Shirumisha's Platform

Shirumisha Kwayu
Surely Goodness and Mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
Forget the former things: Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up: Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in wasteland. Break camps and advance!

2017 UK’s General Election Results

by Shirumisha Kwayu on 06/09/17

Many papers today have written how Theresa May’s gamble in calling the 2017 election didn’t payoff, I consider the election was a great painful payoff to Theresa May and the British people. Although the results didn’t go the way May wanted however it’s a great lesson to her and her leadership on what to consider during her endeavour on Brexit.  The results, I believe have united the British people rather than polarizing as some may argue and will enable each one views to be considered. The following are my views on the election results

First, the results have united the people of Britain as they have abolished the demands of second Scottish independence referendum. The poor performance of SNP means that the demands and great effort that May was using to keep Scotland to the union have given May the mandate to continue with the Brexit negation without the worries of SNP.

Second, the fact that the government is formed with DUP means that view of Ireland will be highly considered as now they are represented in the government. If the conservative had a majority of votes they would ignore most of the concerns from other parts of the country and hence it would lead to dissatisfaction in future.

Third, given the Labour surge in the parliament means austerity measure will be revisited, hence the plea of many will be listened. This is because labour appealed to people who are frustrated with the austerity measure. Thus, it means the conservative should wary on austerity measures otherwise they might be taken out of power in the next election. This will also force the conservative government and some of the labour party members to take seriously the concerns that Corbyn raises.

Lastly, the best thing about this election was the participation of youth. This will help the government to take seriously the youth group who are the future of Britain. Also, this will affect British politics as many parties will start to consider issues that face the youth seriously.

Conclusively, one of my favourite politician Hon Ken Clarke claimed that a hung parliament is the worst, I beg to differ as I believe it will help with consensus on matter that are dear to the British people rather than one group of people dragging the other. Likewise, another of my favourite Nick Clegg, who I felt sorry for his fate in the election argue that the election result had polarizing effect. I believe this helps the government not just to focus on the centre but also consider all the dynamics in the room. 

My take on Anna Mwighira’s Appointment

by Shirumisha Kwayu on 06/07/17

I’m pleased with the recent appointment of Anna Mwighira as the regional commissioner (RC) of Kilimanjaro. As a residence of Kilimanjaro, I feel fortunate of her appointment especially with discontentment of some regional commissioners in other regions. Kilimanjaro is fortunate of having wise leaders especially the regional commissioners.  The immediate former RC Meki Sadiki was a very wise man. Since the appointment of Anna has raised concerns especially on the state of opposition, I’ll hereby point my views on why it was rational for her to be appointed and accept the position. I will also look into the way forward for opposition. 

First, Anna is a courageous and wise leader. She is among the few women who have led a political party as well as running for presidency. When she decided to run for presidential position, when some of the preferred members in her party were hesitant to do so. She stood up and ran her campaign in an admirable way. Full of agenda as opposed to personal attacks, which was a major component of other candidates. Unfortunately, the election was dominated with two major parties (CCM vs CHADEMA/UKAWA) and issues that received attention were pity and trifling. Hence, observing mama Anna in a position of leadership especially in a government provides a good lens for citizens to judge her wisdom and see her actions.

Second, Anna’s appointment should remind us that ACT Wazalendo and CCM share the same ideology. They both belong to the left and share the same socialist ideology.  ACT has placed its effort to rejuvenate aspects of the Azimio la Arusha, which was once core belief and the very foundation of CCM. Meanwhile Magufuli’s government is displaying considerable socialist elements such as increasing the powers of state and its intervention in economic matters. Thus, although they argue that ‘development has no party’, parties do have ideologies and ideologies guide strategies and strategies define priorities of attaining development. Probably ACT-Wazalendo fills the ideological vacuum that CCM created following its seemingly unprepared adoption to the liberal ideas without completely abandoning the foundational socialism. 


Third, Kilimanjaro is dominated by opposition, thus appointing an opposition leader to that region might be for strategic reason. Perhaps, the government wants to shield itself from the opposition, and the best way is to let opposition fight opposition. Another reason, which I believe, may be a way of reaching consensus – i.e. opposition might understand other oppositions. Hence appointment of Anna is a bridge of connecting the government with the opposition citizens. Such a move will help a faster materialisation of CCM manifesto in the region.

Prisoners’ Dillema

Despite my reasoning why I feel the appointment of Anna was appropriate, there are valid concerns on the state of opposition in Tanzania. Some have argued that ACT-Wazalendo is an arm of the ruling party, some say it’s a move of the government to dismantle opposition and some believe it’s a move to strengthen democracy. I believe in neither of those. It’s a game theory. We may all be on a prisoner’s dilemma. Whatever the intention and trade-offs that may exist the end results will depend on what the opposition does next.

Way forward for the Opposition

I recommend the opposition parties to do their job, reflect on themselves, the structures of their parties and policies. Then present the public with a credible institution to be elected. If the public doesn’t believe in the party, it’s so hard for them to believe in the candidate however good he/she is.

Lastly, I wish mama Anna Mwighira all the best in her work, she will have all our support. 

Materialisation of Social Media in Telecom Industry

by Shirumisha Kwayu on 07/22/16

An introduction of my paper presentation in the upcoming IFIP conference

Photo session

by Shirumisha Kwayu on 07/17/16

Yesterday I had the opportunity to be photographed by Banita Lal, I liked the photos, would also like to hear your views, If you wish to have  your photos just contact Banita 

Sociomateriality for social media: Agential or critical realism?

by Shirumisha Kwayu on 05/15/16

NB: This paper was presented in 2016 UK academy of Information System (UKAIS) at St Catherine Collage, Oxford University

According Scott and Orlikowski (2014) social media platforms are novel forms of knowledge production and engagement that provide deep entanglement of social and technical, which makes social media interesting area of studying sociomateriality in practice. Sociomateriality is a new way of examining and theorizing information system (IS) phenomenon in organisation and society at large. The study of sociomateriality has nurtured a new stream of research in IS named relational ontology (Cecez-Kecmanovic, et al. 2014). Orlikowski (2007) defines sociomateriality as a recursive intertwining of human and technology in practice. The emergency of sociomateriality has extended and challenged the prevailing knowledge among IS scholars and practitioners on the ontological relationship between technology and social (Kautz and Jensen 2013). For years IS scholars have struggled to figure out the recursive intertwining of human and technology in practice with thought-provoking theories that have extended and challenged the conventional distinction between social and the material, such theories include actor networks, mangle of practice and sociotechnical. As means shifting from the traditional framing of social and material as a separate factors even when they interact Orlikowski (2007) suggest sociomaterial an approach that views organisation practices as inherently inseparable between technical and social.  The study of sociomateriality has originated from agential realist philosophy developed by Barad (2003). Agential realism is unique as it views actors and objects as self-contained entities that influence each other to composite and shifting assemblages. Thus relationship between actor (social) and object (material) is relational and it’s ontological (Orlikowski 2007). Thus with agential realism social and material are inherently inseparable.  Although most of empirical work by Scott and Orlikowski in sociomateriality has been grounded on agential realism, they as pioneers of sociomateriality have made it clear that the idea of sociomateriality does not imply any theoretical foundation.  This means sociomateriality can be grounded in different theoretical foundations. Profoundly, Mutch (2013) criticised agential realism as theoretical foundation for grounding sociomateriality study whilst suggesting critical realism as a better theoretical foundation for footing sociomateriality.  Following Mutch’s criticism and suggestion this paper intends to explore implication of using agential or critical realism as a philosophical foundation for sociomateriality an approach that’s deemed suitable for studying social media phenomena. The aim of this paper is to gain understanding of agential or critical as theoretical foundation for sociomateriality material lens and also to highlight social media literature that has used sociomaterial perspective.

Mutch (2013) argues that critical realism philosophy is helpful in providing conceptual clarity about the nature of the world in order for researcher to build or amend substantive theories of particular domain. Substantial theories assume that social and material exist as separate and self-contained element that interact and affect each other (Cecez-Kecmanovic, et al. 2014). Substantial theories are a result of different position that give different conceptualization on entanglement of social and material in everyday practices.  According to Mutch (2013), ‘critical realism offers an alternative set of resources one which can encompass the interesting insights that have been gained through much of the work that goes under the great banner of sociomateriality … [he] suggest that a more productive route is through revisiting and refreshing the insights from the socio-technical tradition, with its emphasis on a non-conflationary approach, in which the social and the material are held apart for the purpose of exploring  their interplay’.

Comparing and contrasting agential and critical realism, they both agree reality exist apart from how human perceive it. Also, they agree on the ontological nature of realism and they acknowledge a great deal of empirical constructivism. In contrast they extremely differ in conceptualization of interpenetration (Leonardi 2013). For instance with agential realism entanglement is not a simple intertwining of separate entities but it’s a lack of independence and self-contained existence. Whereas critical realist would argue social and material are separate entities brought into relationship with one another and appear to be inseparable through human activity over time. This difference has lots of practical consequence for instance; critical realist can talk of technology while agential realist cannot.

Furthermore, critical realist i.e. Mutch and Leonardi claim that they can bring time into analysis of sociomaterial. Considering time in analyses is important, as certain circumstances are more enduring and resilient to change than other. For instance, Leonardi (2013) considers time by using the term imbrication to explain how social and material come together to form sociomateriality in that social agency is imbricated with material agency over time. In contrast the agential realist argue that social and material are inherently inseparable and their practices are enacted in the intra-action and thus they argue for cuts (agential cuts). And agential cuts can be conducted at any point and will have different results depending on where the cuts have happen and to agential realist there is no bad or good cut. In words ofLeonardi (2013), ‘An agential realist stance on sociomateriality exacerbates the problem of being able to explain why certain actions occur when they do because it focuses so much on how certain actions are performed in practice. Consequently, it becomes difficult for the analyst to understand what role the sociomaterial plays in the constitution and perpetuation of organizations. By introducing time and by focusing on the process of the imbrication of agencies through it, the critical realist perspective provides better explanation of organizing as a process (rather than simply action) and, consequently, more points of articulation with extant theories of organization’.

According to Leonardi (2013) ‘when one adopts critical realism as a foundation for the study of sociomateriality they are directed to explain process and the ways in which the sociomateriality emerges and presents itself as indivisible, holistic, and a natural state of affairs. Consequently, analysts are given their methodological marching orders: explain how and why imbrication occurs, why certain practices come to take on the shape they do, and why people think those practices had to occur as they did. Here there are clear methodological implications. Researchers need to specify what they mean by “social” and “material.” They need to present mechanisms by which imbrication occurs. They need to show the role actors play in the creation of the sociomaterial over time. And, they need to explore what actors do with a world that presents itself as though it were "sociomaterial". They also need to examine how people come to understand, interpret and deal with the materiality that pre-exists their interaction with technology and how this existing materiality becomes imbricated with the social contexts into which it is introduced. By fleshing out these processes, scholars will be in a strong position to be able to talk about the role that materiality plays in organizational life without resorting to deterministic thinking and without treating materiality as though it does not exist on its own. They will also be well poised to understand the role that materiality plays in the ongoing process of organizing and the constitution of organization over time.

As well, agential realism provides ontological position and theoretical apparatus of examining entanglement and enactment, which offers a conceptual and analytical power for making sense of the world and its possibilities in new ways.   For example Scott and Orlikowski (2013)counters Mutch (2013) criticism by arguing, ‘TripAdvisor distinguishes itself on its website as: “… the most popular and largest travel community in the world, with … 36 million marketable members.” This phenomenon can be investigated from multiple perspectives, but poses challenges for approaches that are premised on identifying bounded social systems and technologies with discrete properties. In particular, where would they locate “36 million marketable members,” given that there is no such thing as “marketable members” separate from networks, relational databases and algorithms? A sociomaterial perspective would focus on the specific details of the apparatus that produces “marketable members” through the entangling of 60 postings/min, relational databases, algorithms, and multiple revenue opportunities in Internet-worked economies’. Thus with this example one can note that agential realism intends to break with the dichotomy established by substantial realism and social constructivism, both of which agree to separatism and representationalism. By breaking the dichotomy established with substantial theories the agential realism focus on practices that are not task undertaken by people in roles but they are social practices enacted with technical that instantaneously constitute and organise phenomena.

Lastly,  there are several social media studies that have adopted sociomaterial perspective in their analysis, two of them used agential realism.  These are conducted by Scott and Orlikowski in the travel sector the first one Scott and Orlikowski (2012) examined the materialisation of social media in travel sector and the second oneScott and Orlikowski (2014) examined performing anonymity through social media in hotel evaluation. These studies are  significant as they are illustration of  social media studies that adopted sociomaterial perspective with agential realism as philosophical foundation. On the other hand, there are few social media studies that use sociomaterial perspective footed on critical realism, most of them they go under the banner of affordance theory these are: First, Treem and Leonardi (2012)  explored the affordance of social media to organisation and found out they were four affordance that were simultaneously and consistently afforded by social media which were not afforded by previous form of IT, the affordances are visibility, editability, persistence and association. Second, Cabiddu et al  (2014) explored affordance of social media that enable customer engagement in tourism sector to find out social media allows persistent engagement, customized engagement and triggered engagement. And finally,Mohajerani et al (2015)  used the affordance theory to explore the role of social media in importing logics across social  context. All this studies underscore the importance of sociomaterial perspective enriching our understanding of using agential or critical realism as philosophical background for understanding social media phenomena in organisation context. The table below provides a summary of these studies

Theoretical lens



Agential realism

Critical Realism


strong’ sociomateriality




  1. Scott, S.V. and Orlikowski, W.J., 2012. Reconfiguring relations of accountability: Materialization of social media in the travel sector.
  2. Scott, S.V. and Orlikowski, W.J., 2014. Entanglements in practice: performing anonymity through social media

Note: Mutch (2013) suggested  this approach, unfortunately there is no social media study that has used this approach

  1. Treem, J.W. and Leonardi, P.M., 2012. Social media use in organizations: Exploring the affordances of visibility, editability, persistence, and association
  2. Cabiddu, F.,  Carlo, M.D. and Piccoli, G., 2014. Social media affordances: Enabling customer engagement
  3. Mohajerani, A.,  Baptista, J. and Nandhakumar, J., 2015. Exploring the role of social media in importing logics across social contexts: The case of IT SMEs in Iran.



In conclusion, this paper has highlighted the discussion that is centred on sociomateriality, an approach that is considered suitable for studying social media, which has great influence of both technology and social aspects. Social media studies highlighted above stand as evidence that indicate sociomaterial perspective as considerable lens of understanding the implication of social media within organisation.  The theoretical foundation agential and critical realism have similarities and differences which are worth understanding as the have wide implication on methodological approach and results. Conclusively, comparing both foundation this paper does not favour one foundation over the other as appropriate foundation of sociomateriality as it acknowledges the role of both foundations in examining IS phenomena but from different perspectives with the end result of increasing our understanding of technology and organisation since both agential and critical realism agree that reality exist apart from how human perceive it.


BARAD, K., 2003. Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter. Signs, 28 (3), 801-831.

CABIDDU, F.,  CARLO, M.D. and PICCOLI, G., 2014. Social media affordances: Enabling customer engagement. Annals of Tourism Research, 48 (0), 175-192.


KAUTZ, K. and JENSEN, T.B., 2013. Sociomateriality at the royal court of IS: A jester's monologue. Information and Organization, 23 (1), 15-27.

LEONARDI, P.M., 2013. Theoretical foundations for the study of sociomateriality.Information and Organization, 23 (2), 59-76.

MOHAJERANI, A.,  BAPTISTA, J. and NANDHAKUMAR, J., 2015. Exploring the role of social media in importing logics across social contexts: The case of IT SMEs in Iran.Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 95, 16-31.

MUTCH, A., 2013. Sociomateriality — Taking the wrong turning? Information and Organization, 23 (1), 28-40.

ORLIKOWSKI, W.J., 2007. Sociomaterial practices: Exploring technology at work.Organization Studies, 28 (9), 1435-1448.

SCOTT, S.V. and ORLIKOWSKI, W.J., 2014. Entanglements in practice: performing anonymity through social media.

SCOTT, S.V. and ORLIKOWSKI, W.J., 2013. Sociomateriality - taking the wrong turning? A response to Mutch. Information and Organization, 23 (2), 77-80.

SCOTT, S.V. and ORLIKOWSKI, W.J., 2012. Reconfiguring relations of accountability: Materialization of social media in the travel sector. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 37 (1), 26-40.

TREEM, J.W. and LEONARDI, P.M., 2012. Social media use in organizations: Exploring the affordances of visibility, editability, persistence, and association. Communication Yearbook, 36, 143-189.