|Author(s)||Francesca Alby, Cristina Zucchermaglio|
|Title||“Afterwards we can understand what went wrong, but now let’s fix it”: How situated work practices shape group decision making|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, Workplace studies, naturalistic decision making, situated action, technological design, work practices, work groups|
The paper proposes an ethnomethodological approach to the study of naturalistic decision making. We present an analysis of design practices in an Internet company, showing that, besides ‘professional design’ of technological systems, designers are continually involved in an activity of maintenance and replanning of these same systems (‘design-in-use’). Through an interaction-based analysis, we describe a serious emergency design-in-use situation. Results show that (1) decision-making activities are not clearly identifiable in ongoing problem-solving action but are embedded in complex work practices; (2) work practices and organizational features shape when, how and which decisions are made, underlying the situated character of the decision-making process; (3) considering the group of designers as unit of analysis allows the complex and distributed nature of decision making in organizations to be described.