A discussion is presented of the different standpoints which, at
the beginning of the eighties, have brought forth prototyping as a
strategy. The different lines of development are sketched, and the
various trends are examined. An examination is made of the following
topics: (1) the history of prototyping and the software crises, (2)
prototyping terminology, (3) trends that have supported prototyping, (4)
methods in line with the idea of prototyping, (5) areas of research and
development that will help to promote and develop prototyping, and (6)
integrating prototyping into the concept of evolutionary systems
There is currently a paucity of literature focusing on the relationship between the actions of staff members, who perpetrate some form of computer abuse, and the organisational environment in which such actions take place. A greater understanding of such a relationship may complement existing security practices by possibly highlighting new areas for safeguard implementation. To help facilitate a greater understanding of the offender/environment dynamic, this paper assesses the feasibility of applying criminological theory to the IS security context. More specifically, three theories are advanced, which focus on the offender’s behaviour in a criminal setting. Drawing on an account of the Barings Bank collapse, events highlighted in the case study are used to assess whether concepts central to the theories are supported by the data. It is noted that while one of the theories is to be found wanting in terms of conceptual sophistication, the case can be made for the further exploration of applying all three in the IS security context.
The design of viable, small-scale community spaces on the Net is often a hit-or-miss affair. To better understand promising approaches in this design space, we go back in time to examine an earlier community technology. We present a field study of The Castle, a dialup bulletin board system, that focuses on Disneyland. As a "gathering place for Disney enthusiasts," The Castle is a fascinating, albeit eccentric, online community. The Castle's centrality in the fans' interest network allows it to function as a collecting point. Here people find similar enthusiasts and even those with insider knowledge. Yet, because of the cost structure of dialup access (an accidental side-effect of the technology), participants are overwhelmingly geographically local which had useful consequences for social maintenance. We argue that this geographical locality and centrality of interest allows The Castle to thrive. Most importantly, however, the combination of the two together creates a powerful social dynamic which has been lost in most contemporary online communities.
this paper. Our analysis of contradictions leads us to propose alternative theoretical approaches to BPR research and practice. Theories that employ a "logic of contradiction" are likely to offer greater insight into contradictory practices such as BPR, as well as the more general issue of organizational change (Ford and Ford, 1994; Poole and Van de Ven, 1989; Robey, 1995; Van de Ven and Poole, 1995). Thus, rather than adding to the criticism of BPR, we seek to understand BPR's logical inconsistencies and contradictory results. We argue that a better theoretical understanding can improve both empirical research on BPR's implications for organizational performance and, ultimately, applied re-engineering efforts
Organizations are looking to augment their memories through information technologies. Organizational and group memories can include a wide variety of materials, including documents, rationales for decisions, formal descriptions of procedures, and so on. This paper discusses findings from case studies of six organizations using or attempting to use the Answer Garden, a type of organizational memory system. Two major issues in the implementation of such systems are examined: (1) the gap between the idealized definition of organizational memory and the constrained realities of organizational life, and (2) the effects of reducing contextual information in computer-based memory.
This paper examines the use of mobile telephones by teens in Norway. The data for this study is based on two sources; first I draw on qualitative interviews with a sample of 12 families with teens in the greater Oslo area. In addition, I use a quantitative study of a national sample of 1000 randomly selected teens. This material was gathered in the summer and fall of 1997. The data shows that it is boys, most often those who work, that own mobile telephones. The qualitative analysis shows that the motifs for owning mobile telephones are accessibility, safety and micro-coordination. In addition, the mobile telephone serves as a symbol of emancipation. Metaphors surrounding the telephone allow for discussions of status construction and identification. 1
Examines sources of control over information system development decisions. Although past research has examined sources of internal organizational control that were solely determined by technical/rational goals, this article analyzes the symbolic role of social institutions in exerting control over system development decisions. Three regulatory mechanisms, developed by institutional theorists, are used to explain how specific social institutions exert their control. The mechanisms of coercive isomorphism, mimetic isomorphism and normative isomorphism help illustrate the types of social forces that enhance similarity of systems across organizations. Three conditions also are identified which moderate these effects: dependence on external institutions having control over an organization’s resources; unclear performance standards for system development; and interaction patterns during development. These conditions imply that social control would differ greatly according to whether the major influences on the process of system development arise from within the organization or are imposed from external institutions. The examination of symbolic/institutional forces in system development is useful in both the evaluation of system effectiveness and the assessment of the “appropriateness” of managerial interventions in the process. Future research should empirically examine these manifestations of social control and their influence on system development decisions.
