Social informatics entails aninterdisciplinary study on the use of Information and CommunicationTechnologies (ICT). Based on Sawyer (2005), research on social informatics reveals fivecommon findings. This includes the use of ICT leading to multiple and sometimesparadoxical effects (Sawyer 2005).
Kling (2007) illustrates this by discussingthe productivity paradox. Here, linking computer use and productivity generatessignificant socio-economic benefits but also affects these sectors byincreasing unemployment and failing to realize major increase laborproductivity. Sawyer (2005) has the use of ICT shaping thoughtand action in ways that benefit some groups more than others. Here, Kling (2007)provides the example of the period 1970s and 1980s involving studies on theimpacts of computerization to work-life changes. Results from these studiesindicate differences in impacts among professionals dictated by the relativepower of the worker. Further, Sawyer (2005) holds the differential effects ofdesign, implementation, and use of ICT have moral and ethical consequences. Toillustrate this, Kling (2007) uses the example of PriceWaterhouse buying copiesof Lotus Notes to enhance creativity in sharing information.
However, thecompany saw no need to train its employees on the technology only to later leadto its poor use by the company’s associates.It is important to consider findings of thedesign, implementation, and use of ICT as having a reciprocal relationship withthe larger social context (Sawyer 2005). According to Kling (2007), the waypeople use information and technology influences consequences in work, socialrelationships and organizations. Examples involve the use of these tools tocreate an incentive system such as in the case of PriceWaterhouse and improvework processes through digitization.
Sawyer (2005) finds that the phenomenon ofinterest varies with the level of analysis. Here, Kling (2007) presents thework-oriented view illustrating differences in how people work and usecomputers. It is this difference that leads to variation in the value of ICTacross the various social groups.Research by Kling (2007) provides numerousexamples of the findings on social informatics. It agrees with Sawyer (2005)common findings supporting the multiples effects of ICT, how ICT shapes thoughtand action creating unequal benefits to the users and the moral and ethicalconsequences generated by the differential effects of ICT. Further, it providesevidence on the use of ICT having a relationship with the larger social contextidentified by the evolution to digitization.
Lastly, it agrees on the level ofanalysis is a factor generating variations in interest about the subject.