Unpacking a Timesheet: Formalisation and Representation
While the use of formal systems has been animportant topic within CSCW, their use as representations has been relatively neglected.This paper, using ethnographic data from aBritish oil company, investigates howrepresentations are used. In the companystudied an electronic timesheet system wasimplemented to be used by staff to account fortheir work. Looking at this system in useprovides insights on what changes whenprocesses are computerised. In particular, thecomputerised system used inflexiblecomputerised rules to enforce a division oflabour between the accountants who ran thesystem, and those who filled in theirtimesheets. However, this rigidity was not apurely negative feature; it helped theaccountants who ran the system to do``representational work'', and establish theaccuracy of the timesheet system. Looking intothe politics of this system in use illustratesthe danger of generalising the relationshipbetween formalisation and power.