Reviews the influence of Giddens’ structuration theory on information technology and implementation studies, highlighting how the interaction between the technology and the wider social setting have often been neglected. Offers Giddens’ conception of plural structural rules and resources as a possible framework for analyzing this interaction. Uses the proposed framework to analyze the introduction of computers into an agro-industrial organization in a less-developed country. Shows that different social and organizational conditions influence the process of IT implementation, but at the same time this process reinforces or transforms the structural configurations over time. Thus, highlights the role that IT plays in social setting transformation.
Based on recent reviews regarding its use in information systems (IS) studies, this paper argues that action research is still not well recognized by IS researchers and mainstream IS journals especially in North America. To make the situation worse, existing criteria used to assess the quality of action research studies are found to be inadequate when applied to IS. In order to advance its understanding and use by IS researchers and practitioners, the IS action research framework proposed recently by Lau is refined and presented as a set of guidelines in this paper. The implications of this refined framework on IS research and practice are discussed.
In recent years, computer-aided software engineering tools (CASE) have emerged to provide automation support to the software development process. Such automation is a revolutionary progress which promises dramatic improvement in software quality and productivity. However, despite such promises, CASE tools have not proved to be effective in some organizations owing to the fact that far fewer efforts are expended by organizations on evaluation for selection and introduction of appropriate CASE tools. Proposes a conceptual model on CASE environment that is assembled from two distinct but related processes : “CASE selection” and “CASE adoption”. Further argues that CASE adoption process will be affected if an organization fails to select appropriate CASE tools. Therefore, the success of CASE adoption is very much dependent on the process of CASE selection. Moreover, there is also a possibility that even a suitable CASE tool may not contribute positively, if it is not adopted systematically. Thus, if the CASE adoption fails then a CASE environment would not function. Against this background, cites two case studies describing the experiences of two organizations that adopted a particular brand of front-end CASE tool. One organization was successful in introducing the tool, and experienced considerable improvement in quality and productivity. Conversely, the same CASE tool failed to achieve its purpose in another organization. In the light of the model, further describes why and how CASE failed in one organization, and was considered successful in another. Finally, also highlights the lessons learned from their experiences.
A major area of global knowledge management is in the practice of academic research. Studies how the Internet was used to support knowledge management in six non-corporate research organisations in sub-Saharan Africa. For knowledge acquisition, abstract and article databases and field-specific Web sites were considered the most important services. For knowledge transfer, e-mail, and especially e-mail attachments, were considered crucial in overcoming the slowness of other means of communication. For knowledge application, communication with collaborators and publishers helped bring African research communities more visibility. Despite limited availability and infrastructure problems, some researchers had made headway in using the Internet to improve acquisition and transfer of knowledge, but not knowledge storage. Researchers in other areas of the globe may benefit from a fuller understanding of the issues and challenges facing their sub-Saharan colleagues as an important step towards improving collaboration and knowledge sharing.
Purpose – The purpose of this article is to understand the relationship between emotional salience and workplace events related to technology change by using a combination of key features of two popular psychological theories – regulatory focus theory and affective events theory – to view the change process in diverse settings. Design/methodology/approach – This paper is based on analysis of 18 months of qualitative interview data (n=52 respondents) collected before, during and after the introduction of three different new technologies in three organizations – a hospital, a manufacturing facility, and a psychological counseling center. The mixed methods approach combined descriptive case studies and a structured coding approach derived from a synthesis of the two theories with which the transition processes at each organization were examined. Findings – Employees with a so-called promotion-focused orientation were more likely to accept an IT change and the events related to it. Organizational cultures and the staging of events play a role in individuals' affective reactions and behavior. The use of the framework is promising for illuminating the role of emotions, the timing of change events, and subsequent behavior in response to organizational change. Research limitations/implications – The variety of types of organizations and job types represented, as well as the types of IT change proposed in each, provides a rich sample of diverse motivations and scenarios. Further development of the relationships between the timing of organizational events and regulatory focus is needed. Practical implications – The proposed framework suggests a shift in emphasis away from beliefs and towards emotionally relevant events. The findings suggest consideration of two distinct motivational aspects of both new and old technology. A peak in emotional events related to training indicates that an organization must actively manage how the plans, strategies, and communications with regard to training affect workers' beliefs and expectations. Originality/value – The paper highlights how an emphasis on emotionally relevant events and attention to the regulatory focus involved in interpretation of those events could provide the basis for new approaches to organizational interventions. Interventions should focus on facilitating situations where individuals can frame relevant transition events with a promotion focus.
