tutors participated in this training without any consequence. Behind the scenes, some tutors are contacting members of the committee and other knowledgeable people to further explain the LMS’s functionalities and features and so it can be argued that buying in is gradually taking place. Probably, the deadline slated for the start of the use of the LMS has triggered this need to understand the platform better and improve competency in use. Aside from tutors and students, other important networks, e.g., department and faculty champions, technical and pedagogical support networks are yet to be identified and brought onboard the implementation project. Generally, however, there is some skepticism about going online even though it is yet to be established whether it’s the technology itself or some deep-seated resistance to change. The 5-day training is a good example of an initiative imposed by the institution to stabilize tutors and get them to commit to the network of trained online instructors being prepared by the institution. Another action by the institution to lockdown actors to commit to the online project is an agreement reached with two telecommunication service organizations for free internet services for students and tutors who log onto the LMS using their channels. This was going to be a major challenge for these two actor-networks. However, the seemingly quick intervention by the institution’s authorities may just have succeeded in removing that barrier as an excuse for not utilizing the LMS. It can


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be argued that these actions are insufficient for sending the message of a new dawn and a new norm across as some tutors and students are complaining of inability to access these data platforms. Also, although an online support system, coupled with a WhatsApp platform and telephone lines have been provided to support users, with some communications being sent through the WhatsApp to students to help their understanding and use of the platform, complaints, especially from the students keep rolling in. Solid and stable networks of associations are yet to be created between the LMS and other actors to stabilize acceptance. The training of tutors was a clear definition of a particular actornetwork group and their relevance to the success of the implementation project. This brought tutors together and caused them to form a network of support for each other. There was also the exposition of a team of experts with adequate knowledge and skills to train learners. Actors from the tutors’ network were subsequently calling on this network for further assistance after the formal training as while some complained of lack of understanding, others simply did not attend the training these interrelationships can, therefore, be seen to be getting other actors to enroll. This is also occurring among students whose colleagues have managed to successfully log on to the LMS. Interaction between the technical network and tutor network can be seen to be shaping what will eventually emerge as the institutional LMS. There is very little influence of management here as more resources need to be provided for a more successful implementation engagement. There is a lot of bargaining going on as even within these networks there appears to be the isolation of some members. This may ultimately not auger well for the eventual outcomes. Efforts to create networks with clear leadership and a spoke’s person to represent the needs and concerns of sub-networks are glaringly missing. It can be argued that the group networks are still in their formative stages and may take time. However, a focal actor’s initiative is urgently required to drive this development of networks to ensure success and sustainability. A network of expert LMS implementers must be created and supported. When this is available, anyone with any problem will know exactly where to go. Currently, they were established as a committee and even this was unrecognized by management. The work done so far was

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beyond the request by management suggesting that management may not be abreast of this technology, its potential, and subsequent impact. Quite clearly, mobilization was not taking place.

Conclusion The brief analysis clearly highlights an unprepared institution caught in the middle of a pandemic and needing to take decisions and actions without a clear-cut strategy. This is synonymous with the diffusion of information technology in SMEs and the diffusion of blockchain technology in the country (Coffie et al. 2020). This has only been made glaring through the lens of ANT without which it would have gone unnoticed. This indicate that the diffusion of e-learning in Ghana is unpopular and not even the outbreak of COVID-19 could adequately prepare the institutions for the uptake. Consequently, there is the need to explore policies to prioritize the diffusion of e-learning in Ghana to provide support for institutions in such times. ANT is a powerful tool for analyzing and understanding how human and non-human actors interplay to create new outcomes such as the deployment of an LMS to support students’ learning online in a crisis. The framework also draws attention to unanswered questions on the future of the project because of the lack of clarity in the problem definition. Also, it is important for the institution to critically pay attention to actions and strategies that can stabilize the identities of the various actors in this network. The current efforts can be seen as not being consciously designed to achieve stability and threatens the survival of the network. Further, some actors have challenges with internet accessibility, stability, and cost. This is a wake-up call for the government to invest in ICT infrastructure across the country to support the diffusion of e-learning to provide learning support for students all over the country. Although the lockdown is to drive mass diffusion, the diffusion is relatively low because some actors still require additional training and support to use the system. Consequently, there is the need to consider the time and learning curves required for the different learners. Until most of the problems of the actors are adequately addressed, it poses a danger to creation of an


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enabling interrelationship that forges the successful implementation of the LMS. Finally, since the mobilization phase is critical for the buy-in of many actor-networks in this project, the absence of clear actions on the part of the institution in this direction can lead to a gradual decline in interest and commitment to the LMS use in the not too distant future.

References Afarikumah, E., & Kwankam, S. Y. (2013). Deploying actor-network theory to analyse telemedicine implementation in Ghana. Science Journal of Public Health, 1(2), 69–76. Callon, M. (1986). The sociology of an actor-network: The case of the electric vehicle. In Mapping the Dynamics of Science and Technology (pp. 19–34). London: Palgrave Macmillan. Callon, M. (1996). Actor-network theory—The market test. The Sociological Review, 47 (1 suppl.), 181–195. Callon, M., Latour, B., & Law, J. (2010). Actor-network theory. 4–9. Coffie, C. P. K., Zhao, H., Kwofie, B., & Tetteh, E. D. (2020). Blockchain smart contracts and empathy trade-off: Is Africa ready? In Cross-Industry Use of Blockchain Technology and Opportunities for the Future (pp. 141–149). IGI Global. Cressman, D. (2009). A Brief Overview of Actor-Network Theory: Punctualization, Heterogeneous Engineering & Translation. Falvo, D. A., & Johnson, B. F. (2007). The use of learning management systems in the United States. TechTrends, 51(2), 40–45. Garson, G. D. (2013). Case study research. Statistical Associates “Blue Book” Series. Hogarth, K., & Dawson, D. (2008). Implementing e-learning in organisations: What e-learning research can learn from instructional technology (IT) and organisational studies (OS) innovation studies. International Journal on Elearning, 7 (1), 87–105. Kwofie, B. (2015). E-learning Implementation in Higher Education Institutions (Doctoral dissertation, Department of Electronic Systems, Aalborg University). Latour, B. (2013). Reassembling the social: An introduction to actor-networktheory. Journal of Economic Sociology, 14 (2), 73–87.

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Machado, M., & Tao, E. (2007, October). Blackboard vs. Moodle: Comparing user experience of learning management systems. In 2007 37th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference-Global Engineering: Knowledge Without Borders, Opportunities Without Passports (pp. S4J-7). IEEE. Marshall, S. (2010). A quality framework for continuous improvement of e-learning: The e-learning maturity model. Journal of Distance Education, 24 (1), 143–166. Shim, Y., & Shin, D. (2016). Analyzing China’s fintech industry from the perspective of actor–network theory. Telecommunications Policy, 40 (2–3), 168–181. Shin, D. H. (2010). Convergence and divergence: Policymaking about the convergence of technology in Korea. Government Information Quarterly, 27 (2), 147–160. Snyder, H. (2019). Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines. Journal of Business Research, 104, 333–339. Tatnall, A., & Burgess, S. (2002, June). Using actor-network theory to research the implementation of a BB portal for regional SMEs in Melbourne, Australia. In 15th Bled Electronic Commerce Conference-‘eReality: Constructing the eEconomy’ . Bled, Slovenia: University of Maribor. Tetteh, E. D., Qin, Z., & Kwofie, B. (2020). Computer-mediated communication portal implementation framework: A higher education institutional perspective. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (IJET), 15 (03), 180. Walsham, G. (1997). Actor-network theory and IS research: Current status and future prospects. In Information Systems and Qualitative Research (pp. 466– 480). Boston, MA: Springer. Zawacki-Richter, O. (2009). Research areas in distance education: A Delphi study. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 10(3). Zawacki-Richter, O., Bäcker, E. M., & Vogt, S. (2009). Review of distance education research (2000 to 2008): Analysis of research areas, methods, and authorship patterns. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 10 (6), 21–50.

7 Iranian Data Protection Policy in Social Media; An Actor-Network Theory Approach Somayeh Labafi

Introduction Like in many other developing countries, social media is an emerging industry in Iran. The early Iranian social networks were developed in 2007 (Roshandel Arbatani et al. 2016). Before the advent of Iranian social networks, Iranians adopted foreign social media platforms. It took a while before Iranian firms developed their own social media networks. These local social media networks include Soroush, which hosts 10 million users. Currently, nine local social media (Soroush, Bale, Eitaa, Gap, iGap, BisPhone, Wispi, Syna, and Navaa) are operating in Iran. They are also trying working on attracting more users, as a means of developing the social media sector. A challenge facing these social media networks is their lack of transparent policies on the protection of user data (Labafi et al. 2019; Labafi S. Labafi (B) Iranian Research Institute for Information Science and Technology (IranDoc), Tehran, Iran e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2020 I. Williams (ed.), Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory,



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2020). This lack of user data protection policies has led to users’ distrust and tilted user preference to international social media networks (Bruns 2014). Iranian Policy makers have tried, in the last two years, to salvage the situation by introducing user data protection policies. However, these policies have not been successful. This challenge has resulted in a debate on the introduction and enforcement of user data protection policies by Social Media networks in Iran. This research analyzes the implications of the debate from the perspective of the actor-network theory (ANT). The goal of the analysis is to map the actor network that has emerged based on the issues discussed in the debates. The actor network describes the emergence and discussion on data protection and the governance provided by Social Media Policies. In the course of this discussion, the different actors, their roles and their positions in the debate will be identified. Data provided is this chapter was gathered using qualitative analysis. This approach was adopted in order to reveal some of the contradictions in the ongoing debate in Iran. It was also adopted to elicit the understanding of complex policy issues in the process of analyzing the data using ANT. This study explains ANT as a theoretical framework and then provides an overview of data protection policy network on social media.

Literature Review ANT Framework The conceptual framework for this study is based on ANT. Instead of identifying actants into distinct human and nonhuman thereby reducing the role and agency of one to the other, ANT posits a heterogeneous network of human and non-human actors that combine to construct scientific and technical realities (Hu 2011; Sharifzade 2016). An actor network refers to a complex network of aligned interests, including people, organizations, and standards. Latour (2005) argues that the Actor-Network-based perspective on the diffusion of innovation incorporates different actants ranging from goods and artifacts to declarations and ideas. The major focus of ANT is the networking of its

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actants as well as the interactions between them. The inscription of the network is revealed as a result of these identifiable interactions. A social network is an example of an actor network. From an ANT perspective, social networks does not consist of human interactions alone. But there are also interactions with non-human actants, in this case the facets of the social media technology and policies, which serve as intermediaries to the human-to-human interaction. Therefore, ANT emphasizes that the ability of human beings to form social networks is not only due to their interaction with other human beings, but also because of their interaction with non-human actants (Latour 2005). According to Couldry (2008), ANT is a conceptual framework explains policy processes as well using the concept of translation. The aim of such ANT analysis is to examine the process of translation (Latour 2005), where actants within the actor network cooperate to align their interests with each other. The translation process as proposed by Michael Callon, involves four phases namely, problematization, interessement, enrolment, and mobilization. These phases are similar to the phases in policy-making processes provided in various theories. The translation process in ANT is considered important because it explains the process of establishing and deploying of the actor network. In fact, translation is the process of attracting actants in the bid to shape the network (Richie 2011; Luscombe and Walby 2017). Therefore, ANT is considered in this chapter as one of the conceptual frameworks within which the policy-making process can be analyzed.

Data Protection Social networks are driven by content produced and published by individuals (users). These contents, called User-Generated Content (UGC), form the core of social networks. Social media networks utilize UGC and the personal data of users to create more value driven services for the social media platform and external clients. In many cases, these value creation activities occur without the consent of the user, who created the content. Even though social media networks and national governments are increasingly collecting, archiving, and processing UGC and


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user personal data, there is no consensus on the common standards for the protection of the personal data of the user (Ambrose and Ausloos 2013; Eslami and Feizi 2016; Russell 2017). This is an issue that has caught the attention of social media users. These users are becoming more sensitive toward how their personal data is stored and processed. Therefore, there is need for policies that will protect user data at the national and international levels (Safaee and Jafari 2013; Joia and Soares 2018). In order to ensure that the data of users are guaranteed under the rights and protections of the national laws, some countries have banned the international transfer of data. An example of this right, as identified by Researchers, is the European Union’s Privacy Protection Shield, which seeks to protect the privacy of EU institutions in the United States (Tracol 2016). In Iran, the protection of user’s personal data on social media is being discussed and debated as an important subject matter (Salamzadeh et al. 2019). The data protection debate encompasses a variety of issues, interests, and actors. The actors involved with data protection are as diverse as its argumentative topics, but can be broadly summarized as follows: the government, network operators, ISPs, social media firms, content providers, and users.

Application of ANT in the Policy-Making Process In classic policy-making and consequently media policy-making there is a major challenge in the symmetry between human and non-humane actors within the policy network. The dual views of voluntarism and technological determinism are one of the major challenges in decisionmaking processes. Thus, there is a dual view in which man either decide on using his/her will to manipulate non-human products and technologies, or views technology as the solution to everything when logically shaping policies. ANT challenges this classic policy-making approach. ANT symmetrically defines human and nonhuman as mutually influencing entities within the same network. Thus, human and non-human actors are simultaneously actors in a network. Their mutual interaction within the

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network implies that one of them is not a tool for the other; rather they both in tandem in the policy formulation and implement process. This is because, according to Latour (2005), there is an interaction between human agents and technology, in policy formulation and implementation process, rather than human activities alone. It is the midst of the relationship between these two actants that debates become one of the threads that holds the intricately intertwined network of policy makers in a translation process. Therefore, the success of a policy, according to Latour’s theory, involves considering not only the human factor, but also all phases of policy formation, which includes problem recognition, formulation, implementation, and evaluation. Other non-human factors such as technology, temporal and locative conditions, culture of the target community, and so on also influence the policy-making process. In other words, a policy must be formulated by taking into consideration all actors in the policy network and the translation between human and non-human factors; it must be formulated along with non-humane actors rather than just by them (Hashemian and Anvari 2018).

Methods A qualitative approach is undertaken to examine how different policy actor networks have in different ways, adapted to accommodate data protection on social media. A variety of data collection methods were used to develop the qualitative study. Data was collected from multiple data sources namely: in-depth interviews, telephone interviews, and email exchanges with individuals directly associated with the data protection debate in Iran. For example, notable industry professionals, regulators, consumer groups, academics, and researchers. The interviewees were identified using a snowballing strategy that is suggested by the actor-network approach (Latour,2005). Data was collected in two stages. In the first stage was the stage of identifying the actors involved in the process of data protection policymaking on social media, data were collected through interviews and studying-related documents. At this stage, the key question was “who (organization or institution) are the main actors in the social media


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policy process? At the documentary analysis stage, the researchers studied data protection policy-making documents on social media. These documents included those approved by Iranian Islamic Parliament and the Supreme Council of Cyberspace; guidelines from the Ministry of ICT and Ministry of Culture and Guidance; and regulations and guidelines related to social media. Data extracted from these documents were used to identify the main actors and their role in the Iranian social media related data protection policy-making process. Once identified, these representatives from these actor organizations were interviewed. The identified actors or elites of data protection on social media include the government policymakers of social media, managers of organizations involved on social media policy-making, managers of social media companies, elites, etc. The data collected from this process was analyzed using the ANT. Each interview participant were identified using the snowballing sampling method. 18 experts in all were interviewed. At this stage, all the actors of the Social Media Data Protection Policy Network (SMDPPN) in Iran were extracted. ANT methodology was used for data analysis. According to Callon’s Moments of Translation (1986), the four phases of the translation process are problematization, interessement, enrollment, and mobilization. All of these four phases were considered in data analysis.

Findings ANT and Data Protection Policy on Social Media The heterogeneous nature of data protection policymakers in Iran makes ANT a desirable conceptual framework for analyzing the research problem. After identifying the actors of the SMDPPN, the process of data protection policy-making on social media in Iran was analyzed by examining the interessement, enrolment, and mobilization processes.

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Actors of the Smdppn and Their Interests Many actors are involved in the Social media policy network in Iran. In the policy network these actors will make up at least a dozen nodes. These actors represent each other and work toward achieving a common goal, though their individual interests vary. As a result, most of these actors are involved in the debate process and in most cases represent other sub-actors in their organizations or other interest group. These actors converge around the common goal, thereby creating an Obligatory Passage Point (OPP). This obligatory passage points in the policy network cannot be removed or relocated. Based on the debates so far on the common idea, there are 7 categories of actors in the network, their internal sub-actors, and their interests that converge at the OPP. The common idea here is the development and implementation of user protection policies for Social media in Iran. These categories of actors are presented in this section. • Government The Ministry of ICT, as the government’s representative, has so far made efforts concerning data protection. These efforts include the formulation of the public data protection act. It took more than a year for the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and its affiliated organizations, including the Iranian IT Organization, to draft that act. By protecting user data on social media, the government achieves its slogan, i.e., protection of citizenship rights. Another interessement of the government concerning user data protection on social media is to control the power of social media in illegal use of data. • Military institutions The Cyber Police, tasked with following up any cyberspace abuse or crime in Iran, receives all users’ complaints about the abuse of their data on social media. Therefore, regulating this domain and protecting user data based on specific policies can help it to perform their tasked services. Therefore, the laws and policies related to this domain are among its


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interessements. According to data gathered in the interviews, the Cyber Police has been one of the most important actors in the policy network in this area so far. • Social Media Companies Social media companies are experiencing the highest level of user mistrust in Iran. They are interested in regulating and protecting users’ data in order to increase user trust, in order to attract more users. If data protection policies are transparent, these media companies will not face different security encounters regarding data protection and can announce their policies in this regard quite clearly. • Users Although some users have free access to the Internet when accessing social media, most users do not use social media due to their lack of confidence in the protection of their data. Therefore, formulating transparent policies regarding the protection of their data is of greatest interest to users. Social media users are one of the actors in the data protection policy-making process because their level of interests in using social media depends on their level of confidence in the protection of their personal data. • Internet Service Providers (ISPs) Due to the large internet traffic contracts between Iranian social media and ISPs, these ISPs are interested in setting the data protection policies of users and thereby increasing Iranian social media users’ interests. Furthermore, ISPs also gather user data when users access social media networks. This makes ISPs an interested party to the ongoing discussion. • Data analytics companies The actor with the least interest in regulating user data protection policies are data analytics companies who cannot exploit user data if

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Table 7.1 General Iranian laws and regulations on user data protection Regulation

Date of approval

Communication privacy law Information privacy law Cyberspace In 2025 law Organizing Social Media law Act of Data and Privacy Protection in Cyberspace

29/10/2017 29/10/2017 22/10/2017 03/06/2017 Under consideration in parliament 2018 18/03/2017

Personal data protection draft Privacy statement

transparent policies are enacted in this area. So far, in the absence of transparent policies, these firms have made authorized and unauthorized processing of user data, so policy formulation and implementation will restrict their activities. • Non-human Actors Non-human actors include, mobile smartphones that connect users with social media. The evolution of smartphones has increased the ability for the storage and processing of user data. There were no data protection issues for policy makers and users to deal with prior to the emergence of smartphones. Therefore, this device is an important actor in this respect. Iran’s general laws and regulations are also non-human actors in this policy network. Since Iran’s domestic laws penalize any misuse of personal property, the user data protection policies in social networks are defined below. The following are the laws and regulations related to the protection of user data in Iran (Table 7.1).

Stakeholder Analysis After conducting interviews with 18 experts in the field of data protection policy, 16 actors were identified in the data protection policymaking process in Iran as shown in Table 7.2. The Supreme Cyberspace Council is the highest authority when it comes to making social media policies. Its policy approvals are notified to


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Table 7.2 Data protection policy actors No.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Supreme Council of Cyberspace Commission for The Regulation of Cyberspace Commission for the Promotion of the Cyberspace Content Cybersecurity Commission Islamic Parliament of Iran Cultural Commission of Islamic Parliament of Iran Ministry of ICT Information Technology Organization Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) of The I.R. of Iran Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Organization For The Regulation Broadcasting in Cyberspace The Commission Sets Out Instances of Criminal Content Ministry of Commerce and Industry Cyber Police Ministry of Information Social Media Industry

other organizations for implementation. Iran’s supreme leader appoints its members and they are tasked with setting up the macro social media policies. The Commission for the Regulation of Cyberspace is one of the specialized commissions of the Supreme Cyberspace Council tasked with regulating the new cyberspace technologies. The Commission for the Promotion of Cyberspace Content is one of the specialized commissions of the Cyberspace Council tasked with overseeing the content produced on social media. The Cybersecurity Commission is one of the specialized commissions of the Cyberspace Council tasked with detecting and investigating the cyberspace violations. The Islamic Parliament of Iran is responsible for legislation on cyberspace. The Cultural Commission of Islamic Parliament of Iran is a specialized commission on social media, tasked with drafting the laws related to the cyberspace. The Ministry of ICT is the only specialized ministry related to the development of technical infrastructure for social media. Their technical guidelines are enforceable and adhered to all relevant organizations. There is also an IT Organization, affiliated with the Ministry of ICT. The Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) of the I.R. of Iran affiliated with the Ministry of ICT are tasked with technical regulations of social media. The Islamic Republic of Iran’s

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Broadcasting service is the only broadcasting actor in Iran involved in the production of cyberspace content. The Organization for the Regulation of Broadcasting in Cyberspace, affiliated with the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, where the social media providers have to pass training courses. This commission that sets out instances of Criminal Content, affiliated with the Judiciary of Iran and tasked with detecting unlawful contents on social media and stopping their activity Cyber Police. Ministry of Information and Social Media Industry. The above-mentioned actors are all involved in the policy-making process with respect to data protection and they play a part in various stages of policy formulation, implementation, oversight, and control. The identified stakeholders were involved in various stages of the data protection policy-making process. Such actors include, the Cyberspace Council, the Islamic Parliament of Iran. These actors formulate the laws. The Ministry of ICT, the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, IRIB, etc., are involved in the implementation of policies through the allocation of funds and resources. The Judiciary of Iran, the Cyber Police and the Ministry of Information in the evaluation control of policy implementation. Almost all of the aforementioned actors (except Social Media Industry) are all governmental. The identification of the actors involved in the SMDPPN provides us with a better understanding of the debate process and its results within this network; a process that takes place into consideration the 4 phases, namely “problematization” “interessement”, “enrolment” and “mobilization”. • Problematization Problematization is the first step in the formation of an Actor Network. At this stage, actors are identified to solve the problems as led by an actor considered as the focal actor position in the network (Shim and Shin 2019). During this process, the focal actor identifies and defines the problem and its solutions, as well as the identity role of other actors in the network (Sharifzadeh et al. 2012). The problematization phase identifies the actors and their identities, and then formulates


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policies by identifying the issues—protecting user data on social media— policies implemented by a focal actor using other actors. At this point, creating an obligatory passage point is considered important. In fact, in order to play a role in the policy-making process, actors need to align their interests toward obligatory passage point. In other words, the obligatory passage point can be considered as the point at which the actors are aligned on a particular subject. In this way, the obligatory passage point becomes an essential element for network formation and policy implementation (Rasmussen 2012). Therefore, the central idea driving the cooperation between actors such as the Supreme Council of Cyberspace, the Iranian Information Technology Organization, ISPs, national social media companies, the Cyber Police, and other actors with respect to the formation of social media data protection policy can be considered an obligatory passage point. In the problematization process for social media data protection policy, the major challenge stems from the lack of transparency and the unprofessional social media policy-making structure in Iran. This allusion is a feedback from the interviews. The most frequent codes of the interviews are highlighted in these policy-making challenges. Some of these challenges were “the multiplicity of policy makers”, “the inefficiency of existing laws”, “the extralegal power of policymakers”, and “a change in the user’s desire to protect personal data”. Each of these factors is due to the lack of transparency and unprofessional policy-making in the social media industry in Iran. In the problematization process, the focal actor in the SMDPPN is the Iranian Information Technology Organization. This is a government representative agency. This agency was formed at the request of Iranian citizens (the user), two years ago, in order to protect public interest. But there were no clear policies regarding user data protection on social media, therefore this agency called on all stakeholders to participate in this discussion. During meetings the key stakeholders in the actor network, the roles and tasks for each stakeholder in formulating and implementing data protection policies were outlined. However, an overview of the network reveals that the problematization process itself had some challenges. This was because of the multiplicity of policy makers and the divergence in their vision with that of the focal actor. This made it impossible for the focal actor to enroll all the actors

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in order to meet all the challenges. Some of the actors such as the data analytics companies have refused to join the network and have had little participation in policy formulation. • Interessement Through the “interessement” process, the role of actors in the network is stabilized. The product of this phase in the translation process is persuading other actors that it is in their interests align with the vision of the focal actor (Sharifzadeh et al. 2012). Interessement can happen either by persuading the actors on the profitability of signing up to the vision of the focal actor as maintained by Callon (1986), or it may happen through threat and force (Rasmussen 2012). The key element in this process is the negotiations and debate between the actors which characterizes the interessement process and its subsequent phase, i.e., enrolment (Shin 2016). In this study, this is a process of persuasion by the government toward social media companies and data analytics companies. Many of the key actors, especially government actors, in the social media policy network work as formal policy-making institutions. Therefore, their duties and interests are in line with the interests of other the focal actors and some other actors which are to address the challenges of user data protection policy-making. For this reason, most debates pass through the interessement process successfully. Based on the interviews, it can be said that the interessement process has been successfully completed in most of the debates. Working on issues raised by the focal actor (Iranian IT Organization) has of common interests to the actors in the debate process, which has led to the network’s success in the interessement process. However, the debates have in some cases failed in the interessement phase. One of these debates was the one between the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the Supreme Council on Cyberspace about the challenge of decentralizing the licensing of data access by various organizations. In addition, the debate between data analytics companies and cyber police over the challenge on the “monopoly for the storage and data processing” is among the debates that have failed in the interessement phase. The debate


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between the National Social Media Companies with the “user” about the challenge of “user privacy” as well as the debate between these companies and public law enforcement in Iran are other debates that failed in the interessement phase. There are a number of reasons for the failure of these debates, but what is evident is that the inability of the focal point to generate the interest of non-governmental actors. This has resulted in challenges in the network’s debates at this phase. • Enrolment After the interessement of the other actors in the network, each actor assumes a specific role in the network and the enrolment phase is implemented. Callon (1986) describes how an actor tries, at this phase, to form an alliance with other actors through debate (persuasion, threatening, etc.). By coordinating the roles, a stable network of allies is created at this phase. The process actually involves persuading other actors that their interests are in line with that of the focal actor. The process includes the encouragement of enrolment and the removal of barriers that will impede the enrolment process. Successful enrolment confirms the validity of problematization, links other actors to the network, and puts aside those actors who have not yet cooperated with the focal actor (Sharifzadeh et al. 2012). Most of the actors who had gone through successful debates in the interessement phase successfully in the signed up to the vision of the focal actor. After the interessement process, the Iranian Information Technology Organization was able to enroll actors in the data protection policy design network. In fact, most of the actors in the debate process were eager to be involved in the network in order to address the challenges based on their common interests to that of the focal actor. Most of the actors whose interests are in line with the challenge have enrolled in the network. They have also identified themselves in a position assigned to them by the focal actor in order to resolve the challenge. It is often difficult to distinguish between the interessement and enrolment phases. Thus, Callon (1986) argues that the translation process consists of two overlapping phases which are not necessarily separate from each other.

