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Diagnostic Reasoning in the Use of Travel Management System

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We explore the appropriation of a self-management administrative system from the perspective of diagnostic reasoning. The case study, based on documents, ethnography and videotapes, concerns the appropriation of a travel management system in a major university in Finland. To explore this process from a user-centric view, we focus on the diagnostic work required in the appropriation of the new system, analyzing both the generic diagnostic reasoning of how the users navigate in the system and their individual and collaborative problem-solving strategies. This approach reveals the interaction between the users and the technology, which incorporates inbuilt models of users, administrative work and work processes. Our analysis concerns interactive instances which resulted from misdiagnosis of the functions of the system. For example, the orchestration and labeling of items in the application pose diagnostic challenges to end-users and may eventually be resolved in collaboration with administrative personnel. The individual and collaborative diagnostic reasoning sheds light on the hidden organizational embeddedness of self-management solutions, providing suggestions for developing the design and deployment of administrative self-management systems. The appropriated self-management system should finally be based on the end-user’s diagnostic reasoning so that the employees can base their actions on their taken-for-granted competence and the skills gained during the appropriation of the system.


Arminen, Ilkka; Poikus, Piia (39965): Diagnostic Reasoning in the Use of Travel Management System. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 18. DOI: 10.1007/s10606-008-9086-3. Springer. PISSN: 1573-7551. pp. 251-276