Leibniz Universität Hannover
The Digital Cases research project examines how complex information and case management software in professional organizations structures the processing of cases, meaning e.g. the handling of patients or the provisioning of social assistance. Using the example of case information and case management systems, this project aims to develop the relationship between organization, technology and profession in a theoretical and conceptual way. Digital Cases engages in a comparison of the structuring effect of case information systems, among others a hospital and a social services agency, thereby traversing a range of organizational typologies. This opens up a crucial middle ground of theory formation to examine the structural effects of these systems in professional organizations.
How do complex digital infrastructures - such as electronic case management systems - change the interrelation of organization, technology and profession?
How do digital cases actively shape the processes in organizations?
To what extent are digital tools advancing to become actors in their own right in social settings?
The project uses an ethnographic approach that centers upon participatory observation and the shadowing of software. To harvest the potential inherent in the generalization of ethnographic research, a new method of co-ethnography will be tested after a phase of individual case ethnography. In doing so, the ethnographers temporarily change "their" field, meaning for example from the hospital to the Youth Welfare Office, to generate comparative knowledge on the structuring of casework during the observation phase. In addition to and in preparation of the ethnographic field work, interviews are conducted.