Actor Network Theory
“Actor Network Theory (ANT) was developed in the sociology of science and technology . ANT helps to describe how actors form alliances and involve other actors and use non-human actors (artifacts) to strengthen such alliances and to secure their interests. ANT consists of two concepts: translation and inscription.
When an actor-network is created, consists of four processes of translation :
- Problematization: The focal actors define interests that others may share, establishes itself as indispensable resources in the solution of the problems they have defined. They define the problems and solutions and also establish roles and identities for other actors in the network. As a consequence, focal actors establish an “obligatory passage point” for problem solution which all the actors in an actor-network must pass.
- Interessement: The focal actors convince other actors that the interests defined by the focal actors are in fact well in line with their own interests. Through interessement the developing network creates sufficient incitement to both lock actors into networks.
- Enrollment: Enrollment involves a definition of roles of each of the actors in the newly created actor- network. It also involves a set of strategies through which focal actors seek to convince other actors to embrace the underlying ideas of the growing actor- network and to be an active part of the whole project.
- Mobilization: The focal actors use a set of methods to ensure that the other actors act according to their agreement and would not betray. With allies mobilized, an actor network achieves stability.
In addition to the four stages of translation, the process of inscription is critical to building networks, as most artifacts within a social system embody inscriptions of some interests. As ideas are inscribed in technology and as these technologies diffuse in contexts where they are assigned relevance, they help achieve socio-technical stability.
Through ANT, we can understand how the focal case companies generate values through networks and inscribe their interests into their cloud computing technology and services (Huang, 2010).”