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Interaction, mediation, and ties: An analytic hierarchy for socio-technical systems.

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Disciplines
  • Design

Abstract

To understand how technological designs encourage synergistic encounters between people and ideas within socio-technical systems, techniques are needed to bridge between levels of description from process traces such as log data, through individual trajectories of activity that interact with each other, to dynamic networks of associations that are both created by and further shape these interactions. Towards this end, we have developed an analytic hierarchy and associated representations. Process traces are abstracted to contingency and uptake graphs: directed graphs that record observed relationships (contingencies) between events that offer evidence for interaction and other influences between actors (uptake). Contingency graphs are further abstracted to associograms: two-mode directed graphs that record how associations between actors are mediated by digital artifacts. Patterns in associograms summarize sequential patterns of interaction. Transitive closure of associograms yields sociograms, to which existing network analytic techniques may be applied. We discuss how the hierarchy bridges between theoretical levels of analysis.

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