How artifacts come to persist is a neglected area in organizational theory. In IS, Lucas et al. (2007) stress implementation research that takes the long view, but little is known about maintenance practices. Using Lawrence et al. (2009) institutional work framework, we analyze stakeholder efforts to stabilize and now maintain the Urban-net, a broadband network. We track it from inception through design stabilization to post-stabilization. Empirically, we add to research on the neglected area of maintenance work. Re: theory, our contributions are two-fold. First, we distinguish artifact stabilization from maintenance, a distinction Lawrence et al. (2009) ignore. Bijker’s (1997) idea of stabilization offers a way to think about the two. The temporal and relational scope of the effort involved, we show, can be different. Second, we adapt the term gardening from Olsen (2003) to characterize the multi-stranded nature of maintenance, involving efforts to preserve while also amending the Urban-net.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/anand_natarajan/1/