ABRI Lunch Seminar Aljona Zorina


12:00 - 13:30

HG 9A-33

Transformative Technology Tools and External Dynamics in Innovating User Communities

Aljona Zorina

Amsterdam Business Research Institute

Business and Organisation

Conference / Symposium

On 19 May Aljona Zorina (Leeds University Business School) will hold a lunch seminar titled "Transformative Technology Tools and External Dynamics in Innovating User Communities".

To register for this event & catered lunch, please send an e-mail to Lesley Weston: l.a.weston@vu.nl  before Wednesday May 17, 2017.


Extant research has provided valuable insights to understanding the processes and various forms of technology-enabled change occurring within conventional organizations (e.g. corporate and state own enterprises). Surprisingly little attention has been given to understanding transformative processes of IT-enabled use within innovating communities (ICs), i.e. how use and change in the dominant IT tools can lead to modifications in the community practices, processes and structures. Given the ever increasing theoretical and practical importance of communities for understanding local, industry-level and organizational innovation in the 21st century, this paper address this important gap. We apply the activity theory perspective to study how and when transformative IT-enabled change occurs within innovating user communities while also providing insights to its various forms. Our findings highlight an important role of IT-mediated tools and extra-organizational dynamics. In particular, we find the role of IT tools in ICs is threefold and builds on encompassing (i) practical meaning (i.e. the tool functional capability to solve a particular practical need),(ii)contextual meaning (i.e. a broader meaning of the IT tool in the local context and infrastructure), and (iii) repertoire of possible actions and goals (RPAG) defined by the former two. In line with research on the processes of IT-enabled transformations in (conventional) organizations, we find that modifications of IT tools related to the practical meaning lead to situated and local adaptations of IT tools and RPAG within the existing community system. On the contrary, modifications to contextual meaning (such as new meaning of the IT tool and its community in the infrastructure of other actors) and/or to the RPAG (such as regulations imposed on communities externally) lead to disruptive changes to the community RPAG and the formation of a new community system. Implications of these findings for the studies of innovating communities and activity theory are discussed.

Short biography    

Aljona Zorina is a Vice Chancellor’s University Academic Fellow at Leeds University Business School (http://250greatminds.leeds.ac.uk/). Prior to this, she was assistant professor at ESCP Europe Business School (2012 - 2015). Aljona was also a visiting researcher at the Department of sociology, SATSU research center, at the University of York (UK) and a visiting Doctoral student at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford (UK). Her dissertation, which focused on innovation co-creation within bottom-up broadband communities in Belarus, was named ESSEC’s Best Dissertation and as one of the three Finalists for the Technology and Innovation Management Best Dissertation Award by the Academy of Management in 2013.
Aljona’s research focuses on the emergent processes and practices of new innovations enabled and mediated by IT and new organizational forms. She is particularly interested in topics such as communities, bricolage, co-creation, community-business collaboration, sociomateriality and the interplay of the above areas with complex multi-faceted IT artifacts such as Internet and IT surveillance. 

For more information about Aljona Zorina please click here.