Communication using signs: an empirical study of a manufacturing information system using Stamper’s OS ladder
Costello, Gabriel J.
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This paper investigates information exchange during a longitudinal study of a manufacturing information system in a multinational subsidiary where the researcher had the status of a temporary employee. During this study there was a gradual realization that the main locus of interaction was the cell information board. It was here that people gathered to assimilate digital information sources and transform these into “acts”. The paper seeks to answer the following research question: how does Stamper’s Organisational Semiotic (OS) Ladder stand up to empirical investigation on a manufacturing shop floor? The work makes a contribution by examining a manufacturing information system as a form of symbolic action using empirical data accumulated over two years. The conclusion of the study is that Stamper’s OS Ladder requires to be modified based on the evidence of the study. Furthermore, it challenges the IT artefact turn in the IS literature and argues that we should view information systems first and foremost as a service to human activity.
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