Using activity theory as a supplement to genre studies, this article explores a case of the disintegration of a traditional engineering firm. It focuses on the causes of such disintegration and the role of different types of communication in serving as sites where contradictions can be brought to visibility and resolution. The authors' goal is both to show the power of activity theory in illuminating issues of tension, contradiction, and dissonance that lead to the breakup of the original organization into two separate firms and point to fundamental differences in the cultures of traditional engineering firms and software design enterprises.

Journal of Business and Technical Communication
Carleton University

Artemeva, N, & Freedman, A. (Aviva). (2001). "Just the Boys Playing on Computers": An Activity Theory Analysis of Differences in the Cultures of Two Engineering Firms. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 15(2), 164–194.