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Informatization (rarely also informatization ) generally describes a social process of generating and using information in order to be able to generate further information from it.

The essence of informatization consists in transferring information as an inherently ideal element that can be assigned to the activity of certain subjects into a material object of cooperative human activity. Usually the term is used with a more specific meaning: penetration of all areas of society with information and communication technology , especially with computers and the Internet .


The term computerization was coined in 1979 by Simon Nora (1921–2006) and Alain Minc .

The term was initially rejected by computer scientists and social scientists alike, but gained acceptance in the scientific discourse in the 1980s. In the 1990s, A. Baukrowitz, A. Boes and R. Schmiede developed a general term for informatization that includes the advance of computers and the Internet as a special case.

Informatization is often associated with a profound restructuring of society into the information society , the knowledge society , informational capitalism , etc.


The history of informatization begins long before the first computer and is closely related to the history of organizations . Milestones in the systematic use of information to generate further information are, for example, double bookkeeping or the dissemination of construction drawings and parts lists . In particular in economic organizations (companies) there was already a considerable amount of systematically used materialized information at the beginning of the 20th century. It allowed z. B. General Motors a control of the production processes "purely according to the numbers" ( Alfred P. Sloan ).

Another milestone in computerization is the introduction of the computer, which is initially part of the logic of the existing information systems and is used for the automatic processing of highly standardized mass data. In the course of the 1970s and 1980s, attempts were made to reflect all essential aspects of real economic processes on the information level. Computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) is a model for this phase of computerization . Such models are still in the tradition of the completion of Fordism or Taylorism . But as a result, computerization takes a different development. The emergence of the internet marks a turning point.

The Internet makes the already computerized structures of organizations potentially connectable to the use of information in the (private) world and vice versa. In conjunction with the expansion of the personal computer in the population, a global, uniform medium is emerging that can integrate information processing processes from very different areas of society. The new information systems basically enable and promote a dialogical and reflexive handling of information. This goes hand in hand with a tendency to break down rigid hierarchical relationships (e.g. between planning and execution) and to form networks .


  • Simon Nora , Alain Minc : The computerization of society . Frankfurt am Main, New York 1979, ISBN 3-593-32495-4 .
  • Gernot Wersig : Informatization and Society. How do we cope with the new information and communication technologies . Munich 1983, ISBN 3-598-10503-7 .
  • Rudi Schmiede: Virtual working worlds. Work, production and the subject in the "information society" . Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-89404-424-1 . ( online )
  • Andreas Boes: Informatization . In: SOFI , IAB , ISF , INIFES (ed.): Reporting on socio-economic development in Germany - work and ways of life . Wiesbaden 2005, ISBN 3-531-14316-6 , pp. 211-244.
  • A. Baukrowitz, T. Berker, A. Boes, S. Pfeiffer, R. Schmiede, M. Will (eds.): Computerization of work - society in transition . Berlin 2006, ISBN 978-3-89404-547-0 .
  • Pfeiffer, Sabine (2004): Working capacity. A key to the analysis of (reflexive) informatization. Wiesbaden: Verlag Sozialwissenschaften Link

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