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It is due to this overlap that we can consider the success of the interessement phase as a kind of progress in the debate in the next phase. However, there was only one case where an actor refused to enroll in the network despite common interests. The debate between the Iranian Information Technology Organization with the Organization for The Regulation Broadcasting in Cyberspace failed. The sticking point was the challenge of “Social Media Development Licensing” at the enrolment phase. • Mobilization Mobilization includes a set of methods used by the focal actor to ensure that all actors act on the basis of the agreement and do not overlook the agreed interests. In ANT, the focal actor needs the practical approval of the actors in order to permanently support the agreed solutions to the problem. The focal actor mobilizes with its allies to enable the network can gain stability. This stability enables the network of actors to institutionalize the solutions in order to become a black box (Ghazinoory and Hajishirzi 2012; Spöhrer 2016). According to data obtained from the interviews, a number of debates have failed in the social media data protection policy-making process at the mobilization phase. Therefore, there is little success in the debates at the final phase. That is why major policy challenges in the social networking industry and data protection have persisted over the years. The lack of mobilization in debates occurs for a variety of reasons. This includes the dependence of government for policies policy implementation, the inefficiency of the policy-making process, and the vague approach adopted by the government toward policy-making in the social media industry. Almost all debates that have failed at the mobilization phase required further debates to remove the challenges and lead to successful mobilization process. The major challenge was the stakeholder complexity of the social media landscape. Thus, it can be argued that the user data protection policy network is so intricately intertwined that addressing all its layers is beyond the scope of this study. Based on documentary evidence used for this study, a small number of debates have been successfully completed. Among them are the debates


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of the Iranian Information Technology Organization with Islamic Parliament of Iran, Cyber Police, Public Law in Iran, and Jurisprudence regarding “confusion about public law in Iran and general exposure to user data protection”. This debate was successful at the mobilization stage. Although the challenge in the industry has not been fully resolved, the mobilization of the resources and facilities of public law in Iran to address this challenge has led to certain measures in this regard.

Conclusion User data protection policies in Iranian social media are facing challenges due to the multiplicity of social media policy makers. Different and sometimes conflicting interessements have made the policy-making process (policy formulation, implementation and evaluation) unsuccessful. Using ANT, this study attempted to identify the actors involved in data protection policy-making network and their actions regarding policy-making on data protection. In the problematization process, which is the first step in Actor-network analysis, it was identified that issues related to the protection of user data have been identified and followed up by the government’s IT organization. As a focal actor, this actor has explained the role of other policymakers and the attempt to enroll them in the SMDPPN. Some of the actors identified in the SMDPPN in Iran had the highest level of interest in policies. The highest level of interest was related to Cyber Police, which had pursued many abuses and various user complaints regarding user data, which emerged due to lack of transparent policies. Despite their interest, a number of actors have not yet enrolled in the SMDPPN due to the failure of debates between the actors. This lack of enrolment is due to the non-alignment of the interests of these actors with other actors’, particularly the focal actor. Mobilization is the last step that, if implemented successfully, would have brought stability to the SMDPPN. Some actors refused to forego aspects of their power over user data that would have resulted in the expansion of the policy network to expand this policy network. This was

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due to their value for their legal or extra legal power. Therefore they do not want to join the network thereby bringing in their facilities and competences into the policy network. It is expected that the user data protection bill proposed by the IT Organization in the Iranian Islamic Parliament will encounter serious problems when the bill is adopted. This bill is likely to fail as some actors who are stakeholders in the policy-making process have failed to align with the focal actor.

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Labafi, S. (2020). Identifying subject areas of media policy research; A quantitative approach. Quarterly Journal of Communication Research, 26 (4), 27–60. Labafi, S., Salamzadeh, Y., & Jalalpoor, M. (2019). Green supply-chain management and green purchase intention, the role of green brandequity. The European Proceedings of Social & Behavioural Sciences, pp. 23–33, ISSN: 2357-1330. Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the social: An introduction to actor-network theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Luscombe, A., & Walby, K. (2017). Theorizing freedom of information: The live archive, obfuscation, and actor network theory. Government Information Quarterly, 34, 379–387. Rasmussen, K. M. (2012). Power and networks: Term Paper Fall 2012 actornetwork theory and policymaking. Copenhagen Business School. Richie, N. (2011). Actor-network theory and methodology: Social research in a more-than-human world. Methodological Innovations Online, 6 (3), 108– 119. Roshandel Arbatani, T., Labafi, S., & Robati, M. (2016). Effects of social media on the environmental protection behavior of the public (Case study: Protecting Zayandeh-Rood river environment). International Journal of Environmental Research, 10 (2), 237–244. Russell, J. (2017). Google wins ‘right to be forgotten’ battle in Japan. TechCrunch. ative-comments/. Accessed 1 February 2019. Safaee, S. H., & Jafari, A. (2013). The relationship of information freedom with privacy. Islamic Law, 33, 136–159. Salamzadeh, Y., Williams, I., & Labafi, S. (2019). Media entrepreneurship and web 3.0, the way passed, the way forward. AD-Minister, 34, 7–13. Sharifzadeh, M., Zamani, G. H., Karami, E., Iman, M. T., & Khalili, D. (2012). An approach to Actuarial network theory and its application in investigating agricultural climate information systems. Iranian Journal of Information Processing and Management, 28(2), 65–87. Sharifzade, R. (2016). Technology, agency and decision. Culture Strategy, 34, 115–136. Shim, Y., & Shin, D. (2019). Smartness in techno-nationalism? Combining actor-network theory and institutionalization to assess Chinese smart TV development. Technological Forecasting & Social Change, 139, 87–98.

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8 Different Approaches of Leadership in Multicultural Teams Through the Perspective of Actor-Network Theory Małgorzata Bielenia

Introduction The subject of the article is to present the concept of a leader from the perspective of Actor-Network Theory and showing that the organization (especially a multicultural one) is an effect of relationships with actors with whom it is associated (e.g. devices, algorithms, services, competences, skills, knowledge, technology, information). Actor-Network Theory (ANT) is considered one of the most surprising and innovative concepts that have appeared in humanities and social sciences over the centuries, being established as a part of philosophy and sociology of science. The main feature of the theory is to analyze humans and nonhumans. In general, it seems quite simple to determine the leader’s role in organization; however, the precise consideration requires unveiling the M. Bielenia (B) Department of Maritime Transport and Seaborne Trade‚ Division of Maritime Economy, University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland e-mail: malgorzata.biele[email protected] © The Author(s) 2020 I. Williams (ed.), Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory,



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complexity of leadership in the network. A network is a set of relationships between actors subject to dynamic changes. The globalization in that sense influenced the organization by contributing to the creation of multicultural teams. Most often a multicultural team is a virtual team—one that conducts its work almost entirely through electronic technology.

The Influence of Technological Changes and Globalization on Leadership Technology and the expansion of global business have changed the work environment for organizations. Different factors influence various types of leadership, such as transactional and transformational leadership (Bielenia 2011), especially in crisis situation (Bielenia 2010). It is important to underline that nowadays leaders sometimes must be able to cope with people diversified by culture. Communicating across cultures using technology can be a difficult task. This issue emphasizes the social and cultural complexity of the examined phenomenon. It requires understanding the advantages and limitations of technology and how to build relationships via technology. The good communication within corporation is of high importance especially in a diversified social system. This situation is well known to companies using outsourcing from different location. The global expansion of online technologies enabled to interact through electronic communicators for colleagues in other countries working together with a common purpose. Virtual communities need leaders able to come out with a new media-mediated initiative, animating interactions associated with it, efficient in using information and communication technologies, and able to spread this efficiency. Effective managing of people is associated with the concepts like ethics, social, and cultural meanings as determinants imposing positive or negative impacts on the workplace (consistent with Bloch and Whiteley 2007). What is more, multinational environment may be also diversified by the following notions: culture, politics, economic, technological capacity, and different perceptions about ethical behavior. Companies all around

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the world working on short- and long-term projects use virtual teams of people from different geographic locations. All those previously mentioned factors determine the leadership style in a great manner. The key role in effective management of people plays the ability to properly use the fact that organization is a system where mutual influence exists.

Leadership Through the Prism of Actor-Network Theory What is more, within the organization social system exists as well. From this perspective organizational social system can be perceived as a separate actant—collective agent that can associate or disassociate with other agents. In the case of leadership through the prism of ANT it is essential to understand that not only a leader exerts influence over subordinates but also worker’s behaviors influence social environment of the workplace. The mentioned phenomenon should be understood as mutual influence on each other behavior. To prove the rightness of my personal statement that looking at the organization from the perspective of ANT provides observers with the huge dose of information about the human communication, it is worth focusing on leadership through the perspective of network analysis. Moreover, introducing the concept of Actor-Network Theory allows performing the examination of organizational relations from the perspective of strong and weak ties. Some relations within organization have a tendency to perpetuate, other do not. The ANT in that sense enables to illustrate the relationships within organization and allows to explore whether the knowledge flow and communication are good or not. The information gathered from the network analysis may play a significant role in determining the standards of cooperation between the leader and the social environment. What is more, Actor-Network Theory provides the empirical basis which can be used in the decision-making processes by the leader involved in a wide range of business. By following the path of system thinking that concentrates mainly on relationships and comprehension of entity the leader


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aiming at setting the whole of social environment in which he/she operates ought firstly to analyze the relationships between himself/herself and the followers. Sufficiently well-established relationships, as it happened to say in ANT—locked in a black box, will create a new actor. In this sense the actor is also a network.

Organization from the Perspective of Social System Analysis It worth mentioning that social system of the organization is a holon. This idea relates to the phenomenon that social units are at the same time a part and a whole. For this reason the leader in the organization should be aware of the fact that each organization is different because each social entity that makes people, targets and mission creates a unique network. For example, Chmiel (2003) discussed this issue. It is important to show that in order to manage people who are diversified by culture it is indispensable to enhance communication. The most crucial and fundamental rule for an effective leader is providing the proper transfer of energy/information within the organization. It is based on the assumption of agency (in social sciences, the term means the ability by which an individual can interact with other individuals or influence through such an action on a wider network of social relations) of nonhumans (computers, machines, language, information, energy etc.). It should be said that the energy through the perspective of sociological theories is understood as a wide range of sources. It should be underlined that the information is a form of energy— a type of nonhuman actor. For this reason it is important to unveil how a leader can improve the effectiveness of cooperation within the organization in order to enhance the flow of information. There are few very simple ways to develop the free information flow by implementing technology. The globalization in that sense positively influenced the development of organizations and reducing the barriers inside the multinational enterprises. As Members of the Haines Centre for Strategic Management and S. G. Haines (2007) state, there is no doubt that managing people from different countries is a very challenging job. That

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is why the leader’s behavior is of huge importance for the proper communication and information flow in any enterprise (Anderson et al. 1999). The leader aiming at the creation of a coherent entity puts a lot of effort to develop a language that will be intelligible for each individual from the social entity. English is the lingua franca of international corporations. By following international business it can be easily determined that English language is the widely and frequently used language used in the process of communication. What is more, the implementation of one common language allows creating a sense of unity and equality. Beyond the shadow of a doubt it can be stated that the implementation of one language can enhance the flow of information and allows for the creation of social unit where individuals show respect for others. In order to assure the free flow of information in big multinational enterprises with headquarters localized in another country the implementation of translation programs is of huge importance due to the fact that information is a key for success. The main goal of this process is to enable expatriates to understand documents and articles written in a foreign language. There are different aspects such as intercultural and hierarchical differences as well as language policy within organizations that determine expatriate linguistic performance (Bielenia-Grajewska 2010). Following the track that nowadays free knowledge and information flows are of high importance, free access to the Internet provides the possibility for on-line conversations, discussions, and dialogues. What is more, the Internet enables team sessions or whole event sessions at any convenient time.

Actor-Network Theory, System Theory, and Cybernetics Complement the Concept of Leadership Actor-Network Theory (ANT), also called the sociology of nonhuman, is based on the agency of nonhuman as discussed by Callon (1986a), Latour (1987), and Law (1992). Crawford (2005) also draws our attention to the notion that taking seriously the agency of nonhumans


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(computers, machines, texts, information, and hybrids), the ANT is not only focused on interaction but also on things. Networks do not just bind people as discussed by Callon (1986b), Latour (1998), Latour (1999), and Law (1999). Working at the computer—sometimes the so called in the literature—network relationship- using the Internet creates a complex network. Another way to achieve cohesion among multicultural enterprise is to share official documents and strategic issues accessed only for organization’s members. Computer-based tools in a modern world enforce the creation of network of free communication across all company’s levels. In addition, implementing on-line trainings brings many benefits. From the perspective of energy that is understood as an action, the training courses provide for entity members the possibility to learn from international specialists about the trends and development about domain a team is working on. That is why ANT finds its application in organizational studies and leadership (e.g. Bielenia-Grajewska 2011; Kamp 2018). What is more, those tools implemented by the leader, best practices brought by globalization and leader’s actions improve the interaction within social environment and provide the opportunity to create a mutual sharing view as discussed in Scott (2000). System theory and cybernetics arose together and complemented each other. Every system can be described from the point of view of cybernetics. The common link between ANT and cybernetics is the idea of a black box. The term black box is derived from cybernetics, where it signifies any setting that no matter how complex it is, is now extremely stable and certain. My general consideration in this part will be based on presenting the social dimension of cybernetics, which finds its application in the discussed approach and answers the question why leadership fits in this branch of learning. First of all, it needs to be underlined that from the perspective of cyberneticist management is perceived as steering the processes which take place in an organization (Kossecki 1984). It is proved that the leader’s role in any organization is a difficult art. When pondering over leadership in any organization it is necessary to work out a leader’s social profile. In other words, it is worth to think about the abilities indispensable for building a right relation with the followers.

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The individual displays leadership abilities if he/she is capable of building relations with followers, masters the art of exerting influence over subordinates and founds no difficulties in communicating with followers. Before focusing on the previously mentioned phenomenon it needs to be underlined that the leader in order to attract his/her followers ought to remember about essential formal motivation theories described in Nahavandi and Malekzadeh (1998). This idea relates to the phenomenon of people needs and was perfectly explained by Maslow and McClelland in their general conceptions of motivation mentioned in Donnell et al. (1987). What is more, introducing the concept presented by psychologist Abraham Maslow illustrates the people inner needs. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs represents the concept of needs arranges in a hierarchical order. The most crucial and fundamental needs are located at the bottom and these are: psychological needs, safety needs, and belonging needs. The next theory explains the individuals needs of achievement and was presented by McClelland in 1967. Three needs model indicates the three motives that pushes people into action. From an Actor-Network Theory point of view, namely the decisionmaking process, a leader has an effect on followers. The ANT approach in field of leadership can be also illustrated from the steering issues proposed by Mazur (1980). In this section the ANT deliberations will correspond to the ideas proposed by the mentioned author. Firstly, the process which constitutes a decision-making process is postulation. This corresponds directly to the aim of the decision and in order to make a right decision the question what to achieve should be asked. Secondly, optimization constitutes a significant part of decision-making because it corresponds to the way of achieving the aim. Thirdly, a decision related to the resources is also important. In other words, the leader fulfilling the role of a decision-maker should ask himself/herself what resources ought to be used in order to achieve the aim. With relation to the three decisions the role of a leader can be different. There are three types of decision-makers: postulator, optimizator or contractor. There is no doubt that one person cannot find fulfillment in all mentioned types of posts. Due to the fact that nobody can carry out all jobs the leader can act out the roles of postulator and optimizator, on the basis of steering schema it can be stated that leader’s steering functions concerning taking and


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giving information and energy are coincide with the role in the organization outlined by society and expectations put forward by followers. That means that people’s behavior is related with the performed social role, assuring the efficient functioning of entity or society. From the cybernetic point of view steering actions associated with a leader get down to decisions corresponding to the aim and way. The leader acting as a postulator outlines the aim, whereas, taking a role of optimizator he/she must choose a right way. The last mentioned steering process relates to deciding on the way something needs to be done and appeared to be the most significant one because very often ends in failure. That is why the function of a contractor ought to be entrusted to somebody else, other people or even other teams because the probability of making mistake by a specialist or a group of specialists related in this case with using of adequate sources is lower. Actor-Network Theory is very different from other sociological theories because the differences reach the most fundamental philosophical issues. In all above mentioned types of posts the leader has the strong impact on consolidating reality in a black box. Interpretation should therefore be subjected to people and nonhuman agents such as information, energy, etc.,—as well as the relationships between them.

The Perspective of Sociological Theories in Communication Between the Leader and the Follower The key rule of sociological theories is a feedback which causes the different perspective on a process of communicating between the leader and followers. It means that according to the generally accepted rules of the point of leadership the leader is perceived as the system that exerts influence on followers (the other system). However, this type of effecting is called in the field of cybernetics the linear feedback Kossecki (1974). What is more, in the case of the linear feedback information in the form of announcement reaches from leaders to followers by a steering path. To recapitulate linear feedback is a one-directional relation. It needs to

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be mentioned that ANT is an interdisciplinary branch of science which by the term feedback explains the mutual reactions occurring between two (or more) actor within the network. It should be underlined that two different types of feedback can be distinguished namely the positive feedback and the negative feedback. At the beginning, the positive feedback through the perspective of leadership will be discussed. This is the type of influence, which causes reinforcement of actions. The second type of feedbacks is a negative feedback and is characterized that causes weakness of actions. Moreover, every from the described types of feedback can be also divided into another subdivision. Among both types detailed can be coincident (differences are fade away), stabilized (no differences), and divergent (differences are constantly growing) feedback. Here in this point, it is worth mentioning that mentioned above two types of feedback create networks and relationships. The creation and conduct of relationships leads to the constitution of a specific social order. An actor (leader in author’s perspective) cannot act without a network (organization).

Leadership in Changing Conditions Through the Prism of ANT According to Crawford (2005), during the mid-1980s, primarily within the work of Bruno Latour, Michel Callon, and John Law it was underlined that material semiotic networks are more important than objects. The sociological issues of leadership in accordance to ANT relate also to the examination of the people’s steering processes. It is exceptionally vital from the perspective of leadership to fathom out network recesses of steering of people. Further in this part three faces of leadership namely: manager, artist, and priest will be presented. In connection with the situation that “we have just entered the second stage of the crisis” (, which heralds the arrival of a permanent crisis, one should be prepared for constant changes and taking on new challenges. Helpful in the effective functioning in changing conditions turns out to be the leader in the role of manager, artist, and priest. The first face of the leader takes the form of a manager who, through his


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actions, introduces order, controls others and is characterized by rationality. The other artist releases creative potential and initiates creativity in the organization. However, the third face is revealed when the leader supporting the role of a priest supports, encourages, and comforts, so that subordinates are not afraid of change. Observing the organization’s success in changing conditions, one should emphasize the correctness of Gardner’s words in Hatch et al. (2010, p. 25), where it was shown that “business leaders must show all three faces so that they can develop their own potential and demonstrate a positive impact on the world.” In order to understand effective leadership during a crisis, reference must be made to the phases of the business cycle (Holstein-Beck 1978). I would like to recall here four stages of the business cycle: the first phase of the crisis is also called recession, followed by depression, the third in turn is economic recovery, followed by economic boom. If we entered the second phase of the recession, which has two levels “on the one hand, the first signs of economic recovery will appear, on the other, the effects of last year’s collapse will hit middle-class households with all force” (; Gazeta The best leadership style appeared to be adaptive leadership in connection with the current epidemiological situation-infectious diseases and crisis situations caused by the period of state of epidemic emergency. At this point, it should be summarized that the crisis (also economic crisis) requires the leader to act on two levels. On the one hand, it is a state which requires, first of all, immediate actions aimed at survival, and secondly, a long-term new adaptive policy. As Krausa discusses, adaptive leadership it is an art based on creativity and improvisation, requiring the courage to experiment; overcomes employees’ resistance to change; calls for change and requires new behavior. The purpose of presenting the features of adaptive leadership is to motivate the adequacy of the modification of the leader’s behavior and to make clear that the leadership styles I mentioned can be qualified for adaptive leadership. I will start by reminding the reader that a leader in the face of the crisis is moving from a normal state to a state of fundamental leadership, which indicates that he is thus adapting to changes in the environment. Then leadership leading to a breakthrough

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or solstice coincides with the assumptions of adaptive leadership, as this type of leadership is also characterized by experimentation and constantly changing activities. In contrast, showing the three faces of a leader as a manager, artist, and priest is a manifestation of new leadership behaviors that lead to better efficiency in times of crisis. This idea corresponds directly to person’s steering parameters that can be divided into two groups. The first, namely, elastic belongs to such ones that can be changed and are dependent upon the surrounding. To the second group the so called stiff ranks parameters that are not influenced by the surrounding and there is no chance to change them. The main objective of introducing the parameters is to underline the fact that in the case of the set of stiff parameters the change probability equals zero. It needs to be mentioned that Mazur (1980) called this particular set the independent circuit known also under the name of autonomic system. It needs to be mentioned that expertise of follower’s independent circuit can be very helpful from the leadership perspective. The theory of independent circuit proposed by Mazur (1980) throws a slightly different look at influencing people’s conduct. The leader aiming at steering people’s behavior in an effective way should be aware of individual’s independent circuit. From the organizational point of view, such knowledge appears to be significant when the leader delegates the power or ascribes tasks. Implementing cybernetics into leader’s actions allows for overseeing the subordinate’s behavior. With the use of stiff steering parameters leader can go into each individual’s character deeply. This proves the statement that with the help of social theory, including ActorNetwork Theory, leader’s actions turned out to more precisely hit the target. By appreciating the steering boundary the leader can estimate how to act with subordinates in order to get things done correctly. An actor cannot act without a network and a network consists of actors. Recognizing actors as nonhuman is not about giving them human features and feelings, but only about recognizing their value in stabilizing the structures of connections.