In the last decade, information technology has proven to be the major enabler that has helped multinational corporations to integrate their worldwide operations. However, studies show that many of these foreign subsidiaries, especially in less-developed countries, under-utilize their information systems, thus not making a significant contribution in improving the performance of organizations. Previous research, which investigated the factors that motivated individuals in accepting information technology, were conducted in developed countries. Since less-developed countries differ culturally from developed countries, it is important to identify the factors which motivate individuals in these countries to accept as well as use information technology. This study seeks to investigate this issue. A comprehensive questionnaire on microcomputer acceptance and its resulting impact was collected from 88 users in six banks in Nigeria. The results suggest that social pressure is an important factor affecting microcomputer usage.
Purpose – This paper seeks to describe a deep investigation of the phenomenon of internet engagement amongst older people. The likelihood of internet engagement has been shown in previous work to rapidly decrease with age, and patterns of disengagement are most pronounced amongst older people. Design/methodology/approach – The study comprises a qualitative investigation consisting of observation and interviews conducted within a programme of internet literacy workshops funded by the Welsh Assembly Government. Findings – The reflection of previous research with data collected has led to the development of a model of older people's internet engagement. This model helps us better understand the context for patterns of engagement and disengagement with the internet. Practical implications – The model of internet engagement is used to highlight a number of strategies that should be considered in future policy intervention in the area of digital inclusion. Originality/value – The model described offers a more sophisticated instrument for understanding the issue of the digital divide amongst this excluded group and potentially may be applied more generally in understanding the complex nature of this issue.
Purpose – This paper aims to determine how trust and perceptions shape uses of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in public access venues (libraries, telecentres, and cybercafés) in 25 developing countries around the world. Design/methodology/approach – As part of a global study conducted by the Technology & Social Change Group at the University of Washington, local research teams conducted surveys, site visits, and interviews of over 25,000 respondents in different types of public access venues in the selected countries, using a shared research design and analytical framework. Findings – The use of public access venues is shaped by the following trust factors: safety concerns, relevance of the information, reputation of the institution, and users' perceptions of how “cool” these venues are. While libraries tend to be trusted as most reputable, telecentres tend to be trusted as most relevant to meet local needs, and cybercafés tend to be perceived as most “cool”. Research limitations/implications – The paper is limited by its descriptive and not predictive nature, and is not based on a statistically representative sample of the population. Practical implications – The insight presented in this paper can help inform policy decisions about public access initiatives, and inform future research to better understand the causes and consequences of trust in public access ICT. Understanding these perceptions helps gain a more nuanced understanding of the way services are provided in venues that offer public access to ICT. Originality/value – This paper is novel as it covers public access to ICT in 25 developing countries across different types of venues, using a shared design and methodological approach. A study of this magnitude has never been done before. The findings provide valuable insight into understanding how people trust different types of public access ICT venues.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), companies must provide customers with disabilities access to their “physical” stores. With the advent of the pure Web store, some wonder if the ADA will extend into “cyberspace”. So, are companies ready? This study assesses Web sites to determine their readiness. Results reveal that only 9 percent of the sites have accessible home pages.
Group support systems (GSS), designed primarily for meeting support, are being increasingly used for learning activities. In this paper action research is applied to explore how a GSS can enrich the training of police officers. A series of five sessions conducted over the course of five months provided substantial data that informed the research methodology, the learning experience of the officers and the relative value of GSS. The use of an AR philosophy enabled the facilitation of the sessions to be tailored so as to meet the on-going needs of the officers in a precise and focused manner, with the result that their learning effectiveness increased as the sessions proceeded. A candid evaluation of both GSS and AR, as experienced in this context, is offered, while the issue of rigor in AR is examined.
Discusses the use of information technology to facilitate communication and collaboration. In this action research project a groupware product called Lotus NotesTM was implemented to facilitate communication and collaboration amongst the senior management team. Although there was a real need for change, and the project received strong support from senior management on the basis that it would enable radical changes in coordination within the workgroup, these radical changes did not occur. The authors analyse the reasons for failure, and suggest that the project failed because of institutional forces which inhibited dramatic changes in work habits.
Discusses the role and problems of the socio-technical action researcher at different stages of a project. It is based on the author’s personal experience when using action research as a method for assisting the successful democratic design and implementation of information systems.
Keywords Information systems, Research, Methodology, Action research
Action research (AR) is not without its critics, and those who reject some of the
paradigmatic assumptions embodied in AR maintain that AR is little more than consultancy,
that it is impossible to establish causal relationships, that it is difficult to generalize from AR
studies, that there is a risk of researcher bias, and that generally speaking, it lacks some of the
key qualities that are normally associated with rigorous research. The authors are sensitive to
such criticisms, for although they are committed action researchers, they have elsewhere
voiced their concerns about the quality of AR practice in the field of information systems. The
authors argue that part of the issue concerns the way in which we currently conceptualize AR.
