Interpretive Flexibility

The notion of interpretive flexibility is one of the main concepts of the “[…] social constructivism in science and technology studies […]”. (Meyer, Uli 2006) It refers to the nature of facts, which scientists try to determine by empirical observations or by the evolution of new technological artefacts. With these methods scientists are able to make to a certain degree different interpretations of “[…] how people think of or interpret artefacts as well as how they design them […]”. (Doherty, Neil F. 2006) The concept was originally applied to the “design phase of material artefacts”. (Doherty, Neil F. 2006) This approach expanded over time to the understanding of design and the handling of information systems. Additionally, the technology needs to provide adequate functions, which must fulfil the requirements of the users for flexibility in interpretation.


Meyer, Uli/ Schulz-Schaeffer, Ingo, Three Forms of Interpretative Flexibility, in: Science, Technology & Innovation Studies 1 (2006), S. 26-40.

Doherty, Neil F./ Coombs, Crispin R./ Loan-Clarke, John, A Re-conceptualisation of the Interpretive Flexibility of Information Technologies: Redressing the balance between the Social and the Technical, in: European Journal of Information Systems 15 (2006), S.569-582.

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