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References Anderson, R. E., Carter, I., & Lowe, G. R. (1999). Human behavior in the social environment: A social systems approach. Hawthorne and New York: Aldine de Gruyter. Bielenia, M. (2010). Rola lidera w walce z kryzysem w przedsi˛ebiorstwie funkcjonuj˛acym w zglobalizowanym ´swiecie. In P. Antonowicz (Ed.), Innowacyjne strategie kreowania przewagi konkurencyjnej przedsi˛ebiorstw. Sopot: Fundacja Rozwoju Uniwersytetu Gda´nskiego. Bielenia, M. (2011). Transactional and transformational leadership. In K. Dowding (Ed.), Encyclopedia of power. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Bielenia-Grajewska, M. (2010). The linguistic dimension of expatriatism— Hybrid environment, hybrid linguistic identity. European Journal of CrossCultural Competence and Management, 1(2/3), 212–231. Bielenia-Grajewska, M. (2011). A potential application of actor network theory in organizational studies: The company as an ecosystem and its power relations from the ANT perspective. In A. Tatnall (Ed.), Actor-network theory and technology innovation: Advancements and new concepts (pp. 247–258). Hershey, PA: IGI Publishing. Bloch, S., & Whiteley, P. (2007). Zarz˛adzanie w płaskim ´swiecie. Budowanie relacji w dobie globalizacji. Gliwice: Wydawnictwo Helion. Callon, M. (1986a). Some elements of a sociology of translation: Domestication of the scallops and the fishermen of St. Brieuc Bay. In J. Law (Ed.), Power, action, and belief: A new sociology of knowledge ? London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Callon, M. (1986b). The sociology of an actor-network: The case of the electric vehicle. In M. Callon, J. Law, & A. Rip (Eds.), Mapping the dynamics of science and technology: Sociology of science in the real world . Houndmills, UK: Macmillan. Chmiel, N. (2003). Psychologia pracy i organizacji. Gda´nsk: Gda´nskie Wydawnictwo Psychologiczne. Crawford, C. S. (2005). Actor network theory. In G. Ritzer (Ed.), Encyclopedia of social theory. Retrieved April 15, 2020, from sites/default/files/upmbinaries/5222_Ritzer__Entries_beginning_with_A__ [1].pdf. Donnell, J. H., Jr., Gibson, J. L., & Ivancevich, J. M. (1987). Fundamentals of management. Texas City: Business Publications INC.

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Hatch, M. J., Kostera, M., & Ko´zmi´nski, A. K. (2010). Trzy oblicza przywództwa: Mened˙zer, Artysta, Kapłan. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Akademickie i Profesjonalne Spółka zo.o. Holstein-Beck, M. (1978). Konflikty. Instytut Wydawniczy CRZZ: Warszawa. Kamp, A. (2018). Assembling the actors: Exploring the challenges of ‘system leadership’ in education through actor-network theory. Journal of Education Policy, 33(6), 778–792. Kossecki, J. (1974). Cybernetyka kultury. Warszawa and Seria: Wyd. PIW and Biblioteka My´sli Współczesnej. Kossecki, J. (1984). Tajniki sterowania lud´zmi. Warszawa: Wyd. KAW. Latour, B. (1987). Science in action: How to follow scientists and engineers through society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Latour, B. (1998). The pasteurization of France. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Latour, B. (1999). On recalling ANT. In J. Law & J. Hassard (Eds.), Actor network theory and after. Malden, MA: Blackwell. Law, J. (1992). Notes on the theory of actor-network: Ordering, strategy and heterogeneity. Systems Practice, 5, 379–393. Law, J. (1999). After ANT: Complexity, naming, and topology. In J. Law & J. Hassard (Eds.), Actor network theory and after. Malden, MA: Blackwell. Mazur, M. (1980). Społeczne znaczenie cybernetyki. Nowe Drogi, 5, 152–163. Members of Haines Centre for Strategic Management & Haines, S. G. (2007). Strategic systems for leaders: The systems thinking approach. San Diego, CA: Systems Printing Press. Nahavandi, A., & Malekzadeh, A. R. (1998). Organizational Behavior. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Scott, J. (2000). Social network analysis: A handbook. London: Sage.

Analyzed Materials Accessed in Internet Adam Krausa. Przywództwo w dobie kryzysu. Retrieved October 5, 2010, from zys-menedzer-przywodztwo-zarzadzanie/. Retrieved October 1, 2010, from swiat/artykuly/104042,bedzie-druga-faza-kryzysu-przetrwamy.html. Gazeta Retrieved from 965,soros_swiatowa_gospodarka_wkroczyla_w_ii_etap_kryzysu.html.

9 ANT and Mobile Network Service Adoption in Banking Industry Seyed Mozaffar Mirbargkar, Pejman Ebrahimi, and Maryam Soleimani

Introduction The expansion of communication and information technologies has led to diversification and development of organizations’ distribution channels to improve customer service as well as gain competitive advantage (Arbatani et al. 2019; Chaouali and El Hedhli 2019). The banking industry around the world is increasingly in turmoil and competition; The original version of this chapter was revised: Incorrect affiliation of the corresponding author has been updated. The correction to this chapter is available at 1007/978-981-15-7066-7_15

S. M. Mirbargkar Department of Management, Rasht Branch, Islamic Azad University, Rasht, Iran; e-mail: [email protected] P. Ebrahimi (B) Doctoral School of Economic and Regional Sciences, Szent Istvan University, Gödöll˝o, Hungary; e-mail: [email protected] M. Soleimani Department of Management, Economics and Accounting, Payam Noor University, Tehran, Iran; e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2020, corrected publication 2020 I. Williams (ed.), Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory,



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so, banks are using new technologies to gain customer satisfaction and minimize their costs and are trying to provide more diverse and more useful services to their customers (Al-Jabri and Sohail 2012). By influencing the lives of billions of people around the world, mobile phones have become an essential tool for many individuals and organizations and have created fundamental changes in the lives of people and the business environment (Ramdhony and Munien 2013; Ebrahimi et al. 2019a). Having new facilities and diverse applications installed on it, this device has become a very flexible tool that is used to achieve a wide range of goals. The mobile banking industry has provided highly functional and useful mobile banking services to its customers without any time or place constraints (Baptista and Oliveira 2017). Mobile banking is considered a service innovation that has provided a multi-channel banking strategy by offering a new way to attract customers. This strategy by providing multiple access to services via Short Messaging Service (SMS), browserbased systems (WAP), and client applications or apps has made mobile banking distinct from other services (Mullan et al. 2017). Despite the efforts of banks to encourage customers to use mobile banking services, acceptance of this technology by customers is still in its primary levels and has a slow pace. A survey of customer use of mobile banking services shows that globally, only 15% of customers use mobile devices to conduct banking transactions (Chaouali and El Hedhli 2019). This fact highlights the need to conduct studies on acceptance of mobile banking. Traditional theories on acceptance of mobile banking services consider acceptance of this technology with a simplistic view and by considering different variables separately and not in a complex network of multiple actors. This is while due to complexity of service-oriented technologies, including mobile banking, in which a network of social factors and technology have mutual and comprehensive relationships, a careful study of this phenomenon requires adoption of theoretical foundations that do not discriminate human and non-human (economic, scientific, cultural, political, and technological) aspects and do not attach special importance to a particular factor or factors. That is why in studies related to Information and Communication Technology (ICT), compound theories related to IT change are used to understand the dynamic interaction between

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human and technology during development and use of IT. One of the most popular and influential theories for studying social and technological changes in researches related to IT acceptance has been Actor-Network Theory (ANT) (Allen 2004). ANT’s strong point is that in understanding acceptance of technology, it emphasizes the study of both human and non-human actors and tries to address the role that technology plays in the social environment and the effects it has on it over time (Eze et al. 2014). The present study aims to, while reviewing ANT theory, discuss the process of accepting service innovation, including mobile banking, according to ANT, and by reviewing common theories in the field of mobile banking acceptance, provide a conceptual model based on ANT.

Actor Network Theory and Its Socio-Ecological View ANT emerged in the 1980s with the work of Bruno Latour, Michael Callon, and John Law in sociology of science and technology. One of the main assumptions of ANT is that science is the process of heterogeneous engineering by which social, natural, and discourse components are involved with each other in the process of translation. This theory opposes social or technological determinism and proposes a socioecological approach in which nothing is considered purely technological or purely social (Tabak 2015, p. 35). ANT helps to understand the processes involved in a technological innovation. The purpose of this theory is to combine technology and social processes through an interpretive lens of network-actor. This theory focuses on how networks are formed, how they cohere with each other, and how they are separated. ANT’s goal is to explain how heterogeneous actors come together to form a network. Thus, actors in ANT are not just human beings but also include non-human factors including individuals, groups, texts, and technological structures. According to ANT, in the process of developing a new technology, all human and non-human factors affect the effective actions and the decision-making process. ANT tries to open the black box by pursuing the complex network of relationships between human and non-human actors. ANT is based on the assumption that technology


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contains a diverse set of economic, social, and political factors. ANT provides a very powerful tool for better transparency of the dynamics of a technology (Shim and Shin 2016). ANT theory can be used to discover how networks are formed, maintained, or separated in all disciplines. Creating a network requires simplifying heterogeneous identities within a system of communications called network-actor. These identities or actors acquire their identities through interactions with others that can be human or non-human (Robinson et al. 2010). The actor network is formed through translation process and all actors enter the network through this process. The translation process involves negotiations between human and non-human actors in order to determine their interests and actions in the network (Robinson et al. 2010). In fact, it can be said that social network is through human interactions with each other as well as with other infinite materials such as machines, texts, and technologies (Law 1992).

ANT and Acceptance of Innovation in the Field of Services Innovation is an important concept in business services (Ebrahimi and Mirbargkar 2017; Ebrahimi et al. 2018a, b, 2019b). Services consist of social and technical (human and technological) factors. Service networks are used to transfer resources and competencies, but these networks remain infrastructural undiscoverable and invisible (Khajeheian and Ebrahimi 2020). Where technology is used to manage the processes required to deliver a particular service, service networks become increasingly complex and make it one of the most difficult environments to manage and review. Although the science of services has been formed to guide the design, implementation, and management of service systems, but the social and technical dynamics within these systems have still remained unclear. ANT theory provides a good theoretical perspective for understanding social and technical dynamics within a service system (including mobile banking) (Carroll et al. 2012). ATN can be used to explain how technology is accepted in societies and human beings. Technology, in addition to technological advances and innovations, is the result of social structure. Therefore, its success

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and acceptance within an organization or society depends on both technical and social aspects. Technical superiority of a technology cannot necessarily guarantee its success, but its social acceptance on a large scale depends on people’s positive perceptions toward using it and the presence of a large number of users. When people take a positive view about the use of a communication technology, its use will become part of their work and life, and they will also recommend the technology to their friends and colleagues. In fact, people will begin to use information and communication technologies including mobile phones and electronic services without knowing how it is done (McBride 2003). By adopting an actor-network approach in mobile banking environment, it can be said that several actors are active in this field each of which has different motivations and goals. Banks seek to maintain their position as suppliers of banking services in financial markets. Mobile operators are looking to create larger and higher traffic markets for offering mobile services and applications; and technology providers are looking to create standards that using them they can produce more advanced applications. In addition, each of these different stakeholders has different core competencies and strong points. The power of banks is in the management of account-based payments, macro-payments, and mediation of payments. Telecom operators have strengths in handling small payments, collecting payment information, and providing network-based services. Technology providers also have unique qualifications for deploying terminals, application infrastructures, and telecom switch features (Mallat et al. 2004). Presence of multiple actors with different interests and features in mobile banking environment highlights the importance of using actor network approach in explaining the acceptance of mobile banking services.

Understanding Innovation as an Actor-Network The dominant paradigm in innovation research is the Diffusion of Innovation Theory, which identifies four main elements: characteristics of innovation, the nature of communication channels, passage of time, and social system (Rogers 2010). The researcher, focusing on this approach


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in explaining success or failure of innovation, focuses on details of the new system, performance of change factors in accepting innovation, and how to accept or reject implementation of innovation. ANT has been proposed as an alternative approach to innovation that the central core of which is translation process. The assumptions of ANT translation model are quite different from what is true about the theory of innovation diffusion. Latour (1986) argues that an actor merely having power is not able to apply change unless other actors are encouraged to take appropriate action in support of innovation. The idea that power is a feature adopted by an actor is one of the basic principles, but from Latour’s point of view, the amount of power that can be exercised depends on the number of people who have entered the business. He claims that in innovation translation model, the flow of an innovation is in the hands of individuals each of whom may react to it in different ways (correcting, eliminating, betraying, adding to, or abandoning). This way of diffusion applies to any innovation, from goods and products to ideas. Thus, acceptance of an innovation occurs following unconscious actions of all individuals in the chain of actors. In addition, each of these actors changes innovation proportionate to their own goals, but if no one accepts the innovation, the flow simply stops (Tatnall 2005).

The Process of Innovation Translation In ANT, the translation process involves four stages of problematization, interessement, enrollment, and mobilization (Callon 1984). In the problematization stage, the innovator defines the problem or opportunity for which the solution is proposed. At this stage, the innovator requires himself that the process under his control must take place in such a way that all actors achieve their goals. Callon calls this process Obligatory Passage Point (OPP), which is generally in line with pursuing personal interests of the innovator (Shim and Shin 2016). The second stage involves processes during which the innovator tries to link other actors to their predetermined roles for problem-solving (Aka 2019). Enrollment involves a set of strategies in which the innovator seeks that the interested actors try to find the solution to the problem.

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Enrollment is considered a successful interessement process. An actor network is configured by the enrollment of human and non-human allies, and this is achieved through the use of negotiations in which a group of actors seek to impose roles and definitions on others. In an innovation translation model, movement of an innovation is in the hands of people who react to it in different ways. Therefore, instead of transference process, we are faced with a process of continuous evolution that obtaining an accepted innovation requires strategies aimed at enrollment of others (Tatnall and Lepa 2003). If the third stage is successful, enrollment will be pursued through a process of coercion, seduction, or satisfaction in which a group of actors impose their will on others (Tatnall and Lepa 2003). This stage of the process is called mobilization and includes methods through which the innovator ensures the ability of the selected individuals to represent different groups (Aka 2019). The process of translation and its main concepts are summarized in Fig. 9.1.

Fig. 9.1 ANT key concepts and translation moments (Source Rhodes 2009)


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Defining the Main Concepts of ANT ANT has key concepts which are summarized in Table 9.1. Table 9.1 The main concepts of ANT Actor networks




Obligatory Passage Point (OPP)





Related actors in a heterogeneous network of aligned interests (Carroll 2012, p. 68) any element which bends space around itself, makes other elements dependent upon itself, and translates their will into the language of its own (Sarker et al. 2006) The process of the alignment of the interests of a diverse set of actors with the interests of the focal actor (Callon 1986) The first moment of translation during which a focal actor defines identities and interests of other actors that are consistent with its own interests, and establishes itself as an Obligatory Passage Point (OPP), thus rendering itself indispensable (Hui 2012, p. 105) The situation that has occur in order for all the actors to satisfy the other actors interests (Carroll 2012, p. 68) The second moment of translation which involves a process of convincing other actors to accept the definition of the focal actor (Hui 2012, p. 105) The third moment of translation at which other actors accept their roles and interests that determine on interestedness moment (Hui 2012, p. 105) The fourth moment of translation that is achieved when the actors are successfully enrolled (Hui 2012, p. 105) A process of creation of artifacts that would ensure the protection of certain interests (Hui 2012, p. 105) (continued)

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Table 9.1 (continued) Irreversibility



Black box

Degree to which it is subsequently impossible to go back to a point where alternative possibilities exist (Hui 2012, p. 105) The extent to which the process of translation leads to an agreement as measured by the degree of accord resulting from a series of translations (Rhodes 2009, p. 7) Results from a sequential process where new circumstances or a changing membership leads to successive moments of agreement (Rhodes 2009, p. 7) When the networks and the relationships between actors are accepted, the actor-networks can be simplified and depicted as a black box (Rodger 2007, p. 7)

Socio-Ecological View of Actor-Network Relations ANT adopts a socio-technical perspective for designing and analyzing technological systems, according to which the world consists of a network of technical and social actors. Socio-ecological models can well describe the dynamic interactions between contextual, technological, and individual factors (Fig. 9.2). This model considers the complex

Fig. 9.2 Socio-ecological model of ANT (Source Shin 2016)


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interaction between individual, network, political, and social factors (Shin 2016). Accordingly, in order to examine the process of accepting a new innovation, it is required to consider the major environmental factors affecting it and the interrelationships between them.

Theories Related to Mobile Banking Acceptance There are several theories to consider acceptance of mobile banking services. These theories have addressed acceptance of this technology from different perspectives. Table 9.2 shows the most important theories related to technology acceptance, the main variables of these theories, and examples of related research in the field of mobile banking. In addition to these main theories, some studies have used a combination of these theories with other theories to examine acceptance of mobile banking. For example, Aboelmaged and Gebba (2013) combined Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) and Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB); Ramdhony and Munien combined TAM and Diffusion of Innovation Theory (Ramdhony and Munien 2013); and Zhou et al. (2010) combined Unified Theory of Acceptance, Use of Technology (UTAUT) and Task-Technology Fit (TTF) to explain acceptance of mobile banking services. The studies on acceptance of mobile banking services, by use of traditional theories related to acceptance of information and communication technologies, have focused on consumer behavior and have emphasized the impact of several factors on intention, attitude, and usage of mobile banking services (Shaikh and Karjaluoto 2015). These studies are based on the simplistic assumption that if providers of mobile banking services are able to provide user-friendly and satisfactory services to customers, mobile banking technology will be accepted by consumers. But the real situation is more complicated and difficult than this simple assumption. The fact is that the value chain of mobile commerce is very complex and consists of interconnected sets of multiple actors, each of whom seeking to meet their own personal interests. Many active actors in the field of mobile banking services are required to form allies with other actors in

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Table 9.2 Common theories in acceptance of mobile banking Theory


Technology acceptance model (TAM)

Davis (1980)

Diffusion of Innovation (DOI)

Rogers (1983)

Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT)

Venkatesh et al. (2003)

Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB)

Ajzen (1985)

Task-technology fit (TTF)

Variables affecting technology acceptance Perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness, Attitude Characteristics of Innovation (Relative advantage, Compatibility, Complexity, Trialability, Observability), Communication Channels, Time, Social system performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence, facilitating conditions Attitude, Subjective Norms, Perceived Behavioral Control task-technology characteristic

Goodhue and Thompson (1995) Ubiquitous Jungals Perceived Computing Framework(UCF) and convenience Watson (2006)

Researches related to mobile banking Aboelmaged and Gebba (2013) Cheng (2017)

Tan et al. (2010)

Aboelmaged and Gebba (2013)

Tam and Oliveira (2016) Saeed (2011)

the field to provide their services (for example, dependence of banks on mobile operators to provide content via mobile Internet), and this has made the process of acceptance of mobile banking more complex (Lee


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et al. 2015). Accordingly, it is necessary to pay attention to this complex network in addressing acceptance of mobile banking. By reviewing the common theories and models in the field of technology acceptance, including mobile banking services, it can be found that each of these models has addressed certain variables as the factors affecting acceptance of mobile banking. In fact, these theories have given special importance to specific actors in the actor network of mobile banking. This is while ANT theory provides a holistic framework for examining acceptance of mobile banking in which it attaches equal importance to all human and non-human actors active in the mobile banking actor-network, and considers the interactions between them in the process of acceptance of this technology.

Conclusion Looking at mobile banking services from a supply perspective, several actors including banks, telecom operators, and technology providers can be named that have different interests, motivations, core competencies, and weaknesses and establish complex interactions with each other. In addition to supply-side actors, in terms of demand also customers are considered key actors in the network each having different interests and demands in using banking services. Different characteristics of customers in terms of personality, culture, demographics, and psychology affect their consumption behavior of mobile banking services, which adds to the complexity of actor-network in mobile banking. In addition, adoption of a socio-ecological perspective in mobile banking emphasizes attention to major political, economic, social, cultural, technological, demographic, and biological flows that affect all human activities and businesses. For example, the recent crisis caused by the outbreak of coronavirus can be mentioned which has led to fundamental changes in behavior of humans, communities, and businesses. From the point of view of consumers’ use of mobile banking services, it can be said that this new crisis has further strengthened the need to use remote services, including mobile banking. Also, this process by creating an economic crisis for all organizations, including banks, will affect as a chain on other

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actors of banking network and will have major impacts on business and non-business activities as well as their relationships. According to the above, it can be argued that studying the process of acceptance of any kind of technology without taking into account the many active actors in the network of relations related to it cannot explain the process well. Traditional theories in the field of technology acceptance have each looked at this phenomenon from a specific perspective and have given special importance to the role of specific actors. This is while actor-network approach in ANT emphasizes the equal importance of all human and non-human actors in acceptance of the new technology. ANT offers a good framework for studying acceptance of mobile banking services that can provide more accurate analyzes and help researchers to understand the dynamics of mobile banking services actor-network. The conceptual model presented in Fig. 9.3, considering the socio-ecological view of the process of acceptance of mobile banking services, can be useful as a framework for use of ANT in explaining acceptance of mobile banking services. It should be noted that the following figure shows a limited number of mobile banking network actors, and many other human and non-human actors in this network must be considered.

Fig. 9.3 Conceptual model (Source Authors suggestion)


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The conceptual model emphasizes the network of active actors in the banking industry, those who can be effective in the process of accepting mobile banking services. The factors involved in the far and near loops comprehending the translation process in the model have depicted the factors of the macro environment, the industry environment as well as the actors in the internal environment of the banks. In the farthest loop, we see the economic, political, social, biological, cultural, and technological macro environment factors in which the trends in these variables influence the process of accepting mobile banking services through affecting indirectly the banking industry. In addition, the competitive environment of the banking industry has actors such as customers, competitors, government and software and hardware analysts of mobile; the interests of these actors will have a direct impact on the acceptance of mobile banking services. Other actors in the mobile banking service network include the internal environmental factors of banks, including human factors such as employees, managers, marketers, and other beneficiaries who will affect the process of accepting mobile banking services. We also emphasize formally the role of other factors, including infrastructure factors, applications, contents, and telecom operators in the process of accepting mobile banking services. It is noteworthy that we can identify several other factors affecting the process of accepting mobile banking services in the macro environment, industry environment, and internal environment of the banking industry. The internal part of the model shows the stages of the interpretation process in accepting mobile banking services. Human and non-human actors influence the process of accepting mobile banking services through the process of interpretation, which has four stages: problem finding, member finding, recruitment, and equipping members. During the interpretation process, a network of actors is formed; they have been fully accepted and revision is not possible. In other words, a black box has been formed; the main actors are confident in the support of other components and will repeat this process in order to attract more support from other actors, and others will be mobilized to stabilize this goal.

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10 Application of Actor-Network Theory to Control Occupational Violence in Healthcare Facilities Quazi Omar Faruq

Introduction The outcome of healthcare, preventive, curative or palliative, is dependent on multiple-factors, particularly the interaction of health professionals, carers (family members or paid workers) and the users (service recipient or patient). Current complexities of the healthcare delivery system involving multiple stakeholders (including regulators and funders) deviated far from the traditional doctor–patient relationship. Today, management of health issues, require multiple interventions and varying skill sets of the service providers depending on the complexity of the issue or the disease condition. Healthcare is not limited only to a user and professional relationship, but on regulatory and ethical issues (national or international). International bodies like the World Health Organization (WHO) play an important role to assure universal coverage of primary healthcare. The credibility of the provider based on quality Q. O. Faruq (B) Victoria University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2020 I. Williams (ed.), Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory,



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and safety issue also come in play to gain competitive advantage in the industry. Quality service provision is guided by a set benchmark for the healthcare industry. Competition stimulates inclusion of technology and tool of excellence in the service delivery system, resulting in complex human and non-human interaction. Resulting tension among stakeholders leads to conflict and violence in healthcare service. This chapter intended to review the role of actors and the relationship among them to find ways to resolve the violence in healthcare. To facilitate the discussion the chapter focuses on—interaction of stakeholders in healthcare system, use of technology and its adoption to influence system, aggression and violence in health sector, ActorNetwork-Theory (ANT) in explaining interaction and potential of ANT to explain the violence.

