Fourth-Generation Activity Theory: An Integrative Literature Review and Implications for Professional Communication
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Activity theory in its “third generation” (3GAT) has been used extensively to analyze case studies in professional communication and related fields such as information systems, workforce education, and computer-supported cooperative work. Yet 3GAT has known limits, and these limits are making it difficult to model, assess, and make recommendations for such cases. In this paper, we discuss these limitations, then overview and synthesize recent research pointing to a fourth generation of activity (4GAT). We find that this literature has two main foci: (1) Peer and social production and (2) Networked organization of labor and production. We conclude by offering implications for professional communication.