The socio-technical impact of the Internet of Things: an exploratory mixed methods research

Albert Boonstra, Dustin Antonio Wiktor-Steffens

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This study explores how the Internet of Things (IoT) impacts the socio-technical system of organizations. The paper adopts a mixed methods research with a qualitatively driven approach. Data from 21 interviews with experts in the field of IoT and an online survey with 123 IoT professionals were analyzed. Leonardi’s Socio-Technical System Model (2012) was applied as a lens to examine how IoT influences the organizations’ social subsystem and how that, in turn, affects both the materiality of IoT and users’ intentionality in the technical subsystem. The results suggest transformed roles, potentially flattened hierarchies, decreased privacy, and increased transparency to be the main effects. While apparent changes in the social subsystem cause perceived threats that strongly influence users’ intentionality, they do not certainly affect IoT’s materiality. Noteworthy, however, is that irreplaceable users reportedly have the leverage to enforce changes to IoT’s materiality.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 8-May-2020
Event5th International Conference on Internet of Things, Big Data and Security - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 7-May-20209-May-2020


Conference5th International Conference on Internet of Things, Big Data and Security
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic
Internet address


  • Internet of Things, Socio-technical Systems, Intentionality, Materiality.

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