Interaction of Stakeholders in Healthcare System In most countries healthcare system, including hospital service, is based on business strategy rather than purely welfare strategy. A business model brings market logic and drives everyone, including professionals, to work on better utilisation of resources, including funds, for all healthcare acute or chronic (Blomgren and Waks 2015; Willis et al. 2016). This approach aims to reduce hospital stay or the bed occupancy rate and too much dependence on specialists. Primary health care is strengthened through strategies like empowering General Practitioners (GPs) to maintain the continuum of care after discharge from hospitals or specialists care. Still this is not sufficient to satisfy all members in the community, leaving scope of aggression. Drive for high-quality service delivery results professional growth among health professionals but increases the cost of the service. Higher cost of service creates gap in service availability among people in socioeconomic divides. People know the existence of service but might not avail it due to economic constraints. For example; treatment of cataract surgery is available to all citizens, however, wealthy people can receive

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treatment immediately by paying upfront fees, in contrast people from low economic statuses have to wait in lengthy queues, even in developed countries, to receive free treatment through social services. When an intervention or treatment or technology is vital for the existence of a community then demand is raised through advocacy group to make that intervention available to general population public fund. One example is the human papilloma virus vaccine (or Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, like Gardasil vaccine to prevent cervical cancer). This is included in Australian Immunisation Schedule since 2007 to be administered among girls and young women aged nine to 26 years (Cancer Council 2017). However, there is concern by WHO that women in underdeveloped countries don’t have easy access to diagnostic tests for cervical cancer, like PAP smear test, nor, to the HPV vaccine (Parry 2006). More than 80% of the global cervical cancer affects the women of developing countries and contributes to 15% of all cancer deaths, but those countries have only 5% of the world’s cancer resources to manage the issue. As a result, the survival rate of these women in underdeveloped countries, is as low as 20% compared to more than the 60% in developed countries (Parry 2006). There are lots of issues where disparity exists on socioeconomic lines even among the population of developed countries. So, conflict and aggression are not limited only to basic healthcare needs but is developing in new fronts everyday depending on resource constraint or increased awareness of the community to demand more. There is increased demand for quality patient outcome and user satisfaction. It is becoming a norm to support the choice and control of the user in achieving their goal towards quality life. In some cases, users consider their environment as the cause of conflict and violence (Duxbury and Whittington 2005). This encourages providers to improve the environment to win users’ satisfaction. In some countries, “Hospitalin-home” is an option to provide healthcare services at the user place of residence, as much as practicable. It reduces the management cost and also reduces the average length of stay in bed compared to big-budget facilities or hospitals (Leff et al. 2005; Shepperd and Iliffe 2005). It is particularly helpful to manage some patients with chronic conditions. Some healthcare facilities have gone further in designing healthcare facilities to mimic the natural condition for the user by embracing the patient,


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family and caregivers in a psycho-socially supportive therapeutic environment to improve patient outcomes besides quality healthcare, and patient safety (Smith and Watkins 2016). This however is a challenging situation for healthcare service providers and its employees in satisfying the users, due to higher stress levels (Hills and Joyce 2013). There are advocacy groups who demand maximum benefit for the consumers or service users in the community even though not many users submit any complaints. They raise awareness in the community and build pressure to secure human rights, when national bodies like government agencies or healthcare funding agencies intend to commercialise the system by positive Return on Investment (ROI) or limitation of service provision based on cost–benefit analysis.

Use of Technology and Its Adoption in Healthcare Technology is an integral part of modern healthcare, be it in routine examinations, investigations, treatments or follow-ups. New tools are in constant development driven by competitive advantage to justify quality and excellence of service, improve efficiency or to simply satisfy new regulation and show compliance to regulatory or industry benchmarks. The acceptance of the technology and its adoption in the healthcare delivery system is not easy. The determinants of adoption vary widely (Taylor and McAdam 2004; Latour 2005; Young et al. 2010; Thompson 2014; Perez et al. 2016). Failure of adoption has a long list varying from: ethical debate (like the inclusion of stem-cell therapy or, debate on genetic engineering; Rivron et al. 2018), or cost of service (like mass vaccination only for prevention of cervical cancer, Gupta et al. 2017), or failure to convince community on the benefit of the intervention (like mass immunisation). Researchers and management might be excited to implement technology for better quality of service or cost-efficient measures, but service users and advocacy groups might perceive it controversial. There is a discussion on the use of robots in primary healthcare (Papadopoulos et al. 2020). It is interesting to observe the reaction of the community and the service providers about the adoption of such

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technology and the impact of primary healthcare. Even after the inclusion of IT in healthcare systems its adoption is not universal and remains in doubt if the government stops incentive in exchange for that usage. Adoption of technology does not achieve its target even after supporting evidence for its positive outcome (Faruq and Tatnall 2016). Technology (either information technology or automation technology) is becoming an important non-human actor in the hospital management. Wide acceptance of information communication technology; the internet or Wi-Fi networks, mobile devices, robotics and office automations are paving the way to reduce the physical contact of the medical staff with the clients. Pre-admission telephone interviews and interactive webpages are also helpful not only to hospital staff but also to patients and carers to obtain more preferences. IT hubs to store all data of the above sectors and allow participating members (like GP practices or hospitals) to share the data as deemed practicable under privacy and confidentiality regulations, and support secure messaging among its members (Kakouros 2013). This creates dynamism in the referral process and easy sharing of the information to manage the multiparty responsibility (Faruq and Tatnall 2016). This could be one of the tools to reduce conflict.

Violence in Healthcare Violence in health care facilities is on the rise in almost all countries across the globe due to the growth in the health care industry raising stress levels among stakeholders (Liu et al. 2019; Semordzie et al. 2017; Stene et al. 2015; Pulsford et al. 2012; Azodo et al. 2011, Manca et al. 2010; Shepperd and Iliffe 2005). It is a concern that the exact incidence rate of workplace violence is difficult to ascertain, as there is lack of consistency in defining the violence (Back et al. 2010). The WHO World Report on Violence and Health, defines violence as; “The force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has


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a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation” (page 19 section 1.3.3 of the EU-OSHA 2010). Compared to other organisational incidence of workplace violence perpetrated by service users, health professionals face the highest incidences especially in the emergency department and mental health field. (Livingston et al. 2010). Among the healthcare staff, frontline nurses are the most likely victims of violence by users or their carers (family or paid staff ) (Livingston et al. 2010). Aggression or violence not only reduces the output of the healthcare professionals, but also threatens the wellbeing and safety of other users and patients. The factors involved in occupational violence varies for all the above circumstances, depending on the scope of operation, environment, technology, characteristics of the people. Violence is related to the attitude of staff and customers (Pulsford et al. 2012). It decides the management strategies of the organisation. It is important to understand the internal and external factors along with environmental and situational (or interactional factors) perspective in managing or preventing violence. Violence could be initiated not only by customers but also by the management style of the facility. For example, if physical or chemical restrain is the choice of treatment when assumption of aggression or when there is an interpretation of “sign of aggression” by staff then customers and/or carers would respond to it with violence. This might lead to biasness or judgemental errors when taking management strategies that in turn influence or instigate violence at the time of service delivery. Management style or leadership style of the service provider organisation is also a contributing factor in violence. Today person-centred service provision is the national policy, where users (or patients) are supposed to have informed consent about the management. The users should have the opportunity to select service provision from the available options. But if the organisation still attempts to practice authoritative management with limited option for the user it could initiate violence. It is reported that staffs are reluctant to negotiate or listen to users, does not always value cultural sensitivity.

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On the other hand, limited staff to user (or patient) ratio, lonely workplace, female staff in male-dominated environment are contributing factors for occupational violence against staff. The role of humans in occupational violence depends on the (1) individual characteristics; like perception of values demographic difference, tolerance level, stress levels at work or in life, grievances, emotions relation to workplace or other people and (2) interpersonal factors; like level of trust on others, feeling of respect or dishonour, communication style, stress or conflict management style, acceptance or rejection issues, expectation of the level of collaboration or cooperation. Based on the above literature and the work of Mayhew and Chappell (2007) and UIIPRC (2001) Table 10.1 shows the different types of violence that take place in healthcare facilities. As mentioned above, there is an inaccuracy in listing the causes of occupational violence and recording the number of incidences in a facility (Mayhew and Chappell 2001). Major causes of difficulty are: 1. Varying measurement and reporting mechanisms at different facility (Gacki-Smith et al. 2009). Table 10.1

Classification of workplace violence


Description of perpetrator

Criminal intent

Perpetrator has no relationship to the workplace/victim but initiated violence with a criminal intent like robbery/terrorism Perpetrator is either a customer or relative or friend of the client at the workplace and becomes violent while being served by the worker/staff Employees or past employees of the workplace are the perpetrators The perpetrator usually has a personal relationship with an employee (like domestic violence in the workplace) Violence due to wider social and economic issues, like Occupational Violence (OV) relating to economic constraint, resulting in downsizing the organisation, work intensification, job insecurity, etc

Customer/client (OVAS)

Worker-on-worker Personal relationship



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2. Difference in judgment about the violent events based on perceived personalisation of the violence and presence of mitigating factors; (Luck et al. 2008). 3. Difficulty in recording incidents and lack of support from higher authority. 4. Absence of a standard definition of “occupational violence” (Back and Larsen et al. 2010). 5. Tolerance to violence due to peer pressure to ignore episodes, fear of blame and excessive paperwork (Speroni et al. 2014). Factors contributing to occupational violence in healthcare: 1. Working patterns and work environment; isolated areas, working hours (day or night), perception of clients about service quality, waiting time; Occupational Violence and Aggression (OVAS) incidents are more common in emergency, mental health and geriatric settings. Common factors of OVAS includes: overcrowding, staff shortages, noisy environments, emotional or psychiatric instabilities, long wait times and misperceptions of staff as uncaring (Speroni et al. 2014). 2. Worker’s characteristics (such as females are more vulnerable) (Mayhew and Chappell 2001), gender: that is, females are more likely to be subjected to verbal and sexual abuse, while males are subjected more to threats and physical violence (ABS 2014; Jackson 2001; Janocha 2010); work sector and job characteristics (Guay et al. 2015); misunderstanding, communication error, and differences in values, goals, personality and stress level (Carlson 2019). 3. Work sector and job characteristics (Guay et al. 2015). Action of the service providers in managing a situation depends on their perception of the situation based on their clinical training or service guidelines. Lack of alignment in patient’s (or service recipient’s) expectation and service provider’s mode of action, can create conflict. Conflict in healthcare might be related to people (customer or provider) attributes but also relates to broader social context, including

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the context of the environment and other non-human elements (Miettinen 1999; Young et al. 2010). Working in healthcare would be difficult if the workforce is not familiar with conflict management strategies and techniques. It is the responsibility of the management to ensure that their workforce is accurately skilled. The providers need to upskill the staff in regards to, perception, attitude, routine, etc., depending on the complexity of “customer needs” to avoid conflict (Berman et al. 2017; Darcy and Melissa 2017). Better communication strategies among healthcare professionals, supporting services and patients, along with better opportunity for patients to raise concerns about the treatment outcome and/or other health management can reduce many conflicts (Liu et al. 2016).

Prevention of Violence in Healthcare To manage the conflict in healthcare it is important to have (RNAO 2012 Sep): 1. knowledge, competencies and behaviours for effective conflict management; 2. understanding of the organisation approved best practices to effectively recognise, address, mitigate and manage conflict; 3. Implementation strategies and tools to manage conflict; 4. Support for staff encountering occupational violence to ensure they are confident to maintain service quality. Management of Aggression and Violence Attitude Scale (MAVAS) or similar tools need to be identified and analysed regularly to understand the trend, differences in behaviour of the service provider and customer. One important strategy to prevent violence in a healthcare organisation could be to understand the attitude of the people involved in service delivery (that is staff ). This might be followed by desensitising the people and encouraging to take unbiased or neutral position at the point of service delivery or interacting with customers (or participants).


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Another strategy could be understanding the customers’ (or, users’) perspective or their attitudes towards a service as a system or towards people (or carers) involved in service delivery. That might guide to develop proper campaign through different channels of healthcare delivery system (like the health education or health promotion unit or primary healthcare staff ) to educate community members or service users (patients or carers) to be prepared in accepting challenges (or professional practices) related to the service or organisation. Workplace violence, including patient-perpetrated violence in healthcare settings, is increasingly being recognised as preventable (Livingston et al. 2010, p. 15), but there is still lack of effective strategy to combat it in workplaces. Among the strategies staff training is considered effective by most organisations and is a part of the skill development programme (Semordzie et al. 2017; Ramacciati et al. 2016), but relying only on general theory-based training is not enough. Training material should be based on organisation specific information or data analysis to address the cause relevant to the organisation. Strategies other than training also need to be considered when reviewing the cause of the violence, specific to the organisation or programme (Livingston et al. 2010). As stated above, violence in healthcare is not due to the action of any one actor, it relates to the attitudes of care providers as well as that of users and also the effect of environment, physical or psycho-social environment (Pulsford et al. 2012; Duxbury and Whittington 2005). Careful observation of the offender can identify some sign-symptoms predicting assault. So, training of staff on those predictors could help develop a preventive approach to stop further escalation of the situation. It is important to identify the indicators of violence in a customer by taking past psychiatric history, behaviours of concern, careful physical examination and laboratory tests to help in identifying possible stress level. Because violence in health care settings is often under-reported, reliable and valid mechanisms must be established for the accurate and complete reporting of violent incidents against staff. Mandatory reporting of all known or suspected incidents of violence are necessary to realize the magnitude of the problem. Effective plans to prevent violence

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in health care facilities require a correct estimate of the full extent of threats and assault toward health care professionals. Management needs to arrange staff training based on the information collected by analysing the incidents. Potential areas of violence need to have appropriate workflow design such as; enough illumination of workplace, reduced physical contact, or ensuring clear exits and having buzzers to call for help. Staff training on managing incidences or interacting with participants showing sign-symptoms of aggression is also important.

Actor-Network-Theory (Ant) in Explaining Interaction ANT has been used in a wide range of fields of only general relevance to those studying technological use and adoption within an environment or organisation. Its more specific pertinence belongs to the sociology of technology, and other fields. In particular, ANT fills the gap in understanding the effect of non-human entities, i.e. technology, in everyday social life. Researchers became interested in “technology-in-practice”, that is, “the specific structure routinely enacted as we use the specific machine, technique, appliance, device, or gadget in recurrent ways in our everyday healthcare activities”. By conceptualising technology as sociotechnical networks (with human and technological components), ANT elucidates both the relationship between technology as an “artefact” and as “practice” and the process by which they shape each other. ANT has been employed in a variety of topics such as; computerised baggage handling in airports (Mähring et al. 2004) to medical technologies (Prout 1996; Cresswell et al. 2010) and successful in anti-smoking campaign. Review of publish literature finds, the interaction among the stakeholders (funding agencies, regulators, professionals, managers, customers, carers or family members, advocates and others) is growing in complexity to ensure the best outcome for the customer (or the patient) with quality service. Governance of the healthcare programme depends on the capability of management to understand the complexity of the


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above interactions and to take appropriate action to mitigate the stress among stakeholders. Identification of the actors and taking appropriate measures to motivate them to work towards positive outcomes, would bring success for the management. If not managed properly conflict or aggression would be inevitable (RNAO 2012). Violence is one of the end results of conflict (Lancman et al. 2013; Melf 2012). Organisations are a network of heterogeneous actors (social, technical, textual, naturally occurring) brought together into stable associations or alliances at different stages or periods of their lifecycle (Callon 2007; Law 1991). Stability of this actor-network depends on the dominance of one or more actors as well as the inclination or loyalty of the human and non-human to the network (Whittle 2008). Intermediaries make connections while mediators translate the connections into a form which builds the network into an object. Mediators are actors with the capacity to translate within the subsystems of a network what they transport, with agreement or disagreement. This helps the researcher to separate the actors into their role and then re-group them as needed. Interaction of intermediaries and then mediators to form the network is an important assertion of ANT. After several transformations a network stabilisation occurs which might be long term or short term depending on the interaction of actors (Bleakley 2014). Using the theoretical and analytical framework of ANT, it is possible to frame the relationship between customer, staff and organisation, in line of safety and quality of service dynamics. Due to the comprehensive nature in studying society and technology, ANT is a useful theoretical resource for occupational violence prevention (Mead and Neves 2018, p. 42).

Potential of Ant to Explain Occupational Violence and Its Prevention There are different social theories to explain the interaction between factors of a system, but to analyse the factors of occupational violence and to formulate a prevention strategy investigation on heterogeneous elements (like technology or IT) of the interaction, also needs to be

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investigated. Analysis of an incident of OVAS in a healthcare setting finds the involvement of environment, culture and other non-human factors besides human interaction. The influence of technology in providing healthcare makes it complex to understand how the actors bond with each other in forming a network and how the interaction sets a course of action. To analyse the complexity of the occupational violence in healthcare it is better to use a theory that goes beyond the human interaction, particularly when it involves the interaction of technology. ActorNetwork-Theory (ANT) is well placed to analyse such socio-technical phenomenon. ANT views technology as a cause of social change besides other social, economic, cultural and political forces. ANT focuses on tracing the association between entities whether the entities are human or non-human and attempts to identify the role of technology in the relationship between agency and social structure (Mead and Neves 2018, p. 42). According to Actor-Network-Theory (ANT) anything that does modify a state of affairs by making a difference is an actor (Latour 2005). So, the actors of occupational violence in health care could be the customers (with their carers, advocates or any others supporting them), staff members (professionals, or administrators), organisations (with its system and, regulations) and/or environment (facility location, design, working hour, working area, etc.) On identification of actors, the relationship of the actors in their existing network be analysed. According to ANT, the strength of the network lies on a black box that binds the actors to commit a particular action; to diffuse the harmful threat to the community. It is therefore important to understand the black box, how it maintains the current relationship in the network, then to identify the innovation or technology that could modify or change the system to control the disruptive factors or the threat of violence, and to finally guide the actions into a positive direction to create harmony and overcoming the conflict. Adequate knowledge on the characteristics of the actors, their relationship in the network with other actors and the ways they influence a situation is important. It helps formulate alternate ways to realign those actors in preventing occupational violence. Additionally, an induction


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programme or training programme could be arranged to educate or reeducate the actors to guide their interaction in avoiding the conflict or crisis. Policy innovation involves at least four stages to create a reformed system: (a) establishing the issue or problem (autonomisation in ANT terms), (b) developing possible solutions, (c) defending against the contesting possible solutions and (d) institutionalising, implementing and refining the preferred solution (Young et al. 2010). At the autonomisation stage, the core members of the organisation need to build a consensus to identify the key actors, out of all the others, to be managed in order to prevent violence. It is also important to adopt an innovative policy or restructure the existing one to be effective in reaching the goal. To implement the change, new networks need to be formed to gain commitment from the powerhouse of the organisation. Once a solution is identified there could be contests from opposing forces to resist the movement from their “comfort zone” and defend the interest of the existing businesses. It is crucial for the new network to build relationships with all possible actors to strengthen the new network to reach the new goal. According to the ANT this is called “mobilisation”. At this stage, the embryonic network formed based on the new solution to redesign the system needs to utilise intangible resources (like arguments, evidence and theories) and tangible resources (like technology and funds, etc.) to make the new network viable. This then needs to proceed for “alliance building”, where core network ties with extended networks and utilises their resources to dominate the new solution and rejecting the competitors. Lastly there needs to be “balance or wider acceptance” towards new solution. At this stage those fractions of the old network re-join the new network to pursue the new solution or new approach in controlling the occupational violence. It helps institutionalisation of the new solution which might be refined by the effort of all and facilitate the implementation. In developing new solutions to control violence, core groups need to analyse the organisational behaviour in adopting innovation (Belanger et al. 2002; De Dreu 2008). Existence of a technology or an innovation

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does not necessarily raise an appetite among members to be assimilated in the organisation or the system. Core groups need to work hard to stimulate people or create the right environment to facilitate adoption. It is important to understand the culture and its influence on adoption. Also, accessibility and applicability of the technology or innovation needs consideration for better adoption. To utilise ANT, it is important that not just one group of actors in (Table 10.2) successfully develop acceptance to a new policy to control occupational violence. There should be a primary or core network formed with more than one powerful actor. Today the healthcare delivery system, relies on user’s choice and customer satisfaction (Ware 2017). Therefore, governments or organisations should form initial core networks with public or community members, to take measures in controlling occupational violence from customers or general people in the community. Similarly, when the conflict is between different staff members in the hospital like conflict between Doctors and other workers or between Management and Professionals, then core network should grow from some influential members of the organisation if a serious incident deeply injures an influential member of the network then this major incident can spark the formation of a new core network for policy innovation to prevent future incidence. The subsequent attachment of the technology or environmental attributes expands the new network further to maintain the new system. At a point of time the elements under the influence of some actors remain aligned to a network. But a new impulse (like a concept or idea or technology) might become a dominant actor to destabilise the existing network encouraging changes in the system by forming a new network. Such formation and reformation of networks depends on the influence of the actors that plays intermediary role and mediator role (Bleakley 2014; Muller 2016).


Q. O. Faruq

Table 10.2 The actors of conflict in a healthcare facility could be grouped under following types Type


Customer based actors

Perception (of the user/patient and their accompaniments about the service), attitude, behaviour, service need, urgency, transparency, satisfaction., physical condition (acute or chronic) requiring them to seek the service, the psychological state, psychiatric illness, influence of substance/drug Personal attributes, attitude, stress management skills, workload, past experience of occupational violence. Personal attributes of a staff includes attitude or culture of providing service, inexperienced staff (lack of judgement to recognise clients stress, lack of understanding how to avoid conflict, young or immature staff, international medical graduate (IMG) unaware of the local culture, unable to respond to health service seeking behaviour of the population or unable to identify the entitlements of the customer), disproportionate gender distribution (female staff in aggravated male customer area) System, Regulation, Procedure, Resource management, priority setting. Understaffing, specific culture of work practices, communication across management and staff (effort to inform staff about working procedure, service delivery, referral procedure), training to upskill staff, staff support (like counselling in post-exposure period), stress level assessment Technology, Tools, Work environment, community acceptance, security. Isolation of the workplace, time of work (night time), ownership of facility (public or private ownership), type of service (acute, chronic, psychiatry, children), area of service (like, emergency department or mental health units), level of security present, customer demographic influencing attitude to health service (age, gender, cultural, regional, cosmopolitan)

Staff based actors

Organization based actors

Environmental actors

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Conclusion Skilful analysis of the human and non-human components of the network to apprehend the stabilising or destabilising status of the network will be an important asset to maintain quality of the healthcare service. It is the knowledge and skill of the management to understand the strength of the actors and guide their interaction in a positive direction to avoid the conflict or minimise it before bursting into violence. Management needs to identify the dominant actor or the potential of actors of the healthcare system to be dominant to bring change. Awareness of the technology or the innovation and attempts to develop appropriate adoption process can help to improve performance of the system. Most common strategy to prevent violence in healthcare service is training of staff. But in many organisations other components lack importance like positive culture to staff well-being, appropriate modification of the environment to diffuse the stress level of the stakeholders, appropriate measures to adopt the innovation. Further research and analysis on the actors might bring stability at the black box. It is difficult to predict the adoption of technology but that should not be a deterrent to attempt inclusion of new knowledge in the system to bring stability or to direct the interaction of actors into a desired goal.

