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When humans using the IT artifact becomes IT using the human artifact

Lee, Allen S.; Demetis, Dionysios S.; Lee, Allen


Allen S. Lee

Allen Lee


Following Demetis & Lee (2016) who showed how systems theorizing can be conducted on the basis of a few systems principles, in this conceptual paper, we apply these principles to theorize about the systemic character of technology and investigate the role reversal in the relationship between humans and technology. By applying systems-theoretical requirements outlined by Demetis & Lee, we examine conditions for the systemic character of technology and, based on our theoretical discussion, we argue that humans can now be considered artifacts shaped and used by the (system of) technology rather than vice versa. We argue that the role reversal has considerable implications for the field of information systems that has thus far focused only on the use of the IT artifact by humans. We illustrate these ideas with empirical material from a well-known case from the financial markets: the collapse (“Flash Crash”) of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.


Lee, A. S., Demetis, D. S., & Lee, A. (2018). When humans using the IT artifact becomes IT using the human artifact. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 19(10), 929-952.

Journal Article Type Conference Paper
Conference Name Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
Acceptance Date Mar 11, 2018
Publication Date 2018
Deposit Date Mar 26, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jul 17, 2018
Journal Journal of the Association for Information Systems
Print ISSN 1536-9323
Electronic ISSN 1558-3457
Publisher Association for Information Systems
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 10
Pages 929-952
ISBN 9780998133102
Keywords IT artifact; Human artifact; Systems theory; Systemic technology
Public URL
Publisher URL


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