Research Output

Tracing innovation: an activity theoretical approach.

  This paper argues that tracing the diffusion of innovation is a challenging endeavour. The difficulty is that an innovation comes into existence as a cognitive and inter-personal idea and transforms over time into tangible and material manifestation. Grasping the evolutionary transformation from one form to the other requires a holistic methodology which crosses the boundary between both levels. Cultural-Historic Activity Theory is proposed as one means by which we may fulfil these requirements and bridge both worlds. An industrial research project set in the German automotive industry is analysed from an action research perspective. The framework of Cultural-Historic Activity Theory is utilised to explore the applicability of this as an intellectual approach that can assist our understanding of practice. The case study demonstrates how the framework aids the unravelling of an activity system, providing a narrative of the innofusion of a specific technology – a supply network decision support system (SNDSS). Finally, the paper concludes that the framework has merits for both practitioners and scholars.

  • Date:

    01 January 2011

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher


  • Library of Congress:

    QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    004 Data processing & computer science


Wiegel, V. (2010). Tracing innovation: an activity theoretical approach. In ECIS 2011 Proceedings



Innovation studies; diffusion of innovation; tracing innovation; activity theory;

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