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Representation and mediation in digitalized work: Evidence from maintenance of mining machinery

The increased digitalization of work results in practices that are increasingly networked and knowledge based. As such, we need to continuously inquire how digital technology leads to changes in work and not be content knowing that it leads to change. This paper contributes to advancing such knowledge through an analysis of digitalized condition-based maintenance of machinery in a Swedish iron ore mine. Drawing on the distinction between digital representation and digital meditation figurations of human and material agency, we analyze how the distributed network of workers used a diverse portfolio of digital technologies to make complex knowledge-based decisions on when and how to maintain the mining machinery. We combine these empirical insights with extant literature to advance a new theoretical perspective on how key characteristics of digital technologies are implicated in networked, knowledge-based work practices.