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11 Actor-Network Theory and Networked Organizations, Proposing a Conceptual Framework Mohammad Ali Sarlak, Yashar Salamzadeh, and Fatemeh Sharafi Farzad

Introduction The conceptual framework developed in this chapter explains and clarifies how networked organizations, as one of the organizational arrangements (not as only virtual organizations), operate in harmony with actor-network theory. The chapter also proposes an actor-network theory inspired framework for networked organizations and, some new ideas for further research in this field, based on the proposed model. M. A. Sarlak Graduate Center, Payame Noor University, Tehran, Iran e-mail: [email protected] Y. Salamzadeh (B) · F. S. Farzad Graduate School of Business, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia e-mail: [email protected] F. S. Farzad e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2020 I. Williams (ed.), Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory,



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In this chapter, we have presented a comprehensive definition for networked organizations, which enables them to pursue their activities in line with their special characteristics. The opinions and available frameworks on networked organizations are not comprehensive and they are developed to serve either specific industries or businesses. One of the novelties of the proposed model is that it is both comprehensive and inclusive. This implies that it can be used to analyse different industries and sectors, either private, public or development sectors. We know that networked organizations are among the most organic types of organizations and in the near future, they will be among the most common organizational arrangements. These arrangements will be enabled by fast changes; dynamic environment and the utilization of Information Technology (IT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) based tools used for managing these organizations. Here we have developed a framework for networked organizations using a qualitative approach. This approach includes deep literature review, content analysis and Delphi rounds. Actor-Network Theory is among the most common theories, in the social sciences, when we are discussing networks. Especially when there are social aspects evident in such networks. Although many scholars in different fields, to analyze networks, have used this theory; there is still a lack of evidence on how to make it more practical in real organizational life. Furthermore, the connectivity between networked organizations and Actor-Network Theory is much more than what researchers have investigated up to now. Therefore, we have decided to merge our proposed model of networked organization with this theory in order to highlight their commonalities within the fields they cover. This can be a good starting point to make this theory work better in the real situation of the networked organizations. The structure of this chapter is as follows: we start with outlining this similarity in definition between networked organizations and ANT, bearing in mind the uncertainties in the definition. In the next section, we present our model for networked organizations according to abovementioned methodology. The third part of this chapter highlights the link between these two concepts, namely networked organizations and Actor-Network Theory. Finally, we conclude the chapter with some suggestions on potential future knowledge expansions in this field.

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Networked Organizations Networked organization, as highlighted in academic literature is not a new concept. But, after many years of the concept, being researched and discussed, there is no comprehensive and unique point of view about the concept. Some researchers identify networked organization by its characteristics such as: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Decentralization (Arquilla and Ronfeldt 2001); diversity (Ibarra 1992); flexibility (Nohria and Eccles 2000); differentiation (Baker 1992); redundancy (Ronfeldt and Arquilla 2001); lateral cross-functional ties (Baker 1992); being dynamic and innovative in all aspects (Salamzadeh et al. 2016); communication structures for either accessing or sharing information (Sproull and Kiesler 1991); 8. social mechanisms for coordination and control (Sproull and Kiesler 1993); 9. And extended organizational boundaries, Multi-party cooperative relationships, an independent company in a distributed network and finally a network of functions and relationships. Network organizations have been identified by different names such as collaborative networked organizations (Tramontin et al. 2010; Camarinha-Matos et al. 2009), networked firm (Child 1997), networked corporation, networked enterprises (Castells 1996) and networked company (Bednar and Godkin 2009). But, in this chapter, we consider them all under the umbrella of “networked organizations”. Networks are web of social and economic collaborations that have some clear outputs. Some researchers, without providing comprehensive definition, have described networked organizations by describing its properties such as values, goals, expertise, decision making, responsibility, accountability and trust. In fact, networked organizations are different from previous forms of organizational because they are a collection of organizations with links


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that tie them to each other (Snow and Miles 1992). Beside the organizational context, the term network is being used more broadly nowadays to describe cross-boundary connections between groups of people. It is clear that this definition can also be used easily in an organizational context. In this regard, some researchers believe that every form of organization is a network (Podolny and Page 1998). Before the 1980s, when organizations recognized that they could not face the dramatic changes in their organizational environment, without being linked to some other organization, networked organizations were not of a high interest. However, after the 1980s different networked organizations began forming strategic alliances, joint partnerships, R&D consortia, large international projects, cartels, networked supply chains and networked social enterprises (Salamzadeh et al. 2016). They knew that even their attempts, without these alliances, to handle contingencies created some unexpected and unwanted problems (Fox 2008). Networked organizations discovered that in order to face environmental complexities and dynamics they needed to expand their boundary-spanning initiatives and integrate with other organizations (Buono 1997). It was accepted that resources in the business environment were better accessible if organizations interact with each other (Davis and Cobb 2010). Recently some scholars shared that this collaboration facilitates sharing knowledge and increases the intellectual capital of all parties involved. This was the starting point of collaborative commerce in networked organizations based on their innovation capacity. In addition, based on a study by Schweer et al. (2012), well-networked organizations can easier accrue more profits and higher market-share compared to less-networked organizations. One of the most accepted definitions of networked organizations argues that networks consist of these two main components: The nodes (sometimes called actors, egos or units), and the relations between them (sometimes called links). This definition is close to what networked organizations share with actor-network theory. We can see this definition proposed by different researchers but with different wordings. As an example, Borgatti and Foster (2003) defined networks as a set of actors connected by a set of ties. In their article, actors (nodes) can be people, teams, organizations or concepts and ties that connect them to

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each other. These connections can be in the form of direct, indirect, dichotomous or values ties (Sarlak and Salamzadeh 2014). Parker (2007) argued that networks require some actors connected by ties and social relations; decentralized decision making and shared power arrangements and actor participation and knowledge transfer. Networked organizations are involved in real-time operations; and they possess global reach, fluid boundaries, extended enterprise and decentralization. As mentioned in a research by Diefenbach and Sillince (2011), although many organizational changes are geared towards flatter organizational structure and postmodern organizations such as networked structures, the hierarchical order is quite persistent. Although some scholars believe that deriving a universal model for network communications and collaborations, which is a crucial part of networked organizations, is not possible (e.g. see, Oberg and Walgenbach 2008; Maglajlic and Helic 2012). There are opinions on the contrary, opinions that indicate that there can be a generic model for a networked organization (Salamzadeh et al. 2016) which has result the authors designing the current framework. In summary, there are varieties of definitions for networked organization. In order to differentiate the various definitions for networked organizations from other organizational arrangement, this chapter pioneers a universal definition for networked organizations. This effort takes into consideration and modifies the available key terminologies extracted from previous research.

Proposed Model for Networked Organization In order to reach to a structured framework on networked organizations we started this research with a deep literature review to find out the components of a generic networked organization, as much as we can. Later we had some interviews with experts in this field. The purpose of the interview was to review all factors that enable networked organizations. The review involved the systematic adding, removing and merging of some of the identified factors from literature. The review also involved the identification of factors that overlapped and those


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with different wordings. This identification process was conducted via a systematic coding procedure. 132 codes or factors of networked organizations were derived. At the next stage, the 132 codes were re-coded axially simultaneously with content analysis. This resulted in nine main dimensions of networked organization with each factor possessing, some sub-dimensions. From the content analysis, three basic themes emerged. These themes were organizational themes and global themes. These themes were used to develop the model. The initial 132 themes were validated using a fuzzy Delphi process. After three rounds, there was a consensus among the interviewed experts in which 128 factors were categorized into “highly related”; and four were categorized into “moderately related”. Therefore, the four factors were removed and the model developed using the 128 themes. To be concise in the presentation of the research output the global theme (Networked organization) and organizing themes besides the basic themes are presented here (Fig. 11.1).

Fig. 11.1

A conceptual model of networked organizations (by authors)

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Networked Organization and Actor-Network Theory A glance at the proposed model provides a picture of how the idea of a networked organization is linked with that of actor-network theory. However, in order to make it clearer below is a short description of actornetwork theory and this theory relates to networked organizations. ANT has its originate in Science and Technology Studies (STS). The theory was developed by Bruno Latour (e.g. Latour 1987, 1988, 2005), Michel Callon (e.g. Callon 1986, 1991, 1998) and John Law (e.g. Callon and Law 1982; Law 1992), and later by Annemarie Mol, in the “ANT and after” literature (e.g. Mol 2002; Latour 2004, 2005; Law 2008; Law and Singleton 2005). As time went on, the application of ANT expanded from Science and Technology Studies to a broad variety of fields including but not limited to education, business, accounting, information systems and sociology. Generally, ANT is a research approach focusing on relationships between human and non-human objects in networks (Harman 2009) and it is exactly in line with the idea of networked organizations, which accommodate different form of actors including human and non-human actors. ANT argues that properties of any artefact, change agent or any other organizational entity are not innate but emerge gradually during the process of construction, translation or emergence enabled by a network of actors (Latour 1987). The same gradual change occurs as well for networked organizations during the definition of boundaries, network members and their fields of activity. In the definition of ANT, we encounter four main concepts: actors, translation, alliances and trials of strength (Latour 2005). In networked organizations, we also have the following concepts: 1. Actors are the nodes within the network. They operate as either a human or non-human in order to fulfil needs of the organization. Specific roles are assigned to all actors in a networked organization in order to enable them work together in a defined manner. 2. Translation: Translation, occurs when a new traceable relationship between actors is produced (Sahlin and Wedlin 2008; Zilber 2006).


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It is seen easily in networked organizations by the way they perform their task through these collaborative relationships. The concept of translation in ANT is about the quality of relationships and associations within networks. This concept is a contextual factor of networked organizations. 3. Alliance: It is clear that no networked organization can survive without alliances, be the alliance a simple one or a complex one. 4. Trial of strength: Finally, on trials of strength, the main idea is that disorder is the new order or norm, which implies that the stability of the system or organization is often in a fragile state that might crack at any time (Callon 1986). This concept surprisingly aligns with the environment that networked organizations operate and the way they consider the changes in their environmental context. According to Latour (2005) in ANT, actors themselves create everything from their theories, their context, their metaphysics and their frames. Same goes for networked organizations in defining their own norms, borders, collaborators, values, skills and the way they must think in a diverse cultural context. According to the principles of ANT, if we expect an actor-network to operate in such a way that it produces the needed results, then the actor-network must continuously reconstruct itself by the movement and activities of the actors. This process increases the durability of the network (Latour 2005) and again this is similar to processes happening in networked organizations.

Conclusion and Future Research Orientations In summary, there are similarities between the conceptual makeup of networked organizations and some of the network elements described in ANT. Therefore, ANT can be counted as one of the best analytical frameworks that can be used to analyse networked organizations in order to understand, how they operate, how they survive, how they collaborate and how they define their specific values, norms and culture. According to what presented in this chapter, both on the networked organization and ANT, it is important to note that there are some

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niche research fields in which ANT can be used to evaluate networked organizations. Furthermore, there will be some unanswered questions regarding network organizations in which future researchers can use ANT to investigate as a means of continuing their investigations on this subject. In order to continue such investigation, researchers should be conscious of some issues. Firstly, from the point of view of ANT, we need to remember that ANT emphasizes on the connections between different entities as a network. Networked organizations have the same status but the ideal level of interdependency between the actors, including human and non-human actors, in networked organizations is still missing in academia. On the other hand, ANT considers the principle of symmetry, which rejects the dualism between non-human and human actors and expects organizational stakeholders to treat these class of actors equally. Although agency is granted to non-human actors by human actors (Potvin and Clavier 2013). The main concern here is related to industrial revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0) and the changes related to it. Still there is a need to plan how to manage artificial intelligence within organizations and we believe that ANT can be a good guide for future discussions on this issue. As another consequence of principle of symmetry is the relationship between humans and technologies, the activities or interventions they produce cannot be assumed as independent from each other. This fact opens a new way of thinking about entrepreneurial activities in networked organizations and the innovation process. This is why the authors express that there is the need to reconsider the innovation process in networked organization using ANT approach. The second suggestion refers to the translation process in ANT. This process is the linkage between diverse entities such as human, ideas, thoughts, technologies, values, norms, resources, institutions or any other organizational entities. However, in the field of business and management, there is a lack of research on how we can link these diverse entities in a dynamic approach. Hence, the proposed framework comes in handy. Thirdly, from the point of view of the proposed model for networked organizations here are some suggestions for future research based on the proposed dimensions.


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• On systems dimension of networked organizations we need to be able to recognize all node, link and the interaction between them. The nodes are actors within the network and links are building blocks of the networks. This alignment of concepts enables the precise analysis of a networked organization using ANT. • On communication dimension of networked organization, the quality and the pattern of communication are important. If we consider the communication between human and non-human actors in the network, again ANT can be a useful tool for analysing the quality and pattern of communication. Current research on communications within networks only concentrate either on human actors or on organizations as actors. However, the consideration of non-human actors can create new pathways on these studies especially in the IR 4.0 era in which many non-human actors will play an active role within organizations. • On the environmental dimension of networked organizations, there is almost no research concentrating on context, content and behaviour of the network. Furthermore, at the same time using the “translation” process in ANT can be helpful in providing a clearer view on this dimension. Most of the researches on networked organizations focus only on the structure of networks. However although there are other approaches in this regard, but using ANT could be another suggestion towards expanding this research stream. • On the skills dimension of networked organization, we need to know more about the way towards enhancing the skills of all actors within the network. As networked organizations are greatly skill oriented and dynamics of skills flow inward and outward their boundaries play a crucial role in their success, it is vital for them to be able to manage all available skills in actors of their network, no matter they are human actors or non-human actors. The development of models on the relationship between human and non-human actors on one hand, and how the explanation on how to manage the conflicts between the actors as well as how to promote soft skills on the other hand, can be among research priorities in this part. • The norms and values can have an impact on the interaction between actors in the network. As we know, according to ANT, values and

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norms can be dynamically defined and modified in the network. Still we need more investigation on the process of this change within networked organization. Even some cultural changes in networked organizations can also be defined by ANT. In this way, the value of the network’s activities can be enhanced for future generations with different organizational and network cultures. • Management style is next dimension of networked organizations. Using the approach of the ANT, we can expand the knowledge on best management styles towards managing human and non-human actors in networked organization. • Finally, on the strategies dimension, ANT can reveal more about the identity of networked organization. Such revelations include that of the thinking style, value added activities in the network and some more common organizational strategies. These are strategies not from the point of view of an outsider but from the inner perspective of the network as a living and dynamic entity. Overall, this research will provide more supporting evidences in social science world and for the management sciences as it will provide better and newer perspectives on organizational analysis using ANT approach.

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Latour, B. (2004). Why has critique run out of steam? From matters of fact to matters of concern. Critical Inquiry, 30 (2), 25–248. Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the social: An introduction to actor-network theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Law, J. (1992). Notes on the theory of the actor-network: Ordering, strategy and heterogeneity. Systems Practice, 5 (4), 379–393. Law, J. (2008). On sociology and STS. Sociological Review, 56 (4), 623–649. Law, J., & Singleton, V. (2005). Object lessons. Organization, 12(3), 331–355. Maglajlic, S., & Helic, D. (2012). How do social networks influence learning outcomes? A case study in an industrial setting. Interactive Technology and Smart Education, 9 (2), 74–88. Mol, A. (2002). The body multiple: Atherosclerosis in practice. Durham: Duke University Press. Nohria, N., & Eccles, R. G. (2000). Face-to-face: Making network organizations work. In R. G. Eccles (Ed.), Networks and organizations: Structure, form and action (pp. 288–308). Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press. Oberg, A., & Walgenbach, P. (2008). Hierarchical structures of communication in a network organization. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 24 (3), 183–198. Parker, R. (2007). Networked governance or just networks? Local governance of the knowledge economy in Limerick (Ireland) and Karlskrona (Sweden). Political Studies, 55 (1), 113–132. Podolny, J. M., & Page, K. L. (1998). Network forms of organization. Annual Review of Sociology, 24 (1), 57–76. Potvin, L., & Clavier, C. (2013). Actor-network theory: The governance of intersectoral initiatives. In C. Clavier & E. De Leeuw (Eds.), Health promotion and the policy process (pp. 82–103). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Ronfeldt, D., & Arquilla, J. (2001). Networks, netwars and the fight for the future. First Monday, 6 (10). Sahlin, K., & Wedlin, L. (2008). Circulating ideas: Imitation, translation and editing. In R. Greenwood, C. Oliver, R. Suddaby, & K. Sahlin-Andersson (Eds.), The Sage handbook of organizational institutionalism (pp. 218–242). London: Sage. Salamzadeh, Y., Salamzadeh, A., & Radovic Markovic, M. (2016). Cultural intelligence and network organizations in society: Case of Tehran neighbourhood councils. International Review, 4 (1–2), 46–58.


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12 How Actors of Social Networks Affect Differently on the Others? Addressing the Critique of Equal Importance on Actor-Network Theory by Use of Social Network Analysis Shaghayegh Kolli and Datis Khajeheian

Introduction As part of this book, this chapter does not explain the fundamentals of actor-network theory (ANT), because it is expected that those aspects are addressed in other chapters. Instead, this chapter addresses one of the criticism of this theory and focuses on the network nature of the relationship as exhibited between the actors within the network where they interact. One major critique of ANT addresses its radical equalization of agency, which assumes that all actors within the network are equal (Cressman 2009). Respectively, ANT even supposes a radical account of power, claiming that the power of all actors within the network is equal (Whittle and Spicer 2008). While these assumptions have been S. Kolli M.A in Media Management, Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran, Iran e-mail: [email protected] D. Khajeheian (B) Department of Business Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2020 I. Williams (ed.), Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory,



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criticized by many scholars (e.g. Hadden and Jasny 2019; Schoeneborn et al. 2019; Khajeheian 2018a; Salamzadeh et al. 2016), some defended the assumption of equal actors, and arguing that by considering all actors equal, ANT reveals to us the mechanism of power by asking “how” questions, rather than “why” questions (Law 1992, p. 380). “Why” questions ask why this actor is placed on such position of power, but “how” questions ask how this position provides more power than others to the actor, and by asking such questions enable us to understand how power in a network. Teurlings (2013) also in his interesting article that unblocks box the production in media industry, argues that by not distinguishing between different types actors and treating with them as they are same, ANT decreases “the danger of presupposing what has to be explained” (page 103). This research investigates this assumption further by using a technical tool and social media analysis, to test these assumptions. The idea is to show that mechanism of power can still be understood if we appreciate that the different actors do not enjoy equal importance and power; and if we acknowledge that they possess different levels of power based on their positions within the network. There is an increasing number of research in the fields of management (Polyakova et al. 2019; Ribeiro et al. 2017); entrepreneurship (Horst and Hitters 2020; Khajeheian and Kolli 2020; Hossain et al. 2020; Labafi and Williams 2018; Khajeheian 2016); entertainment (Craig and Cunningham 2019; Kolli and Khajeheian 2018); journalism (Cha 2020; Broersma and Eldridge 2019; Carlson 2018); and marketing (Sharafi Farzad et al. 2019; Khajeheian 2018b). This research could be of value to future researchers, in the aforementioned fields, who aim at examining the influencers, authorities, and sources of power within networks.

Literature Review While engaging in social media platforms like Twitter, users use some basic functions such as “following”, “friending”, “subscribing”, “sharing”, and “retweeting” for information flow. Social media users subscribe to a wide range of information sources and, in turn, others can find them as a source of information (Westerman et al. 2014). Some scholars, like

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Himelboim et al. (2017), argue that the emerging patterns of connections among users in general take the form of the social network where their interaction occurs. Furthermore, each network structure is an indicator of its unique patterns of information flow. In order to understand the unique characteristics of every network and to capture patterns of information flow, some measures such as centrality, degree, and betweenness are used (e.g., Borgatti 2005; Burt 2005; Freeman 1978). Network ties have also been classified based on their strength, in order to explain the type of information flow—be it novel or redundant—among users in a network (e.g., Granovetter 1973). In spite of their value, such approaches only capture the role that individuals play in shaping information flow in specific parts of the network. In contrast, network classification at the network-level provides insights for information flow as a whole. Scholars have also illustrated the value of single network-level measurements, such as density (Carley 1991; Lerman and Ghosh 2010) and centralization (Freeman 1978; Woo-young and Park 2012), as indicators of information flow. However, the structure of a network encompasses several measurements that can comprehensively provide a sound understanding of information flow between users in that network. A social network structure is created when connections (“links,” “ties,” or “edges”) are created among social actors (“nodes” or “vertices”), such as individuals and organizations (Wasserman and Faust 1994). Social media platforms allow users to form ties or connections among themselves in the process of sharing images, texts, videos, and other digital artifacts. Research on social media, from a social network, perspective shifts the focus from individual traits to relational ties between social entities (Bruns and Stieglitz 2013). Collections of these ties or connections aggregate into emergent patterns or network motifs. On social networking sites, users form networks by interacting with other users when they connect or share information with them. On Twitter, social networks are composed of users and the connections they form with other users when they mention and reply to one another (Hansen et al. 2010). Individuals and other social actors tend to form subgroups of connected individuals who are more interconnected with one another


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than with others with less connected persons in their social network (Watts 2004). A key characteristic of self-organized networks—where nodes are free to create and delete connections—is that they share a common “small world” structure. Milgram found that regardless of the size of a social network, human society is composed of small clusters of tightly interconnected individuals, which results in a short average path length between any two people. The core of social media platforms, or the collection of platforms that enable users to engage in communications e.g., Twitter (Kaplan and Haenlein 2011), is about connecting with others (Labrecque 2014). Twitter is about what is happening now (trending) and immediacy of information sharing with anyone (Huff 2015; Valos et al. 2017). A critique on ANT is that this theory overlooks the difference in the roles of nodes and assumes that all nodes are similar. One thing that is stressed in relation to the concepts of actor and network is that they should not be understood and utilized independently. Based on this argument, all actors are also networks and vice versa. In the most general sense, a relationship in an actor-network refers to at least two entities that mutually affect (change, modify, define, or stabilize) each other, either directly or through other entities (Vicsek et al. 2016). This understanding highlights that in ANT, the main focus is not on which actors are directly related to each other, or how many nodes are needed to connect specific positions, but on how elements form and shape each other. The principle of radical symmetry also underlines that the actor is never alone while acting. Action, in this sense, is always an interaction (Sayes 2014) since the actor must mobilize other elements of the network in order to affect its environment. The essential characteristic of network theory is that, in order to explain social phenomena, its focus is on relational data and the relationships among the interdependent subjects in society (Emami and Khajeheian 2019). The theory infers a shift away from monadic variables (attributes of actors) toward dyadic variables (attributes of pairs of actors, attributes of relations among actors) among the total set of actors. From the perspective of the graph theory, a network can be construed as a graph formed by a set of actors/vertices (social actors or objects) and the set of relations which connect them. In addition, a network also contains

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more information than can be depicted by a graph such as the nature of vertices and/or the relations on the graph (Khajeheian and Kolli 2020). Each kind of tie in the network can form a separate network, and a comparative analysis of multiple networks can be made using the same group of actors. In the social sciences, dyadic ties can be classified into the following four categories: (1) similarities based on location, membership, or attribute; (2) social relations based on kinship, other roles, affective, or cognitive; (3) interactions; and (4) flows (Borgatti et al. 2009). In Social Network Analysis (SNA), several indicators and measurements have been developed and are frequently used for the definition and identification of the key actors and/or roles that are fulfilled within a network. The most important indicators are centrality, brokerage, and prestige. Centrality can occur in three ways: through the existence of many ties (degree), through the short distance from one actor to another (closeness), or by an actor who is a component of many paths between other actors (betweenness) (Freeman 1978). Betweenness centrality at a local level suggests that actors can take advantage of structural holes. That is the absence of a tie between two neighbors (Burt 2002). Prestige and ranking indicators rely on the hypothesis that not all ties are symmetrical and that social inequalities are reflected in these asymmetries. Identification and ranking within a network may be undertaken on the basis of popularity—among other methods—depending on the number of incoming ties, proximity prestige, clusters, and triads. The identification of leadership, brokership, embeddedness, influence, and homophily (McPherson et al. 2001) is central to SNA. When analyzing a social network, structural characteristics such as network size, density (the ratio of existing ties to all possible ties) closeness (the distance between any two actors in the network) and clustering (the existence of dense regions in the network) as well as the number and character of subgroups (cliques, clans, etc.) can be investigated (Wasserman and Faust 1994).


S. Kolli and D. Khajeheian

Research Method Method This research follows a descriptive approach. Social Network Analysis (SNA) is used as the analytical tool to analyze the data. SNA provides a method for analyzing social relationships within a group, in order to understand the informal connections between its members (Hansen et al. 2010). The premise for this analysis is that social life is created by interactions and the patterns produced through these interactions. The primary concepts in this type of analysis are nodes (the members of a network) and ties (the relationships established between these members). Social networks are usually represented graphically on a social network diagram, where nodes are presented as points, and ties are presented as lines connecting the points (Gonçalves Rosa 2014).

