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Sheep in Wolfs Clothing : The Role of Artifacts in Interpretive Schema Change
AuthorKonlechner, Stefan W. ; Müller, Barbara ; Güttel, Wolfgang H. ; Koprax, Irina ; Link, Karin
Published in
Schmalenbach Business Review, 2016, Vol. 17, Issue 2, page 129-150
PublishedSpringer, 2016
Document typeJournal Article
URNurn:nbn:at:at-ubl:3-1472 Persistent Identifier (URN)
 The work is publicly available
Sheep in Wolfs Clothing [0.31 mb]
Abstract (English)

In this paper, we investigate the role of artifacts in a failed project that aimed at implementing a new culture of dealing with errors in a hospital by transferring safety standards from the aviation industry. We apply the interpretative method of objective hermeneutics to elucidate the role of artifacts as linking pins between diverging interpretive schemata and collective action during attempts to modify organizational routines. In particular, we show how the implementation of artifacts may serve as a means to satisfy a new espoused schema, while at the same time they are created and interpreted in ways that strengthen the old enacted schema. Although on the surface everyone would appreciate changes in treatment routines that help to avoid errors, the guiding norms of individual vigilance and self-centeredness, a culture that emphasizes hierarchy as a core value as well as the lack of sanctions for enacting the old schema led to a situation where the new espoused schema was never enacted. Instead, artifacts were used to stabilize a divergence between espoused and enacted schemata. Failure remained a cultural taboo.

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