Tuesday 27th March 2018 – Lunchtime Seminar with Dr Mohammad Hossein Jarrahi (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Title: Information practices and infrastructural challenges of mobile knowledge work
Speaker: Dr Mohammad Hossein Jarrahi (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Date and time: Tuesday 27th March 2018, 1pm-2pm
Hosted by: Professor Luigina Ciolfi

The knowledge workforce is changing: global economic factors, increasing professional specialization and rapid technological advancements mean that more individuals than ever can be found working in independent, modular, and mobile arrangements. Little is known about professional information practices or actions outside of traditional, centralized offices; however, the dynamic, unconventional, and less stable mobile work context diverges substantially from this model, and presents significant challenges and opportunities for the accomplishing of work tasks.

In this talk, Dr Mohammad Hossein Jarrahi will focus on five main information practices geared toward mobilizing work, based on in-depth interviews with 37 mobile knowledge workers (MKWs), digital diaries and application-based data collection. He will use these five practices as starting points for beginning to delineate the context of mobile knowledge work.

Dr Mohammad Hossein Jarrahi will then direct attention to technological or contextual constraints (e.g., technological exclusion and infrastructural disconnection) that MKWs encounter because of contextual and spatial boundaries. MKWs engage in a type of articulation work that involves the construction of bridging, assembling, or circumventing solutions to repeatedly negotiate these impediments. Engaging in these ‘infrastructuring’ practices requires that workers develop ‘infrastructural competence’—knowledge of the generative possibilities of infrastructural gaps and seams.

Finally, Dr Jarrahi will conclude by discussing his ongoing research project about “digital nomads” as a sub-population of MKWs. Digital nomadicity has gained popularity in recent years as a fashionable lifestyle, and as a way of challenging traditional work contexts. Preliminary analysis focuses on the concepts of personal knowledge management and gig work in the work context of digital nomads.

Mohammad Hossein Jarrahi is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research focuses on the use and consequences of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the accompanying social and organizational changes that these bring to knowledge-intensive organizational contexts. His recent projects have investigated the sociotechnical dynamics of extra-organizational work settings such as mobile work, independent work, and gig work arrangements. He is specifically interested in how these knowledge workers outside of the traditional “organizational container” creatively use various digital technologies, and digital platforms to accomplish work, and share knowledge.


See here for details of other seminars in the series.

All SHU staff and students are welcome to attend the C3RI Lunchtime Research Seminars. If you are from outside of the University and would like to attend a seminar, please email the C3RI Administrator to arrange entry.