ABSTRACT

This chapter examines software innovation and what implications the restructurings that increase formalized ways of organizing software innovation have for information and communication technology (ICT) experts. The study draws on interviews conducted with ICT experts in Finnish small and middle size ICT firms. The focus is on the interplay between formalization of ways of organizing innovation and ICT experts’ transforming possibilities to negotiate agency (for example, exercise control over their work). More specifically, the chapter explores the following questions: When ways of organizing software innovation become more formalized, how are the ICT experts involved positioned? What are the implications of the interplay between formalization and ICT experts’ agency and possibilities to address unintended and undesirable consequences of the products they develop? Findings suggest that when organizing becomes more formalized, ICT experts often become positioned increasingly as ‘compliant resources’ rather than as ‘autonomous craftsmen.’ This limits their possibilities to negotiate agency and consider unintended and undesirable consequences of innovation.