Intranet as formative context: a study of an under-utilized corporate web
Paper i proceeding, 2003

Although intranets are well-established organisational information environments, many companies experience that their intranets are left under-utilised by the organisational members. Consulting the standard management literature, it seems the strategy typically advocated is tighter management control. In this study, we examine the use of and the attitudes towards an international company’s intranet. Although the respondents’ testimonies seem to be in line with existing literature, advocating centrality and control, we argue this is only a superficial pattern. When the informants’ statements are not accepted as facts but instead critically questioned to reveal the underlying beliefs and attitudes, an alternative view emerges. Applying the notion of formative context to the intranet, we uncover the institutionalised cognitive frames governing the actors reasoning and explain why the intranets tend to drift out of control. In compliance with previous studies of information infrastructure, we conclude that intranet management too is centred on control as the supreme management objective. Consequently, this deceptive image of the intranet as a hierarchical information environment must be replaced with a more de-centralised vision that allows intranets to harness the open-ended purpose for which the web was originally designed.

Intranet management


formative context


Dick Stenmark

Göteborgs universitet

Proceedings of the Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS)