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Time, Narratives and Participation Frameworks in Software Troubleshooting

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The paper problematizes diagnostic work as a solely technical and rational activity by presenting an analysis focused on the social and organizational practices in which diagnosis is embedded. The analysis of a troubleshooting episode in an Italian internet company shows how diagnostic work is realized: 1) through collaboration sustained by specific knowledge distribution among designers (different but overlapping competences); 2) intersubjectively and discursively as an activity characterized by specific and diverse forms of participation and interwined with material intervention in the system; 3) following a situated rationality which proceeds by gradual approximations to achieve partial or provisional solutions while also taking account of organizational goals and needs. In particular the paper discusses how diagnosis is shaped by time pressure, flexible roles and distributed responsibilities, absent participants, narratives as specialized discourses.


Alby, Francesca; Zucchermaglio, Cristina (39965): Time, Narratives and Participation Frameworks in Software Troubleshooting. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 18. DOI: 10.1007/s10606-008-9090-7. Springer. PISSN: 1573-7551. pp. 129-146