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Theorizing technology affordances in digital innovation: evidence from an interactive voice response pilot project for low-income markets in Ghana

Lunberry, Dana De Nyse (2020) Theorizing technology affordances in digital innovation: evidence from an interactive voice response pilot project for low-income markets in Ghana. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004222


This thesis consists of three studies that examine the role and dynamics of technology affordances in digital innovation. Following the work of James J. Gibson (1977, 1986), technology affordances refer to all possible actions corresponding to the materiality of technological artifacts in relationship with humans and the environment (Hutchby 2001). The studies use empirical evidence from the same case study– a pilot project introducing interactive voice response (IVR) with savings clients of a savings and loans company in Ghana in 2017-2018. Each study is distinct in its focus and builds upon different aspects of the concept of affordances within the Information Systems (IS) literature. The first study focuses on the practice and processes of innovating done by innovation leaders (managers). The findings suggest that innovation occurs through patterns which involve innovation leaders’ conceptualizations of technology affordances and their applications. The second study focuses on how an affordance lens can be used to explain IT-associated change, specifically the phenomenon of strategic customer targeting. The findings suggest that the relationships among technologies, humans, and their environments are generating IT-associated changes within an organizational context by enabling strategic customer targeting through patterns of applied affordances in digital innovation. The third study focuses on the relationship between technology and anthropomorphic perceptions among technology users. The findings suggest that affordance-related patterns exist which individually and jointly enable the technology to exhibit human-like qualities within the user-technology interaction. All three studies develop arguments around the logics and consequences of technology affordances: how they are perceived and/or enacted within various technology development and diffusion 9 processes. From the analyses, the research explicates the relationship between digital materiality and digital innovation for an improved understanding of the role of the digital artifact in innovation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2020 Dana De Nyse Lunberry
Uncontrolled Keywords: digital innovation, innovation management, innovation strategy, technology development, technology affordances, interactive voice response, financial services, fintech, fintech innovation, financial inclusion, microfinance, microsavings, Ghana, low-income markets
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Sets: Departments > Management
Supervisor: Liebenau, Jonathan

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