When Environment Matters:Inter-Organizational Effects on Sociomaterial Imbrications and Change

Previous research on sociomateriality, a recently developed perspective arguing that social and material aspects acquire their properties in the process of their mutual imbrications, has mainly focused on an intra-organizational level of analysis. In this paper we investigate how the inter-organizational relations influence within-organizational processes of sociomaterial imbrications. We conducted case-study of Web 2.0 communities of social computing developing their routines and technologies over a 16-year period in the market of Internet access providers. Our findings indicate that inter-organizational influence is an important factor shaping the processes of change in organizational routines and technologies and only partly supports the recent findings of Paul Leonardi about the perception-based nature of these changes as we evidence that this is not applicable in certain types of environments. Based on our findings we develop a process model of inter-organizational influence on sociomaterial imbrications and change and discuss its implications for theory and practice.