Data Extraction and Analysis The population of this research consists of the Twitter users who used #Bamilo and #‫( بامیلو‬in Persian script) in their tweets during the data collection phase. To collect the data, researchers searched #Bamilo in both languages to extract nodes which involved users who used this hashtag; and also to discover their relationships with other twitter users who used similar hashtag in their tweets. Twitter data were collected directly by the use of NodeXL. 673 nodes were extracted from twitter users who used #Bamilo and #‫ بامیلو‬in their tweets. Researchers extracted the basic network features, including friends, tweets, replies, and mentions for the extracted nodes. This approach was adopted in order to capture all retweeting activities and also to investigate how far this activity permeates through the network. The outcome was represented in two-degrees graphs, which included the users who created 3624 connections. After cleaning data and illustrating the fundamental graph, Gephi is used to analyze and illustrate the data collected and analyzed.

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The duration of the data collection and analysis exercise was 4 weeks. Data was extracted in a week and at 7.00 p.m. Saturdays from 30/10/2018 to 01/12/2018. NodeXL as mentioned earlier was used to analyze the data. The indicators,—Betweenness centrality, Closeness Centrality, Eigenvector Centrality,—and the Graph Metrics were calculated using the software.

Variables Description 1. Whole network metrics Diameter: The network diameter represents “the length of the shortest path linking the two most distant nodes in the network” (considering reachable pairs) (Hansen et al. 2010, p. 73). Degree: The degree of a node is “the number of edges connected to the node” (Hansen et al. 2010, p. 40). Cluster coefficient: The bipartite clustering coefficient is “a measure of the local density of connections” (Latapy et al. 2008, p. 2). 2. Node level metrics Betweenness centrality: this measure indicates the distance between two vertices by counting the lowest number of neighbor hits. It shows if a vertex lies on paths that are inbetween other vertices. Higher betweenness implies that the vertex has a considerable influence within a network based on its power to exert control over the information that is being shared between the actors. A network is disrupted if such vertices are removed and the communications between other vertices become interrupted (Hansen et al. 2010, p. 40). Closeness Centrality: This measure indicates “the mean distance from a vertex to other vertices” (Hansen et al. 2010, p. 41). Eigenvector Centrality: the centrality of some nodes “does not merely depends on the number of surrounding nodes, but also depends on their value of centrality” (Ruhnau 2000, p. 360). This measure is developed based on the idea that an actor is more central if connected to other central actors.


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Density: Graph density is the proportion of ties present, relative to possible ties between alters in a respondent’s first order neighborhood. In other words, it is a measure of how many ego friends are friends themselves, controlling the egos’network size (Lewis et al. 2008, p. 334). Modularity: This measure is a multiplicative constant that shows “the number of edges that fall within groups minus the expected number in an equivalent network with edges placed at random” (Newman 2006, p. 2). This measure can be either positive or negative value indicates the possible presence of community structure. Therefore identifying the divisions of a network to be positive and with preferably large values of this measure, one can search for community structure precisely (Newman 2006).

Research Process As mentioned in the methodology, at the first stage, authors extracted Tweets that contain Bamilo hashtag both in Persian and English. The data and measure indicators were collected and analyzed and the whole network visualized. Next, based on the SNA framework, authors identified influencers and visualized their activities graph networks. Finally, activities and networks based on date and relationships were analyzed. The outcome enabled the authors to recognize the most influential users (Fig. 12.1).

subscribe NodeXl to Twitter

Fig. 12.1

Basic networks plus users friends option selected

Search for # and Bamilo in Twitter and extract tweets into Microsoft Excel.

Research process

Analyse of collected data and measure indicators

Visualise total networks

Identifying Influencers

Analyse activities and networks

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Results Figure 12.2 shows the graph that is produced by using of Harel-Corel Fast Multi-Scale algorithm. The nodes sizes are set according to their degree (the number of connections, followers, and followings together), and the colors represent communities. The figure provides a representation of all individual composition of this network. The quadrant thresholds are represented by lines. Finally, the graph is displayed in Fig. 12.2.

Graph Metrics A graph with 581 vertices or actors, including the page administrator, were obtained. These vertices are linked through 3621 unique edges, as seen in Table 12.1. The diameter of a connected graph is the maximum distance between two vertices. The eccentricity of a vertex is the maximum distance from itself to any other vertex (Harary and Gupta 1997).

Fig. 12.2

Graph network


Table 12.1

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Graph metrics



Graph type Vertices Unique edges Edges with duplicates Total edges Maximum geodesic distance (diameter) Average geodesic distance Betweenness centrality Closeness centrality Eigenvector centrality Clustering coefficient Graph density Modularity Source

Directed 673 2880 742 3621 9 3.701521 60321.747 1.000 0.033 1 0.009 0.447698 Made with NodeXL www.smrfounda

The Maximum Geodesic Distance (Diameter) of the graph is 9, and its radial is 0. Therefore, the distance between the nodes is 9. The average path length is 3.701521. It means that the distance of each node from the next one is 3.701521. Density is a number between 0 and 1, and the bigger the network, the lower the density. The denser the network, and the greater the probability for homophile. Homophile implies similarity as well as common interests and preferences. Its existence implies that more connections will be established among such individuals (Tsvetova and Kouznetsov 2011). Based on the data derived in this research, the density of the network being studied is 0.009. This density shows that the consistency within this network is normal. To demonstrate the homophile in the social network two measures, modularity, and clustering co-efficiency are used. The modularity of this network is 0.493, and this number shows that the relationship among the clusters is not too strong. The clustering coefficient measures the connection between the given user’s friends to each other. A higher number reflects that the user is located in a more homophile and more concentrated cluster. This means that the users have mutual connections (Li

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et al. 2017). In this network, the clustering coefficient is 0.467, which implies that the mutual connections are average. The Betweenness Centrality is 60321.747. This reflects maximum centrality and means users can republish the new information extracted from cortical nodes to increase their social capital. The closeness centrality is 0.028. The low value in maximum closeness centrality reflects the high closeness of vertex. This means the distribution of information occurs in a short period of time. The Eigenvector Centrality is 0.033. This implies that the connected nodes can obtain higher levels of information and can further spread the acquired information to other connected nodes in order to increase their social capital. Hence, the actors within this network enjoy from a high Eigenvector Centrality that connects them to other actors. Based on the results for the indicators, a graph of the diffusion of the hashtag, for a well-known Iranian online brands, are explained and the structure of the graph and the diffusion of information within the network is described. As indicated, some nodes possess higher and important value within the network. These nodes represent a number of the influencers who direct the other nodes within the community. To recognize the most important people within the network, the framework of Littero et al. (2017) is used. In this framework, influencers are recognized by the value of Eigenvector Centrality and Betweenness Centrality in a matrix, and evaluated by their position in the matrix. The matrix is shown in Fig. 12.3. This matrix represents a two-dimensional scatter plot, in which the users of the network are plotted based on their eigenvector centrality score (reflecting by y-axis) and their betweenness centrality score (reflecting by x-axis). In this matrix, actors are classified into the following four categories: 1. potential influencers, who enjoy a high degree of both betweenness and eigenvector centrality; 2. brokers, who are the individuals with high betweenness centrality but with low eigenvector centrality;


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Fig. 12.3

Framework of research

3. actors with important connections, that receive low score for betweenness centrality; reflecting a limited outreach to groups outside their local community; 4. and finally (4) secondary actors with low score in both measures for betweenness and eigenvector centrality (Litterio et al. 2017, p. 353). Figure 12.4 and Table 12.2 provide an overview of the fragmentation among the influencers. These are influencers identified from data. Betweenness and eigenvector centralities are both measures of the individual nodes in the network. They relate to the diffusion potential of the node. The values obtained from results are shown in Table 12.1. As a result of high maximum centrality, these users can use the new information provided by the cortical nodes as well as re-publishing this information. Also, because of the high level of Eigenvector Centrality, the connected nodes can obtain a high level of information. These nodes represent the actors who are more central if it is in relation to actors that are themselves central. So as described in the data, the placement of nodes has a significant effect on their roles and values in the graph. So the values of the nodes are not the same. Figure 12.5 depicts the position of each influencer in the whole graph.

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0.045 0.040 0.035 0.030 0.025 0.020 0.015 0.010 0.005 0.000 0.000

Fig. 12.4 Table 12.2






Fragmentation of influencers Influencers list

First level

Betweenness centrality

Eigenvector centrality

ebrahimmhi Second level alexking1376 asysepid Third level loca_che yekshahrivari alirezakarbor shayan ian80023996 radikal961 mohammad_tale bab1355903864 mohamma27682431 l_khov scorpionofiran1 maman6390



22467.259 12888.857

0.005 0.002

1217.621 871.579 1295.741 784.328 1851.767 4120.105 592.572 6353.648 1283.894 798.960 853.882 578.920

0.043 0.042 0.041 0.036 0.032 0.029 0.028 0.026 0.025 0.024 0.024 0.023


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Fig. 12.5

Position of influencers in the graph

Conclusion As it expressed at the beginning of this article, this study addresses the critique of the radical equalization of an agency that is proposed by actor-network-theory that will enable the understanding of how power forms in a network. The analysis of the case network shows that some positions in a network are of more value than others. This is because they determine the information flow within the network and the node that receives information quicker. The findings confirm the importance of actor-network relationships and presents actors as trying to position themselves at specific positions in order to influence the information flow. There is increasing attention toward the use of new analytical tools in analyzing emerging trends such as Big data (Nel et al. 2020; Nemati and Khajeheian 2018; Marashi and Hamidi 2018); sharing economy (Roshandel Arbatani et al. 2019):, Co-creation e.g. in Tourism (Ebrahimi et al. 2020; Hamidi et al. 2020); and in media (Khajeheian and Ebrahimi 2020; Salamzadeh et al. 2019; Khajeheian et al. 2018; Karimi and Salavatian 2018). The findings of this research will be useful to such analysis. The approach to the findings will aid in recognizing influencers.

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It will also help in understating how these influencers act within the network to influence others by sharing specific information. It will also show that the level of relationship and ties with nodes has a significant impact on the power of each actor. The findings of this research emphasize the usefulness of social media analysis as a tool to examine the power relations within the organizations, markets, and societies. Therefore understanding the actors who control the information has acritical importance on the analysis of information flow. The understanding also highlights the importance of how to manage effectively the communication within and between networks. The findings of this research are also useful in the management of special situations such as communication at the time of crises as well as natural or environmental catastrophes. By understanding the powerful actors, individuals and organizations can manage the immediate and effective spread of information and can also either prevent or overcome the obstacles to the flow of information. Following the findings of this chapter, the authors suggest future researches into the following subjects: 1. How the position of an actor within a network affect entrepreneurial orientation and action. 2. How organizations can manage the fair distribution of information in order to prevent the formation of groups with the advantages of special information. 3. How social media can be used to spread the information at the time of crisis and catastrophes in order to enable communication with the people affected. 4. How enterprises can select the right users from different social media platforms in order to maximize the influence on the target customers and audiences. 5. How other methods for analysis for social networks can be used to gain better and more informative analysis on power relationships, information flow, influence, and actors within the networks?


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13 Analyzing Network of Media Organization, Audiences, and ICTs Based on Actor Network Theory: The Case of IRIB Siavash Salavatian, Mohammad Hesampour, and Tohid Soltani

Introduction Technology as a non-human actor in media industry plays the role of a game changer. This is because of digital convergence. Digital convergence has revolutionized the media industry (Salamzadeh et al. 2019). Digital convergence is enabled by the convergence between media, computers, and telecommunications, and influenced by television policy S. Salavatian (B) Department of Media Management, IRIB University, Tehran, Iran e-mail: [email protected] M. Hesampour Faculty of Communication Sciences, Allameh Tabataba’i University (ATU), Tehran, Iran e-mail: [email protected] T. Soltani Media Management MA, IRIB University, Tehran, Iran e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2020 I. Williams (ed.), Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory,



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(Enli et al. 2013). It has enabled the introduction of new and disruptive technologies, which has resulted in the instability and uncertainty of the media industry (Küng 2013; Khajeheian et al. 2018). This has established the role of technology as a critical actor in the industry. In its new role as a critical actor, Technology has created an intertwining link between media contents and media firms. This has resulted in media firms being referred to as technology firms (Küng 2013). The convergence has also given rise to competition and inevitably, granted the audience (consumer) the choice to access quality content from any medium (Patankar 2018; Labafi and Williams 2018). The competition has resulted in the lowering of the cost of equipment and production; the provision of increased access to audiences via social media and other digital distribution channels; the reduction in market entry barriers for media organizations; and allowed new players into the industry. These new players include technology firms (Storsul and Krumsvik 2013; Karimi and Salavatian 2018; Khajeheian and Friedrichsen 2017), media entrepreneurs (Arbatani et al. 2019; Achtenhagen 2020, Khajeheian 2013, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020; Cha 2020; Horst and Hitters 2020), user generated content, and prosumers (Winter 2012; GarcíaGalera and Valdivia 2014). Competitors also challenged existing business models used by media organizations and broadcasters. The emerging business models provided immediate and direct access to advertisers and precise information and statistics on data usage enabled by the use of Big data (Nemati and Khajeheian 2018). These trends have had significant effect on media firms. These effects can be seen in the adoption of new business models, revenue models, strategies, and the development of new capabilities that will enable media companies survive turbulent environment. The changes in the media industry reminds us of Küng, who labeled the influence of technology on the media industry as a “moving carpet” for the media industry (2011). He also tied the destiny of the media industry to technological change (2017). Digital convergence has result in the increased adoption of the Internet. The increasing ability to access the Internet with interactive devices reveals the “disruptive” potential of technology that challenge the structures of the media firms (Mierzejewska 2011; Khajeheian et al. 2018).

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One of the core aspects of the media industry is the broadcast industry. The broadcast industry consists of the production, distribution, and broadcasting systems (Wildman 2006). The influence of technology as described earlier exists in these three aspects of broadcasting. These aspects are operated by evolving technologies. This makes the study of the impact of technology on these three aspects important. In spite of such importance, there has been a dearth of research on investigations on how media firms react to these evolving technological innovations and advancements (Küng 2017). Furthermore, Sylvie and Schmitz Weiss (2012) argue that there is a lack of socio-technical approach in media management studies. The Socio-technical approach criticizes the distinction between the social and technical aspects of phenomena (Latour and Woolgar 1979). In order to fill this gap, the present chapter provides a pioneering effort in this endeavor using actor network theory. Actor Network Theory (ANT) is one of the prominent socio-technical theories. It suggests an integrated approach toward the interaction between actors and their surrounding networks. This theory also examines the role of power within the networks, and help us to better understand the mechanism of power inside a networked phenomenon, such as organization, society, etc. As Couldry (2008) suggests, ANT explains social order through the networks of connections among human agents, technologies, and objects. Based on the described attributes of ANT, this study aims at examining the relationships and interactions between actors in media innovation networks using the socio-technical perspective enabled by ANT. The media innovation network in this case is a public service media organization; the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). This organization is considered as the context for this research.

Actor Network Theory (ANT) Callon, Latour, and Lowe (Hassard et al. 1999; Callon 1999; Latour 1987) developed the actor network theory in the 1980s. ANT is an influential sociology theory that explains social order not through the


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concept of “social” but rather through the networks of communication between human and non-human actors (Ochsner 2017). A network of human and non-human actors (social and technological) undergoes developments. Latour refers to this network as the actor network. In this network, the actors have an active role and influence one another (Latour 2004). According to this theory, an established network that does not evolve will eventually become a black box (such as the traditional model of producing messages in broadcast). This is because, the structure or epistemology of the stabilized network is not questioned, since the network and its elements (due to over-simplification) are assumed to be self-evident (Busch 1997). Black boxes are created through strong communication networks. The wider and stronger the network, the stronger the black box (Rhodes 2009). In John Law’s view, networks that become black boxes are only visible through either disruption, failure, or organizational changes bound by technological developments. These challenges affect actor communication in the heterogeneous network and the dynamics of the structure of the network resulting in the breaking down of the black boxes. As such, it breaks down previous technologies that have become black boxes and have been overlooked (Macome 2002; Rhodes 2009; Law 2003). The purpose of this theory is to discover and describe the processes for making patterns, social regulation, and resistance. These processes are often called translation. Based on this approach, one must translate an innovation to become acceptable and suitable for organizations. In the process, some technology can be chosen to facilitate the translation, and others could be excluded. Therefore, this theory has called the theory of translation or formation of innovation according to needs (Law 2003). In this chapter, we used the 4A Matrix form Westlund and Lewis (2014) that includes three agents, namely, the Actors, Actants, and Audience. Based on this matrix, there are seven approaches for strategic direction in media innovation activities. Based on the literature, the evolution of technology and the audience has challenged the black box of IRIB (as a media organization) over the years, and they have driven IRIB to adapt to developments. In the following sections, the authors use this matrix to analyze the impact of ICT trends on IRIB from an ANT perspective.

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The Evolution of the Television and Audiences Since its introduction in the mid-1900s, television has been a part of everyday life in society (Marc 2014). Earlier, television viewers were passive and had to watch television programs only in real-time. They could neither pause a program or select a different program, nor return to a specific time point. In other words, there was no interaction and freedom of choice (Martišius 2018). But later, the audience’s experience in watching television changed so rapidly. This was due to media convergence and the emergence of new technologies (Lotz 2018; Martišius 2018). Digital technology in the broadcast industry, such as videoon-demand subscriptions and person-to-person file sharing allowed the audience to autonomously plan how they watch television (Teurlings 2013; Lotz 2018; from Ofcom Report 2018). As digital technology revolutionized how the audience watch television, so did it revolutionize the broadcast industry. Technological innovation, such as online and connected devices, enabled the entry of new global actors into the broadcast industry (Khajeheian and Tadayoni 2016). For example, over the past few years, with the penetration of smartphones and widespread access to superfast broadband, Netflix and Amazon have gained a large audience. Netflix was originally a video renting company and Amazon an online store. However, they are now players in the broadcast industry. These new actors provided video streaming services where image and sound quality were not lost in the process. Apart from the emergence of major global broadcasters there is also the growth of channels and on-demand programs and services delivered by established broadcasters (from Ofcom Report 2018). These technological developments have resulted in the viewing habits for the urban middle-class being altered. Urban middle-class audience have witnessed technology transform television from being a portal for intermittent entertainment to a portal with a continuous flow of television programming (Doyle 2010). This is a “historic shift from mass to networked society, from push to pull media, from one-way to multiway communication” (Livingstone and Das 2013).


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Although a group of scholars have identified the dominance of new technological tools as the death of traditional television audiences (Jermyn and Holmes 2012; Livingstone and Das 2013), others have suggested the concept of active, produsers, produsage (Bruns 2007), and user generated content (UGC). For example, the “couch potato” audiences who used to view television as a “lie back” medium now tend to be active users with “lean forward” media (Mittell 2010). In other words, active prosumers take the place occupied by passive consumers (Belliger and Krieger 2016). Generally, with regards to the impact of technology on a television audience, the advancement in technology has resulted in a mass fragmentation of the audience in several phases. The phases are. Time-shifting, device-shifting, and place-shifting phases (Carey 2016). 1. Time-shifting enhanced with digital technology and EPG, is the recognition of television viewing at the identified favorite hours of the audience. 2. Device-shifting introduces technological and content convergence. On one hand, due to technology convergence diverse old communication tools are now part of a new technological device. This now enables one to watch television on devices and platforms. However, the number of technological communication devices available to the audience has also increased. Media multitasking by the audience is one of the trends related to this audience-centric technology. This technology enhances the active flow of the audience through media meshing and media stacking. 3. Place-shifting also shows the impact of technology on television watching habits. Nowadays, new flat-screen TVs occupy less space in modern town houses, and the living room (TV room) cannot be seen as the room where the family gathers. Also now in most urban apartments, besides the living room TV, there is another TV in the bedroom and the technological advancement in the manufacturing of new televisions has in some ways exacerbated the fragmentation of audiences.

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The Evolution of the Television in Iran The evolution of broadcast technology coincides with the evolution of the Broadcast Industry from monopoly to competition then proliferation (Enli et al. 2013). Another way of viewing this coincidence is from scarcity to availability and uncertainty (Ellis 2000). Arguably, throughout its history, television has been affected with five technological paradigms: the introduction of: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

television (1940s–1950s), colour television (1960s–1970s), satellite, cable and commercial television (1980s), digital distribution (1990s–2000s) and the expansion of television to new platforms (2000s) (Enli et al. 2013).

IRIB as a public service broadcast enjoys a monopoly status due to Iranian post-revolutionary constitutions. During the Iran–Iraq war, IRIB acted as a propaganda machine to preserve national solidarity. In postwar Iran and due to economic reconstruction, social changes, cultural changes, and emergence of digital technologies, IRIB as an organization was faced with new challenges and also new opportunities. Previously IRIB’s national coverage was with two non-24-hour channels. Today, society demands more attractive content transmitted via more channels. • Technologies for and Against IRIB The arrival of analogue satellite channels, which transmitted their signals over Iranian borders, was alarming for Iranian cultural authorities. IRIB, as a monopoly in particular, felt challenged by these new rivals. During a short period of time, numerous persian speaking satellite channels, launched abroad, broadcasted various types of content such as entertainment, news, politics, and infotainment. These services were easily accessible using cheap equipment within Iran. This trend challenged IRIB’s access to the audience. Soon after the use of satellite equipment was banned in the country. This ban had already been promulgated for videocassette devices. According to many scholars (e.g. Tomlinson 1997;


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Barker 1999; Barraclough 2001) such prohibition was considered as either authoritarian, passive, or a reactive mode of resistance to globalization. However, the illegal use of satellite dishes is still common and is part of life for Iranian mid-class. The introduction of new digital technologies, such as home video and lately VOD platforms, led to IRIB facing new and intensive challenges from quasi-competitors. These quasi-competitors had acquired and produced programs such as TV series in order to attract the audience. They also absorb human resources and talents by encouraging elite teams to jump ship to their channels. From another perspective, while the introduction of the new technologies challenged IRIB, it also became a boost for this Public Service Media (PSM) to try out new possibilities. Since 1994 the organization introduced a dramatic increase in the quantity of local productions and broadcasting. They launched satellite channels for Iranians abroad, international channels and radio stations for other regions and neighbouring countries. In 1994 the local and national television channels produced a total sum of 9885 hours of programs most of which were talk shows and round tables (IRIB Annual Report 1995). This figure in 2004 increased up to five times as much and reached the sum of 49,385 hours of programs, including big projects for production of television series. During the same period, the annual television broadcast time increased six fold, from 20,298 to 123,003 hours, indicating an increase in the broadcast of both local and foreign programs (IRIB Annual Report 2005). Such massive production was not possible without investment in technology. In fact, the organization renovated its digital technological infrastructure in several phases. Firstly, it improved the reception of its signal via satellite. This improvement for both local and overseas channels is owned by IRIB. The IRIB has increased its national television channels from three part-time channels to nine 24-hour channels. The organization has launched five new international satellite channels. In the second phase, it invested in the switchover of eight general terrestrial TV channels and launched twelve new terrestrial thematic TV channels. The twelve channels were launched in new digital environment aimed at a specific audience. Thirdly, IRIB is in cooperation with some companies to launch catch-up service and IPTV service. This collaboration is

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in parallel with considerations in IRIB about technology and the desire to implement time-shifting services with new devices for the audience. Lastly, with respect to the notion of convergence and digital-short, IRIB is implementing multitasking with social media. IRIB established its own social media. These upgrade initiatives have not been without problems. There is a lack of roadmap and misunderstanding about the media ecosystem convergence at the IRIB. Technology has driven IRIB to make uncertain decisions. This is evident in the switching on and off of these new terrestrial channels, the changing mission for high-quality (HD) channels, the continuation of analogue transmission alongside digital transmission. The reason for the latter is due to the fear of losing its unique mainstream position that is tied up to the national security and social unity in Iran. It could be summed up that IRIB‘s response to technological challenges that questions its legitimacy, has initiated structural reforms influenced by the managerial style of three last general directors. However, this chapter provides a framework that will enable IRIB decide how to proceed in the translation of technological innovation for broadcasting purposes. The framework provided will provide certainty for the future of IRIB in the midst of the disruption created by technology. It will also help IRIB to decide which technology is feasible and durable for the broadcasting purpose which is intended for.

