Formative Context

Formative Context

Formative context is an important theory developed by Roberto Unger. Unger is a Political Scientist but the theory has been heavily drawn on and used within the Social Study of Information Systems.

In the field of Information Systems Claudio Ciborra and Giovan Lanzara define the term “formative context” as the “set of institutional arrangements and cognitive imageries that inform actors’ practical and reasoning routines in organisations”. They posit that the common inability to enquire into, challenge or shape Formative Context can inhibit individuals and organizations from acting competently and learning what they need to know in order to make the most of situations and technological transitions as the enchaining effect of Formative Context can lead to cognitive and social inertia.


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