What Impact Do Various Sociomaterial Assemblages Have on Collective Thinking Activities?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 8:50 AM
Room: 423
Oral Presentation
Philippe EYNAUD , IAE de Paris, University Panthéon Sorbonne, Paris, France
Julien MALAURENT , ESSEC, Cergy Pontoise, France
The association "Pole Bio" has created a multi-tenant project called “Melibio” to support organic agriculture in the Massif Central region, France. Pole bio is intending to manage this project for a three years period (2011-2014) to improve knowledge sharing in the organic farming field. And this focus group is specifically interested in meadows composed of a variety of flora or forage crops. It brings together a group of heteroegeneous actors: researchers in biology, computer scientists, Chamber of Agriculture officials, trainers, agricultural experts, farmers' associations. The project is funded by the region and aims to find new techniques to tackle the climate change.

The project has two main objectives: the first one consists in producing a decision-making model to assist seeding. This decision-making model will be embedded within an online platform to assist farmers to calculate the ideal mix for seeding flora in meadows. The ideal-type process is the following: farmers will have to enter local data into the software (such as location, soil type, weather conditions), and will get back advices for seeding recipes. The second objective is related to the creation of a wiki-based knowledge platform to articulate both expert and lay knowledge to improve the collective expertise of the organic farming community in that region.

Given the complexity of the relationships between group members due to a number of factors such as personal interests, institutional interests, and geographic distance, we wish to focus our interest in the role played by sociomaterial assemblage for collective thinking activities. To do so, we suggest the adoption of a slightly different research paradigm compared to the classic sociomaterial apparatus (Leonardi and Barley, 2010; Orlikowski, 2007) based on a Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) framework, suggesting an original perspective to look at the role of material artefacts during thinking activities.