Trends in ICT Technological innovation has changed the perception of the broadcast industry and specifically television (Tuunainen et al. 2009). In other words, according to Hoflich et al. (2010) “old means of mass communication will be reinvented anew – all this illustrates that every new means is a new one for every generation or at least is rediscovered a new”. For example, the expansion of the Internet and connected devices stimulated media convergence and led to the evolution of the broadcasting industry (Teurlings 2013; Lotz 2018; Martišius 2018). It has been argued that the advancement of ICT is a major driver of this evolution (Tuunainen et al. 2009). One of such ICTs is Mobile communications. The mobile


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communications market is one of the drivers of the media industry. These cumulative developments and innovations, enabled by technology, have changed the broadcast industry (Martišius 2018). Review of the literature and annual reports of technology industries indicate the forthcoming dramatic developments that must be addressed by the broadcasting industry. The following are the main trends and innovations in ICT influencing the broadcasting industry: • HbbTV Hybrid Broadcasting Broadband Television (HbbTV) is a technological initiative that delivers content to the audience on one screen via the synergy of broadcasting and broadband (Jakši´c et al. 2017). This ICT enables the user to engage with variety of devices and services, such as VOD, Video streaming, voting, social networking and interactive games and programs (WIPO 2015). The next version of this technology (HbbTV 2.0) provides features to the audience which includes multiuser identification, synchronization between media streams and devices, multi-user recommendations, security, user-tailored reputation scores for applications and cloud offloading (Kovacik et al. 2017; Shin et al. 2015). • MITV Mobile Interaction Television (MITV) is different from traditional TV as content can be delivered using portable mobile applications (Wong et al. 2016; Shah and Raja 2017). Development of smartphones and tablets, broadband Internet, and application stores for content distribution are some of the drivers for the demand for MITV. For example, 47% of iPlayer requests come from mobile and tablet devices in 2014, up from 38% in 2013 (WIPO 2015). • AR and VR Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technology merges real and virtual elements. Recently, the addition of virtual objects or special effects into real scenes and the ability to interact with broadcast

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production—even during a live broadcast—has become very important (Wojdala et al. 2018). Therefore, the emphasis is not on the technology itself, but on the engagement and entertainment, it provides for the audience (Cho et al. 2018). New generation of technology companies such as Converge (an online VR platform to connect and interact with multiple users) have emerged and are shaping the modern broadcasting industry. Netflix has just announced that it wants to move its programming to VR. And, NASCAR, the US Open Golf, and NBA, the US National Basketball Association, have already been streamed in VR on Fox TV (Hemptinne et al. 2017). • Cloud Computing The main activities of TV broadcasting are the creation of media products. These products have to be in a suitable electronic format for transmission over communication channels and devices. This process requires the collation, editing, and processing of data. Cloud computing helps broadcasters to deal with the challenges of data storage, digital content delivery, and computing capacity for their businesses. The technology also improves the quality of IT service delivery. (Prakash et al. 2013; Hemptinne et al. 2017). • IOT Internet of things (IOT) uses sensors, existing communications infrastructure, and the Internet to connect a group of devices granting them network capabilities (Von Kapri et al. 2017) without human involvement (Tatnall and Davey 2015). This technology will enable broadcasters to interact with their customers at any time, and anywhere. It will also enable broadcaster to generate programs that will become more interactive (Hemptinne et al. 2017). Research indicated that the effort of broadcasters in taking advantage of IOT is predicated by the existence of a large ecosystem of connected devices (Von Kapri et al. 2017).


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• 5G It is still unclear how exactly 5G will impact the media industry, from production to consumption. However, it probably poses an opportunity and a threat for IPTV, cable, and satellite providers (Lau and Shihada 2015; Prasad et al. 2018). “5G will further increase the availability of quality live video. We expect that it will be possible to book reserved 5G network capacity to create reliable connections from mass events such as cup finals, festivals and mass demonstrations,” TV CEO Andreas Jacobi says (CSI 2019). The utilization of VR, AR, 4K, and 8K resolutions, high-quality video streaming will only be possible with the 5G (CosMos 2018). • Social TV Social TV refers to the convergence of broadcasting and social media such as Twitter and Facebook (Shin 2013). Increasing amount of viewers’ interaction and engagement via social media while watching TV (Lin and Chiang 2019). “Cross-Screen Engagement” has transformed viewing behaviors of the audience by encouraging them to rate, participate in social discussion, and search for information related to TV content (Mediaguru 2019). The latter issue has shifted to the identification of key factors to designing, engaging, and integrating STV systems in order to enable easier social interactions while watching TV (Lin and Chiang 2019; TC Lin 2019). • Optical Fiber Development in the broadcasting industry requires technology with high transmission capacity. Broadcasting industry’s requirement for faster rate of information, developed exchange procedures and intelligence structure is catered for by optical fiber (Rajpoot et al. 2017). Optical fiber, as a telecommunication technology, is an important infrastructure for broadband networks. It further enabled the transmission of high capacity of data at very high data rates. Broadcasters go for fiber optics when there is

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an increase in demand for high-bandwidth, real-time and reliable transmissions by consumers and commercial demand (Idachaba et al. 2014; ITU 2018). • UHDTV Ultra High Definition Television (UHDTV) improves audio and color quality of TV reception. They do not only provide enhanced visual experience for the viewer but also “high presence” for the end-user. Thus, broadcasting organizations should move to launch UHD channels; The next-generation UHD television system (8K) created in the broadcasting industry by NHK (Gray 2019; Tanioka 2018).

Methodology This research was conducted using the critical technology method. When choosing priorities in a foresight project, this method is a valuable approach for evaluating various technologies, which measures the importance of technology by applying a set of criteria (Unido 2005). The following steps have been taken: (1) Selecting a group of experts, (2) Preparing a preliminary list of critical technologies, (3) Prioritizing, and (4) preparation of the final list of critical technologies. Research sample was selected from a variety of specialties. These were IRIB’s senior executives, middle managers, and experts working with the deputy in charge of Media Development and Technology. The sampling method was a combination of the purposive and snowball sampling. The main criterion of selection was knowledge and experience in the field of Information and Communication Technologies. The study population consisted of 20 experts. After identifying the ten critical ICT technologies, a questionnaire was designed to evaluate the “feasibility” and “attractiveness” of each of the technologies. The feasibility and attractiveness of each technology were evaluated by Likert 5-point scale. To determine “priorities,” the feasibility and attractiveness table was drawn and the numbers assigned by each expert to each technology


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Table 13.1 A matrix: actors, actants, and audiences in media innovation activities (Westlund and Lewis 2014) Approach


Actor-led Actant-led Audience-led Actor/actant-led Actor/audience-led Actant/audience-led 3A







were multiplied by the weight of the experts’ opinion. Table 13.1 shows the weighting criteria for each expert opinion. The final numbers of each expert for each technology were plotted on the attractiveness–feasibility matrix. The aim was to “prioritize each technology over the next 10 years” based on expert opinion. Finally, the average of the final numbers, related to feasibility and attractiveness, was calculated to determine “the position of each technology in the future.” So, the numbers were placed on the feasibility– attractiveness matrix to evaluate and analyze technologies with each other and the technology priority table was obtained for the future planning of IRIB (Table 13.2). Table 13.2

Weighting criteria for expert opinions


Criterion weight



Management experience





Sub-criterion weight

Bachelor MA PHD Under 5 years 5–10 years 10–15 years Over 15 years Research Executive

0.5 0.64 1.00 0.51 0.76 0.88 1.00 0.95 1.00

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Findings As mentioned earlier, the purpose of this study was to focus on technology as one of the actors in the media technological innovation network. The present study sought to identify technologies that in the future will result in a change in “policy” as an actor. These actors were of two types, “Attractiveness” to the media organization or high “Feasibility” for its implementation. In the first mode, the wide acceptance of a technology causes the media organization to translate it an incorporate its innovation in the organizations processes. Technology actors challenge the IRIB if they are not chosen. In the second mode, the technologies that are feasible within the IRIB are identified. The Organization then determines which technological actors can be translated. To compare technologies in terms of feasibility and attractiveness, we consider the average of the expert opinions (to the number for the feasibility and attractiveness of each technology) and divide the axis of attractiveness and feasibility into four parts (Fig. 13.1). High-Feasibility and High-Attractiveness: this group of technological actors includes HBBTV, 5G, social TV, and MITV. Given their high-feasibility, the translation of these technologies does not impose

Fig. 13.1

Feasibility—attractiveness of technologies


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a significant challenge to the IRIB. On the other hand, due to their high attractiveness, the audience will accept them. The Attractiveness of this technology toward producing change and innovation encourages the IRIB to translate the actors. Special attention must be paid to time in order to take advantage of the competitive advantages enabled by these technologies. Granting attention to these technologies should be at the top of the organization’s priorities in the future. Low-Feasibility and High-Attractiveness: VR, AR, and IOT technology actors are in this group. Translating these technologies is a major challenge in terms of cost even though it is appealing to the audience. Therefore, in the long term, this gap can be covered by more investments. High-Feasibility and Low-Attractiveness: The actors of this group include cloud computing and UHD TV. These technologies can be implemented to change the current process of the organization, while having low attractiveness. Because of the high-feasibility, they do not require high investment to launch. Low-Feasibility and Low-Attractiveness: This group includes only optical fiber technology as an actor. This technology requires a lot of investment and given its low attractiveness, launching it, will not be of benefit to the organization in the future. This is still the case even from the perspective of the audience. Therefore, this technology should be excluded from the organization’s priorities toward translation. Finally, based on the critical technology method, in order to prioritize the technologies which must be translated at IRIB, the geometric mean of the two factors related to each technology (average feasibility, average attractiveness) were calculated. Table 13.3 shows the priority of the technologies that must be translated and deployed by IRIB in future.

Conclusion The significant changes that IRIB experienced in its recent 40 years have prevented this organization from becoming a block box. Technological innovation has been an actor in the triangular network consisting of the organization, technology, and the audience. In John Law’s (2003) view, networks that become black boxes are only visible through disruption

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Table 13.3


Prioritized technologies Prioritize technologies


Average feasibility

Average attractiveness

Geometric mean Feasibility and attractiveness

HbbTV Social TV MITV 5G UHDTV IOT Cloud computing VR AR Optical fiber

3.32 3.34 2.97 2.61 3.35 1.78 3.29 1.07 1.34 1.30

3.36 3.02 3.03 3.42 1.85 3.10 1.37 3.23 2.56 1.60

3.34 3.18 3.00 2.99 2.49 2.35 2.13 1.86 1.85 1.44

or failure. In case of IRIB the environment challenged the black box, thereby influencing organization development. Rhodes (2009) suggests that by expanding the networks over time and space, the translation of black boxes increases. Therefore, when faced with the two emerging trends produced by digital technologies as well as the change in the preferences, IRIB leveraged the former to respond the latter. Consequently causing an increase to its access across the country as well as beyond the country’s borders. Over the time, the quantity and quality of television channels were enhanced to meet a variety of tastes. For quantity, the number of channels increased and image resolutions were higher. This all happened on multi-platform delivery channels. Westlund and Lewis (2014) noted that decision-making has been the central concept of the organization development of IRIB. Consequently, and in spite of Doyle’s argument (2010) that technology changes the structure of the media industry, the interactive triangular relationship between the technology, audience, and media organizations did not result in IRIB becoming a black box. ANT theory explains the relationships and interactions between actors from a socio-technical perspective and it seeks to eliminate the distinction between technology and society. As all actors in the media ecosystem are interconnected, the application of this theory facilitates the understanding of a media innovation ecosystem. Since the media ecosystem


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as a network is complex, more developed research methods are needed to analyze them. The critical technology method, besides helping in identifying technology trends, demonstrates the “feasibility” and “attractiveness” of technology. Based on “feasibility” and “attractiveness”, five trends in ICTs are predicted to challenge IRIB in the future. These are HBB TV, Social TV, MI TV, 5G, and UHD TV. Furthermore, extensive access to broadband Internet and social media by the audience has forced IRIB to adopt with HBB TV and Social TV technologies. Such combination enables audiences to participate, interact, and connect with the program providers. In social TV, we observe a shift from passive to active audience, so that the power of the audience prompted IRIB to react. The availability of smartphones led the organization to adopt them as user devices for their services. It also enabled IRIB to produce innovative and interactive platforms in order to cater for the needs of the audience. The contribution of this research is to shed a light on the innovation in media organization from a socio-technical perspective, and to introduce technology as a change-agent. In addition, this study examines the relationship and interaction as well as negotiations between technology and media organization. The authors encourage future researchers to focus on trends produced by the audience as an actor in innovation network. This will aid in the formulation of scenarios for media organizations and technology by highlighting the negotiations and interactions between the audience and media organizations. At the same time, other future studies can study how future technology trends affect the innovation network within the media organization, such as human resources.

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14 The Interaction Between Human and Media in the Future of Banking Industry Parisa Bouzari, Abbas Gholampour, and Pejman Ebrahimi

Introduction Human–computer interaction is the study on designing, implementing, and assessing computing systems involved in conversations and interactions between human users on the one hand, and an intelligent software on the other. This field of science is also called human–computer interaction (Go and Ren 2014). This science is an intersection between The original version of this chapter was revised: Incorrect affiliation of the corresponding author has been updated. The correction to this chapter is available at 1007/978-981-15-7066-7_15

P. Bouzari Department of Industrial Management, Lahijan Branch, Andishmand University, Lahijan, Iran; e-mail: [email protected] A. Gholampour Department of Management, Rasht Branch, Islamic Azad University, Rasht, Iran; e-mail: [email protected] P. Ebrahimi (B) Doctoral School of Economic and Regional Sciences, Szent Istvan University, Gödöll˝o, Hungary; e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2020, corrected publication 2020 I. Williams (ed.), Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory,



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computer science, behavioral design science, and several other sciences. Communication and interaction between humans and computers occur through interfaces enabled by software and hardware. An exact definition is that the science of human–computer interaction is a field related to the design, evaluation, and implementation of computational systems for human use for the study of important surrounding phenomena (Lien and Cao 2014). Social media platforms, originally designed for personal communication (Ebrahimi et al. 2019c; Khajeheian 2016, 2018a), are now gaining extraordinary popularity among organizations (Ebrahimi et al. 2019a; Khajeheian et al. 2018; Emami and Khajeheian 2019). These platforms enable interaction. Organization adopt it because it enables them to attract new customers (Trusov et al. 2009; Arbatani et al. 2019a). They are also helpful in increasing the popularity of the brand (Goh et al. 2012). They are helpful in enabling interaction with the brand (Khajeheian and Ebrahimi 2020). They assist organizations to build close relationships with customers (Hamidi et al. 2020). They ultimately lead in customer loyalty (Yadav and Pavlou 2014). These benefit drive organizations to invest in social media with perseverance and effort. Understanding the role of social media in business communications is important from customers’ perspective (Khajeheian 2018b). Managers are very active on various areas of social media platforms such as like Facebook, Twitter, Weibo, and WeChat, for business purposes. According to McKinsey, in 2013, more than 70% of American companies participated in social media marketing, and had arranged nearly a third of Interbrand 100 Twitter accounts (Chen et al. 2020). However, why and how these interactions occur on social media has not been researched. The main issue in current research studies on social media is to understand how organizations interact with customers through social media (Yadav and Pavlou 2014). This chapter will use the bank as a case. The bank’s ability to create and keep customers satisfied is a key indicator that determines the success of a business. In order to create and preserve the competition with other competitors, banks have to provide superior services to their customers in order to increase customer satisfaction (Khajeheian and Mirahmadi 2015). In order to achieve this goal, it is important that banks carefully comprehend customers’ needs and understand their demands, and be

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able to provide products or services to customers that meet their needs or exceed their expectations (Hamidi and Safareyeh 2019). One way of doing so is by improving the online channels of interaction with the customer. This is what this chapter will discuss.

Customer-Bank Interaction Customer interaction has become a fundamental issue in marketing literature. However, there is no consensus on its definition. In marketing research (2008), it is believed that customer interaction is the result of a shared creation process. This process creates deeper and stronger connection with the organization. Some researchers have introduced interaction as a concept that implies joint and interactive production. In this case, attracting customers is also seen as a core of the production process. Such interaction is formed through collaboration with other actors during the production process. Most authors agree that there is a process of producing interaction while actually interacting with the customer. This concept is evident in web 2.0 platforms such as social media platforms. Therefore, there is a potential relationship between web 2.0 and customer interaction (Hamidi and Safareyeh 2019). This is because web 2.0 platforms are designed to produce interaction. In the banking context, there are research on the relationship between the consumer and the bank. For example, a global survey of 311 managers from various industries performed in 2006, by the Economic Information Unit defines customer interaction as a deep, significant, and durable relationship between the customer and the organization over time. Such interactions depend on the logical and emotional relationships between the customer and the organization. If people gain trust, affection, and deep interest in the organization, they will remain faithful to it. An organization can also elicit the customer’s emotional, spiritual, and physical commitment to the organization by creating opportunities for repeating the interactions. Hollebeek (2011) provides another point of view. He describes customer interaction as the intensity of mental motivation that is determined by a certain level of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral activities when customers interact with an organization. Vivek et al. (2012) describe customer interaction as the


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authority of people’s engagement and relationship with the organization or organizational activities, which both the customer and the organization can initiate the interaction, and this interaction grows cognitively, emotionally, behaviorally, or socially. These definitions indicate that in order to evolve, this concept needs a model in which more aspects have to be examined and considered when studying customer interaction. For instance, in 2012, Sashi presented his perspective of a customer interaction cycle and considered seven steps for it. He believes the first step is to connect, which may be via offline methods such as traditional vendors or new online methods such as mobile banking. The next step is the exchange between the consumer and the bank or other consumers. The introduction of Web 3.0 had a significant impact on this part of the interaction cycle, so that limitations posed by space and time were quickly eliminated (Salamzadeh et al. 2016). If the interaction stage is satisfactory, the likelihood that the customer remains in the interaction will increase. In the third stage of the customer interaction cycle, there will be progress toward interaction. The fourth step is to keep an emotional sharing relationship without making it a long-term relationship. The fifth stage of the cycle is related to the development and growth of a computational or emotional commitment. Then in the sixth step, consumers may share their positive experiences about a product, brand, or organization (bank) and become fans and eventually, when customers become emotionally and logically commitment to the organization, they will communicate with their organization and the cycle will be completed. Bowden (2009) provides another insight to the matter. He believes that customer interaction is a mental process in which emotional and computational commitment leads to customer satisfaction and consequently customer loyalty. In addition, in a creative process on how to interact with customers, he concluded that interaction could result in the increase of the number of visitors to the bank. Brodie et al. (2011) show that loyalty, satisfaction, consumer empowerment, emotional connection, trust, and commitment are the key results of consumer interaction with the bank (Al-Kandari et al. 2019).

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Banking and Social Media Hoffman et al. (2013) define social media as tools, web, and cell phonebased applications that allow people to create contents that are consumed by others thereby activating and facilitating connections. According to Farshid et al. (2011), it is supposed that social media includes interactive and participatory technologies. That is, a network of endless clusters that are constantly producing conversations thereby distorting the traditional boundaries of space and time. Social media content are often created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) classify social media into three different components, namely, the concept (art, information); the Media (physical, electronic, or verbal); and the social interface (intimate, direct, interaction with society, social, viral, electronic or syndical or other physical media such as printing). Social media consists of a wide range of online forums, weblogs, social networking sites, podcasts, webcasts, microblogging, company’s discussion boards, chat rooms, consumer to consumer Emails, consumers of Websites, halls of ranking for either products or services, Internet discussion panels, virtual world, online games, social bookmarks, and blogs (video and photo sharing websites) (Arbatani et al. 2019b; Karimi and Salavatian 2018; Farshid et al. 2011; Kolli and Khajeheian 2018). Much has been written about the potential benefits of organizations working with social media, especially from a communications and brand management perspective (Gaines-Ross 2010; EFMA 2013). However, regarding the apparent growth of social media, in creating continuous and comfortable interaction between individuals and firms, it is clear that the way the owners of organizations interact with social media in the future will become more significant (Enaworu et al. 2018; Ebrahimi et al. 2019b). How different organizations today still use the media to achieve their organizational goals (Durkin et al. 2013). According to the report given by EFMA (2013). Facebook is the most prominent social media platform used by banks. YouTube lags far behind with 800 million unique views per month, 25% of which are via cellphones. Twitter usage is growing rapidly, but it is still active at the level of only 200 million users. In fact, Facebook has


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increased its active monthly users by 40% in the past two years. The company has most developed markets in the United States and Canada. In fact, there are 174 million monthly active users in the United States (56% of the population), while the penetration in Brazil is 34%, in Indonesia, it is 25%, and in India, it is 6%. Although the penetration is small for India, it still represents more than 70 million users. Another major trend for Facebook is increasing users’ access to the service via cell phone devices. Pinterest and Instagram are other popular social media sites after Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Business users have also made LinkedIn an important destination. Considering that consumers’ use of social media services, researchers found that most banks were active on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Bank stats on the use of social media content include user-generated content (14% of banks), customer reviews (27% of banks), or blogs (31% of banks). The study done by EFMA (2013) shows that the primary use of Facebook by banks is to monitor and respond to customers’ feedbacks and complaints. Currently, only a small number of banks provide the ability to trade with customers and have relatively low future plans for such an activity. Banks seem to prefer customer persuade toward the use of their websites for doing business or selling a product, where they are guaranteed security and provide a better level of service (Durkin et al. 2014).

Using Mobile Banking in Banking The advent of mobile banking has changed the way people communicate with each other, and made organizations and banks organize their websites so that they can communicate and interact directly with their customers (Martins and Patrício 2013; Hajli et al. 2014). On the one hand, mobile banking makes it possible to turn offline customers who are not members of e-banking into online customers. On the other hand, it has a very fast performance and it is accessible due to the viral spread of information, and at any time, you can use the services of the bank by connecting to their online service (Kaplan and Haenlein 2010). Online banking also presents customers with a choice. Customers may easily visit other websites that have similar products or services (the customer may

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follow several websites for similar types of banks). This new paradigm has an impact on customer loyalty, as it will no longer be easy to have loyal customers (Lu and Lee 2010). At the same time, with the incessant development of mobile banking, the passive role of consumers in relation to information, who were previously only the “receivers,” has evolved into them becoming “producers” of information. Additionally, customers’ expectations from banks adverts have increased (Jahn and Kunz 2012). Customers now have more demands from mobile banking which includes receiving valuable and meaningful information about the bank and its products through their interaction with the bank (Sashi 2012). Due to the revolution in mobile banking and the progression of its customers, many researchers believe that customer interaction can be interpreted as “frequent interaction between consumers that strengthens the emotional, mental or physical investment of the customer and the organization” (Brodie et al. 2011). Research studies indicate that banks’ use of the media has increased the rate of sales and their profitability (Boehmer and Lacy 2014).

Interactive Banking; A Combination of Artificial Intelligence Technology and Banking Services Interactive banking technology, based on Artificial Intelligence, is a new channel for achieving automatic interactions. Technologies such as RoboAdvisor and those that enable customer authentication, data mining and economic estimations, risk analysis and evaluation, are now designed and integrated into fully customer-oriented platforms. This type of banking is different from that of the previous generation of digital banking or mobile banking. The most important differences are in communication channels, interactive user intermediaries, and target customers (Shareef et al. 2018). Conversational user interface (CUI) based on text and voice is increasingly becoming common patterns of customer interaction, the most significant interactive user interfaces is in the chat-bot used in the


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banking industry and smart voice assistants. In order to launch interactive banking systems, banks need new skills. They have to develop, provide and integrated new technologies with a strong organizational focus, and a voice-based marketing strategy in order to stand out and be successful (Rumpala 2012). What interactive banking provides for the banks is the ability to tap into trends, such as messaging programs, interactive user interfaces, artificial intelligence, big data, and a synergic application of these technologies (Nemati and Khajeheian 2018; Khajeheian and Kolli 2020). Such an approach will be a cost-effective way toward providing automated and digital interactions. Most importantly, it expands the confidence of banks with respect to their ability to meet customer expectations and needs. This is irrespective of if the customer is either a digital advocates or an opponent (Belwafi et al. 2018).

Customer Interaction and Its Emotional Feedback When a customer feels an emotional commitment to their business partner, it implies mental dependence, and this is based on the acknowledgment of their feelings and loyalty (Ebrahimi and Fadaei 2016). It is also due to their level of dependence on their business partner (Verhoef et al. 2002). Bansal et al. (2004) state that emotional commitment is a reflection of a psychological bond. An example of such a bond is between the owners of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle store and their motivated customers who continuously patronize the store. Higher levels of benefits in this relationship are achieved when customers benefit from the suggestions and activities offered by the organization. This also leads to an emotional commitment (Bendapudi and Berry 1997). Emotional commitment is mostly created through emotions and mutual connections in a relationship (Ebrahimi et al. 2015; Solatianaghizi et al. 2017). For instance, a customer who chooses a restaurant and visits it regularly, after a while, establishes an emotional relationship with the restaurant staff, and because of these feelings, special services are provided for her/him. If customers are loyal and happy, then the seller will gain customer commitment, which includes

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passionate and emotional estimation, and also the customer and the seller will remain in a stable, strong, and long-term relationship (Sashi 2012). Customer interaction occurs when customers establish a strong emotional bond when communicating with sellers. Customer interaction increases the role of the customer in the processes of value creation or interactive production (Vallverdú and Trovato 2016). Customer cooperation in value creation processes enhances their satisfaction with meeting their needs, especially as these needs change over time. By establishing stable relationships with the use of mobile banking, these customers act as fans of the organization in relation to other customers or even noncustomers (Gustafsson et al. 2005). When the relationship is low, but there is a high level of emotional connection, customers can be kept satisfied. However, when there are many relationships and few emotional bonds, we have more customers that are loyal. Loyal customers will lead to the continuance of the relationship with the same supplier in a relationship either where there is a cost of replacement or where there is a cost of not having the right supplier, and a kind of logical commitment is created. Loyal customers do not communicate emotionally with sellers and continue their relationships only for logical reasons (Shaikh et al. 2015). Due to the barriers in leaving the relationship, their relationships with the organization will continue over time. It is unlikely that loyal customers will automatically recommend the organization to other potential customers. The seller can create an emotional commitment with loyal customers to encourage them to play the role of supporter and backer of the organization. Additionally, by developing trust with loyal customers, sellers can turn them into supporters of the organization (Garbarino and Johnson 1999). When there are lot of relationships and many emotional connections, then there will be supportive and interactive customers. Customers who become fans will have an emotional and logical commitment and consistent relationship. Fans are both satisfied and loyal. As a classical example, fan customers are instances of professional sports team. Fans who are loyal fans of their team are happy with the team’s victory and are depressed by the team’s failure. Confidence and commitment enables, to have stable relationship with their team,


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and consider themselves as a part of the team. Fans often interact with other fans in order to reinforce their loyalty and satisfaction (Sashi 2012).

Customer Interaction and Establishing Trust Trust is established when a party in a transaction can vouch for the other party’s honesty and integrity in a relationship. In the evolutionary model of currency relations, trust is very important because it is considered as a mechanism for improving the reliability of relationships (Morgan and Hunt 1994). Research indicate that positive and effective interactions in relationships, beyond currency exchange, create trust in currency relationships (Lambe et al. 2000). An example is that of the D.A.W cooperation. The D.A.W Cooporation had a successful interaction with customers because they enlisted customer cooperation in their beauty campaign. The campaign goal of D.A.W.’s was to build trust among teenage girls. Therefore, when organizations interact with customers, they have the opportunity to gain customer trust, which will result in customer satisfaction. Thus, constant interactions build confidence in relationships. This is because people feel that the organization cares about them and that both parties have common interests (Delgado-Ballester et al. 2003). In the field of brand management, charitable activities are performed in order to provide the most benefit for customers based on common goals and values. Thus, the previous experience of customers with a brand services provides a significant basis for creating and strengthening customer understanding of the organization’s benevolence. Although trust can be a major factor in the interaction with customers (Brodie et al. 2011), it can also be the result of customer interaction (Hollebeek 2011). According to the theory of social exchange, in trust-based relationships, both parties experience the desired mutual interaction that evolves over time (Saks 2006). Therefore, people who interact more with the organizations are more likely to have a higher level of trust. Therefore, their communication with the organization will be of a higher quality. Marketing literature also indicates that positive interaction that extends beyond just exchange in the relationship increases the

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level of trust (Lambe et al. 2000; Sashi 2012). Therefore, interaction at higher levels generates more trust in a relationship (Chen et al. 2020).

The Future of Media in Banking The digital revolution has changed the way banks operate around the world. Today, we are witnessing the disappearance of ATMs; the use of Big data applications; the advent of open ledger distributed technologies such as Blockchain (crypto currencies); and as such customers do not have to physically visit the bank in order to perform a transaction. The customer is always connected to the bank via their digital devices (mobile phones inclusive). This enables the customer to concentrate on other activities such as earning income opportunities and focusing on their businesses in order to facilitate its efficiency. Therefore, online banking also reduces the risks and prevents customer fatigue. One of the results of digital revolution in the banking industry is the use of Big data.The era of electronic data processing began in the 1960s. Databases were set up to generate, store, and process large amounts of data. However, the era of mass data began during the proliferation of the Internet in the 1990s. This was when digitalization became an integral part of consumers, resulting in the rapid generation in the volume of data. The digital evolution is rapid and mostly enabled by mobile computers and mobile phones. This evolution corresponded with an increase in the production of image, audio, and location data by consumers. The digital evolution is ongoing as new digital technologies with the production of Big data are emerging. An example is the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is enabled not only for human connectivity but also for machine-to-machine connectivity using sensors. The IoT concept was envisioned in the 1800s through the studying of crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing enabled a connected community where users made collective decisions that were very close to their needs or values. Today, all of these concepts are applied in the implementation of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. These technologies produce and make use of a great deal of data.


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Another source of Big data is via consumer online activities. Today, consumers can adopt different personalities and they expect service to be delivered at “Google-like” speed. The customers desire for instant service delivery has resulted in the modification of the previous basis for retail, healthcare, banking, insurance, finance, and education in the shortest possible time. These modifications have resulted in new ways of delivering services. One of such ways is by creating intelligent online applications that are available to the customer on demand. These customer expectations are not new. The processes developed in this chapter are in line with the boundaries of existing technology. But if the processes are used with innovations such as NoSQL and Hadoop databases, they would have reached the highpoint of infrastructure. Both innovations enrich the existing lowest and highest infrastructure layers, and this trend will be followed in the future.

Conclusion Due to the rapid growth of e-banking, many banks and business owners tend to attract more customers through such websites. In addition, mobile banking provides business owners with the opportunity to meet the needs of their customers and provide effective ways toward gaining and maintaining customer loyalty in a way that was not available in the past. Thus, currently, the importance of mobile banking technology and the subsequent enhancement in the interaction with the customer is quite apparent. This is because these customers enjoy the benefits of customer relationship management. Furthermore, in the development of mobile banking, a lot of information about the tastes, interests, opinions, and the needs of users in mobile banking is exchanged. If this valuable information is properly organized and used, an important step would have been achieved in the bid to identify customer needs. Likewise, newer forms of banking, such as interactive banking are still having trouble. Nevertheless, these new forms of banking are digital channels that will definitely become key elements in the banking system. Today’s users show a strong desire and enthusiasm toward interacting with banks. They also show similar strength of desire to personalized

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digital banking experiences. Therefore, in return, banks need to improve upon the efficiency and quality of their performance. They can utilize Artificial Intelligence technology to automate their operations and bankcustomer interactions. The acceptance of interactive banking can also be a bit difficult and complicated. The same complications were evident in the development of electronic banking using telephone phones and mobile telephone in recent decades. Therefore, bank staff need to acquire and develop new skills. The bank itself should provide new and integrated technologies; develop a strong focus on the organization; and develop voice-based marketing strategies. This will make a difference in their operations and result in a success. This is because such capabilities can help banks better interact with users and understand their needs, and thus maximize the fulfillment of their expectations.

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Correction to: Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory Idongesit Williams

Correction to: I. Williams (ed.), Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory, The original version of the book was inadvertently published with incorrect affiliation of the corresponding author (Pejman Ebrahimi). The correction to the book is now updated with change.

The updated versions of these chapters can be found at

© The Author(s) 2020 I. Williams (ed.), Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory,




Actant interactions 4, 10 Actant(s) 3–7, 9, 10, 23, 34, 51, 53, 55–59, 63, 67, 68, 70, 104, 122, 123, 143, 234 Action 5, 7, 10, 55, 57, 67, 115, 144, 147, 180, 184, 214, 225 Actor-Network Theory (ANT) vii, viii, 1–11, 15, 22–25, 27, 33–35, 45, 46, 51–58, 60–62, 64–67, 69, 70, 78, 82–88, 99, 101, 103, 104, 106, 109, 110, 113, 117, 122–126, 132, 135, 136, 141, 143–149, 151, 157, 160, 163, 167, 174, 183–187, 197, 198, 200, 203–207, 211, 212, 214, 233, 234 Actor network transformations 5 Actor network webs 23

Actor(s) 6, 34, 36, 38, 42, 52–54, 56, 68, 88, 104, 105, 107, 114, 116, 128, 129, 131, 132, 134–136, 144, 149, 151, 160, 182, 185, 187, 189, 201, 212, 214, 215, 225, 232, 234, 245, 246, 248 Agency 4, 5, 7, 33, 35, 57, 62, 65, 86, 88, 108, 122, 132, 144, 176, 185, 205, 211, 224 Agency of nonhuman 145 Age of turbulence 17 Agro-based society 59 Agro-technology 59 Alliances 34, 59, 104, 106, 134, 184, 200, 203, 204 Allostasis 21, 22 Antiquity 59, 60 Architect 9, 36, 41–43, 45, 46, 48 Architectural design process 36, 48

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 I. Williams (ed.), Contemporary Applications of Actor Network Theory,




Architectural framework 35 Architectural production 46 Artefact(s) 4, 6, 22, 40, 58, 183, 203 Artificial Intelligence (AI) 3, 7, 26–28, 53, 62, 65–69, 198, 205, 263, 264, 267, 269 Audience 16, 79, 86, 87, 232, 234–238, 240–242, 246–248 Automated technologies 53 Automation age 65, 66 Automation technology 53, 177 Autonomous machines 16


Banking industry viii, 155, 168, 264, 267 Banking system 10, 11, 264, 268 Banking technology 164, 263, 268 Betweenness 213, 215, 217 Big data 78, 224, 232, 264, 267, 268 Biodiversity 52 Black box(es) 4, 5, 55, 56, 108, 135, 144, 146, 148, 157, 163, 168, 185, 189, 234, 246, 247 Black-boxing 25 Blockchain(s) 5, 65, 67, 267 Broadcasting industry 10, 233, 235, 239–243 Broadcasting system 233 Business models 3, 62, 64, 67, 78, 79, 81, 86, 174, 232 Byzantine period 38


Callon, M. 2, 4, 5, 9, 53–56, 70, 103–108, 123, 126, 133, 134,

145, 149, 157, 160, 162, 184, 203, 204, 233 Cappadocia forms 38 Cave-houses 37, 38 Cave-system 41 Centrality 213, 215 Civilization vii, 59, 60 Climate science 16 Cloud computing 5, 67, 241, 246, 247 Cognitively based schemas 19 Collaborative design 35 Collaborative platforms 6 Collective actant 55 Collective action 35, 36, 46 Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) 26 Communication 8, 22–28, 101, 112, 115, 142, 143, 145, 146, 155, 179, 206, 225, 234, 236, 258, 266 Communicative diversity 19 Communicative policies 16 Competition 79, 155, 174, 232, 237, 258 Competitive advantage(s) 6, 17, 61, 104, 155, 174, 176, 246 Complex 9, 15, 27, 46, 146, 158, 164, 185, 204, 248 Complex actor networks 11 Complexity 3, 15, 18, 19, 22, 24, 34, 135, 156, 166, 183, 185, 200 Complexity of modern technology 15 Complex network(s) 11, 122, 146, 156, 157, 166 Complex systems viii, 3, 8, 15, 16, 18–22, 24–26, 28


Computer 28, 101, 144, 146, 231, 258, 267 Computer-based tools 146 Concepts vii, 2, 4, 8, 19, 24, 54, 78, 80, 83, 84, 88, 106, 142, 158, 161, 187, 198–200, 206, 214, 216, 259–261, 267 Construction processes 45 Contemporary network 11 Corporate linguistic allostasis 22 COVID-19 epidemic 102 Crises 225 Crisis management 16 Critical Discourse Analysis 16 Cultural complexity 142 Cultural meanings 142 Cultural sensitivity 178 Cultures 60, 125, 142, 144, 166, 185, 189, 204 Customer interaction 259, 260, 263, 265, 266, 269 Customer loyalty 258, 260, 263, 268 Cybernetics 146, 148, 151


Data protection 122, 124–129, 131, 132, 135–137 Data protection policy viii, 9, 122, 128, 129, 132, 134–136 Da Vinci, Leonardo 60 Decision making organizations 199 Decision-making process 105, 124, 143, 147, 157 Design process 35, 36, 38, 42, 43, 46–48 Diagnostics 2, 175 Diffusion of Innovation Theory 159, 164


Digital channels 268 Digital convergence 231, 232 Digital literacy 85 Digital media 79–81, 87 Digital media platforms 88 Digital technology(ies) 3, 17, 86, 87, 102, 103, 235–238, 247, 267 Digitization 17 Discursive performance 15 Discursive prisms 16 Discursive stability 20 Dual nature of technology 16 Dynamic and relational systems theory 18


E-banking 262, 268 E-commerce 3, 62, 64 Economics viii, 26, 35, 44, 47, 78, 142, 150, 156, 158, 166, 168, 174, 185, 199 Ecosystem(s) 3, 5, 25, 55, 239, 241, 247 Effective leadership 150 E-governance 3, 62 E-government 5, 62 E-health 3 E-learning 9, 100–106, 110, 112, 117 E-learning platforms 100, 101, 109, 111 Enrolment 55, 56, 63, 65–67, 70, 104, 105, 107, 123, 126, 131, 133, 134, 136 Entrepreneurial leadership 84 Entrepreneurial opportunities 78, 79, 81, 83, 86–88 Entrepreneurship 82–84, 212



Ephemerides 23 Ethical dimension of technology 16 Ethics 142 Explorations 2, 106


Focal actant 6, 55, 66–68, 70 Force majeure 53


General Practitioners (GPs) 174 Globalization 40, 142, 144, 146, 238 Global warming 52 Google cloud 6 Greek Philosophies 61

Human discourse 27 Human interaction 4, 52, 123, 158, 174, 185 Human-level abilities 16 Human Papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine 175 Human(s) 4, 7, 9, 21, 23, 33–36, 41, 43, 45–48, 51–54, 56–59, 61, 62, 64–70, 82, 87, 141, 156, 158, 166, 179, 183–185, 203, 205, 241, 258, 267 Human society 59, 69, 214 Human survival 59 Hybrid linguistic identity 24 Hybrids 23, 146 Hydraulic engineering 60


Healthcare delivery system 173, 176, 182, 187 Heterogeneous networks 11, 107, 122, 234 Heteroglossic linguistic identity 24 Higher intelligence 52 Human actant(s) vii, 4, 7, 10, 55, 68, 104 Human actor 4, 23, 26, 34, 35, 40, 42, 45, 46, 65, 87, 109, 117, 122, 124, 157, 158, 166–168, 203, 205–207, 234 Human centricity 9, 10, 71 Human civilization 53, 56, 58, 61, 70 Human communication 143 Human-computer interaction 28, 257, 258

Ideas vii, 2, 4, 9, 17, 54, 60, 122, 147, 160, 205 Immaterial networks 36 Industrial revolution 61, 62 Information 27, 28, 65, 69, 141, 143, 144, 146, 148, 159, 177, 182, 212, 215, 221, 222, 225, 242, 261, 263, 268 Information age 54, 62–64, 68 Informational revolution 17 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) 6, 9, 61–66, 68, 102, 109, 111, 117, 126, 127, 130, 131, 142, 156, 159, 164, 177, 234, 239, 240, 243, 248 Information Technology (IT) 8, 25, 156, 157, 177, 184, 198 Inhuman actant(s) 55 Innovation network 233, 245, 248


Innovation(s) 2, 3, 5, 6, 10, 11, 17, 58–62, 78, 88, 122, 156–161, 164, 185–187, 189, 234, 240, 245, 246, 248, 268 Innovative marketing 155 Innovators 8, 81, 160, 161 Inscribed actants 6 Inscribed artifacts 6 Inscription 6, 104, 123, 162 Institution 100, 102, 105, 109, 111–115, 117, 118, 125, 133, 205 Institutional process 108 Intentionality 7 Interactive online banking 11 Interessement 55, 56, 58, 65, 66, 68, 104, 105, 107, 123, 126–128, 131, 133, 134, 160 Inter-human relationships 52 Intermediaries 60, 63, 87, 108, 123, 184, 187, 263 Internet 17, 18, 63, 70, 101, 102, 128, 145, 177, 232, 239, 248, 267 Internet of things (IOT) 241, 246, 267 Interrogations 2 Invention 57, 60, 81 Investigations 2, 3, 78, 176, 184, 205, 207, 233 Invisible actors 35, 48


Knowledge transfer 201



Latour, B. 2, 4, 5, 7, 22, 33–36, 42, 46, 47, 54, 82, 108, 122, 123, 125, 145, 146, 149, 157, 160, 176, 185, 203, 204, 233, 234 Law, John 149, 157, 203, 234, 246 Leadership 10, 67, 116, 142, 143, 146–151, 178 Learning 100–102, 108, 146 Learning Management System (LMS) 101, 102, 108, 110–118 Legal framework 36 Lingua franca 145 Linguistic complexity 19 Linguistic diversity 19, 24 Linguistic policies 16 Lowe, G.R. 145, 233


Machines 16, 17, 26, 60, 62, 65, 68, 144, 146, 158 Management of Aggression and Violence Attitude Scale (MAVAS) 181 Material vii, 4, 20, 35, 36, 82, 87, 112, 158 Material durability 20 Materialization 5 Mechanical artifacts 60 Media content 232, 261, 262 Media entrepreneur(s) 9, 78–82, 85–89, 232 Media entrepreneurship viii, 8, 9, 78, 80, 81, 83, 85, 88 Media industry 78, 212, 231–233, 240, 242, 247 Media management viii, 233



Media market 9, 78, 79, 86, 87 Media organizations 232–234, 245, 247, 248 Media startups 85 Mediator(s) 9, 35, 36, 46, 48, 60, 61, 63, 67, 86, 88, 108, 184, 187 Medieval 60 Mental health 178, 180 Microsoft Azure 6 Middle ages 59, 60 Mobile banking 156–158, 164–166, 260, 262, 263, 265, 268 Mobile technologies 67 Mobilization 26, 55, 66, 70, 104, 106, 114, 118, 123, 126, 131, 135, 136, 161 Mobilization process 9, 126, 135 Moment of translation 9, 54–57, 66, 68–71, 104–106, 162 Mundane technologies 53


Neolithic 59, 60 Network 3–7, 20, 22, 36, 51, 52, 61, 67, 68, 77, 78, 86, 88, 103–105, 110, 115–117, 124, 127, 131–135, 142, 144, 146, 149, 151, 157, 158, 167, 168, 183, 185–187, 198, 200, 203, 206, 207, 212–221, 224, 225, 233, 234, 241, 246–248, 261 Networked organizations 197–207 Network relationship 146, 224 Network transformation 4 New stone age 59 Non-actants 9

Non-human actants vii, 4, 7, 10, 11, 55, 104, 123 Non-human actor(s) 4, 7, 10, 26, 35, 38, 40, 45, 47, 52, 87, 103, 109, 117, 122, 124, 129, 144, 157, 158, 166–168, 177, 203, 205–207, 231, 234 Non-human interaction 174 Nonhuman(s) 22, 23, 28, 33–36, 43, 45–48, 122, 141, 144, 156, 158, 184, 185, 203 Non-linguistic determinants 19 Non-simple system 16


Obligatory Passage Point (OPP) 55, 59, 60, 62, 64, 65, 67, 68, 70, 104, 105, 107, 115, 127, 132, 160 Occupational Violence (OV) 10, 178–181, 184–187 Occupational Violence and Aggression (OVAS) 180, 185 Online banking 10, 262, 267 Online digital solutions 100 Online learning 100, 101, 111, 113, 114 Online virtual learning environments 100 Ontology 4


Paleolithic 52 PAP 175 Philosophy of technology 16 Policy making 124, 125, 131, 136


Policy network 124, 125, 127–129, 133, 136, 137 Politics 142, 237 Pollenity 27 Post-structuralist 83 Power relationship 9, 53, 54, 56–58, 71, 225 Practice based object 46 Pre-historic humans 58 Pre-history 52, 54, 57–59 Principal actor 37 Problematization 55, 66, 70, 104, 105, 107, 123, 126, 131, 132, 134, 160, 162 Product innovation 104 Prosumers 232, 236 Punctualization 5, 6, 108 Punctualized networks 3, 5


Recession 150 Relational properties 35 Renaissance 60, 61 Return on Investment (ROI) 176 Risk 8, 15–18, 20, 23, 24, 26, 27, 267 Risk communication 16, 23, 26, 28 Risk epoch 17 Risk management viii, 8, 16, 24 Robotic chauffeur 17 Robotics viii, 7, 62, 67, 177 Robots 53, 65, 66, 68, 70, 176 Rock-caved water channel 44 Rock-cave houses 41 Rock-cave rooms 45 Rock formations 37 Rock houses 38 Rupestral dwellings 37



Science and Technology Studies (STS) 2, 4, 8, 203 Self-organized networks 214 Semiotic(s) vii, 4, 82, 149 Short Messaging Service (SMS) 156 Simple machines 60 Small and Medium Scaled Enterprises (SMEs) 6, 64 Smart factories 7 Social actors 54, 163, 213, 214 Social constructivist 83 Social media 27, 86, 121, 122, 124–133, 136, 212, 213, 225, 239, 242, 248, 258, 261 Social Media Industry (SMI) 131, 132, 135 Social media networks 121–123, 128 Social media platform(s) 78, 86, 88, 121, 123, 212–214, 225, 258, 259, 261 Social media policy 122, 126, 129, 130, 136 Social Network Analysis (SNA) 215, 216, 218 Social network(s) 65, 103, 121, 123, 129, 158, 213, 215, 220, 225 Social network structure 213 Social positions 22 Social system(s) 55, 142–144, 159 Social translation 1, 9, 53, 54 Socio-ecological environments 21 Socio-ecological systems (SES) 21 Socio-economic divides 174 Sociological approaches 55 Sociology of nonhuman 145 Sociology of translation 5, 54, 66, 71, 103



Socio-technical 103, 163, 185, 233, 247, 248 Socio-technical analysis 3 Socio-technical systems 1, 3, 55 Stone age 52 Strategic durability 20 Super AI 68, 69 Supply chains 86, 200 Systemic characteristics 19 System(s) 2, 3, 5, 15, 16, 18–20, 25, 27, 54, 67, 68, 70, 100, 102, 112, 117, 143, 146, 148, 158, 160, 176, 182, 184, 185, 187, 189, 206, 242 Systems liquidity 20 System-system communication 25 System theory 146


Task-Technology Fit (TTF) 164, 165 Teaching 102, 108 Technical systems 55 Technological artifacts 4, 28, 106, 107 Technological complexity(ies) 19 Technological innovation(s) 10, 17, 157, 233, 235, 239, 246 Technology acceptance 166 Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) 164 Technology centricity 71 Technology driven 2, 9, 54, 66, 67, 71, 103 Technology-driven robots 16 Technology driven world 6, 11, 53, 62 Technology(ies) 4–6, 10, 16–20, 23, 26, 28, 40, 53, 54, 56–63,

65–68, 70, 79, 85, 87, 88, 100, 102, 103, 115, 117, 124, 125, 130, 141, 142, 155–159, 164, 166, 167, 174–178, 183–187, 189, 205, 232–236, 238–241, 243–248, 263, 264, 267, 268 Technology transformation 235 Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) 164 Traditional learning contexts 100 Transaction-based Actor Networks 65 Translation viii, 3, 5–7, 9, 10, 54, 55, 70, 71, 87, 104, 107, 110, 123, 125, 145, 157, 160, 161, 203, 204, 234, 239, 245–247 Translation process 4, 6, 9, 10, 56, 57, 66, 68, 71, 123, 125, 126, 133, 134, 158, 160, 168, 205, 206


Unified Theory of Acceptance, Use of Technology (UTAUT) 164 Unstable Actor-Networks 51 User-Generated Content (UGC) 123, 232, 236, 262


Variance-based models 83 Versatile houses 38 Virtual communities 142 Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) 102 Virtual organizations 197 Virtual team 142, 143


Virus 52 Volcanic cones 37 Volcanic rock forms 40 Volcanic tuff 37, 38 Voluntary associations 18



War machines 59, 60 Web 2.0 platform 259 Workplace violence 177, 178, 182 World Wide Web 62