In this article, the argument for a deeper and more reflective analysis of the meaning and full
implications of AR is developed, culminating in a model of AR being developed that explicitly
includes both a problem solving interest cycle and a research interest cycle. Important
implications of this new model are articulated, with examples to illustrate these points being
drawn from a real-life AR study.
Action research (AR), which emphasises collaboration between researchers and practitioners, is a qualitative research method that has much potential for the information systems (IS) field. AR studies of IS phenomena are now beginning to be published in the IS research literature. However, the rigour of many AR studies in IS can be improved. When AR has been published, the findings have frequently been emphasised at the expense of the process. In this article, we look at the process in AR projects, and look at some of the key choices and alternatives in controlling AR. We discuss three aspects of control: the procedures for initiating an AR project, those for determining authority within the project, and the degree of formalisation. We analyse seven recent AR projects in IS and from this analysis distil recommendations for determining these control structures.
– Proposes the concept of rhetorical closure to address the phenomenon of pervasive IT “fashions”. Suggests that prevailing discourses surrounding IT are dominated by the rhetoric of closure and that such closure, although mutually constructed by suppliers, consultants and managers, has had several adverse consequences in terms of organizational change and results. Stimulates a critical thinking regarding the persistence of successive waves of new IT fashions and the consequences of closure on practice.
– Theoretical framework informed by political views within the social shaping school combined with Habermas' theory of communicative action. Illustration of the argument is based on 22 semi‐structured interviews (senior practitioners from client‐firms, software suppliers and consulting‐firms working on ERP projects).
– Outlines the nature of the “chain reaction” produced by rhetorical closure from individual practices to the segment level. Identifies occasions for breaking down rhetorical closure at the three levels of analysis. At the individual level, opportunities are related to daily users' practices. At the organizational level, opportunities are related to ongoing organizational decisions and negotiations regarding IT adoption. At the segment level, opportunities are related to forming coalitions, networks and groups of users.
– Adopts an original perspective, examining the concept of rhetorical closure from a combination of two approaches: social shaping of technology and communicative action theory. Connects different types of closure to different types of rationality, and recognizes the specific validity claims underlying them. Calls into question current decision‐making processes that sustain IT pervasiveness and taken‐for‐granted assumptions of inevitability associated with new IT fashions.
Begins by defining the quality of a software system in terms of its fitness for use, and goes on to outline the idea of dynamic quality management (DQM), which is based on a quality triangle. Describes a strategy of achieving software quality by using the software-technical dimension and the organizational dimension. To take both dimensions into account, DQM suggests three dimensional links – quality principles, action programmes and measurement schemata. Demonstrates these ideas using a case study of a Swiss bank, and presents selected findings of the study.
In one particular action research (AR) methodology, information systems prototyping (ISP), the goals are to involve the researcher in a facilitative and collaborative role with stakeholders in the development of an information system that satisfies their collective needs. But what happens when political and structural conflict and coercive action erupts? This article features an AR case, where the development of an electronic patient record in a heart clinic, resulted in a period of intense structural conflict, and the dismissal of an organizational member. Further analysis suggests that four factors can explain these unusual outcomes and their relationship with the use of an ISP method. These include: the specification of measures and perceptions of success within the AR method (goals); general problems with the AR methodology and/or its clear delineation (processes); problems in using a particular AR methodology in a specific time and place (contingency); and problems with the researcher’s implementation of the AR processes (implementation). The study also highlights a number of areas for development of ISP.
– This paper is intended to pay tribute to the inspiration provided by Rob Kling by showing how his ideas about social informatics in general and the use of web models in particular, have helped us to formulate and develop our own work in the field of information systems development methods.
– A conceptual discussion and approach are taken.
– Illustrates how Kling's advocacy of the need for a more holistic form of explanation of the behaviour of what he (and Walt Scacchi) termed “computer resources” gave shape to ideas emerging from others' action research studies at that time, and how his attempts to set the agenda for the emerging field of Social Informatics have informed subsequent developments in work in the area of methodological inquiry.
– Provides an evaluation of Kling's pioneering and inspirational work on information and communication technologies.
Purpose – To provide a social-theoretic framework which explains how e-commerce affects social conditions, such as availability of information and equality of access to information, influences actors' behavior, shapes e-commerce business models, and in turn impacts industry structure. Design/methodology/approach – Empirical investigation based on one-hour interviews with owners/managers of nine vehicle dealerships and six vehicle buyers in a large US metropolitan region. The hermeneutic method of understanding was used, involving a circular process from research design and attentiveness to data, to data collection and interpretation. This circular process exemplified the dialectic relationship between the theoretical framework (derived from Habermas's Theory of Communicative Action) and empirical data, through which interpretation and theoretical explanations grounded in the data emerged. Findings – Demonstrates that e-commerce gives rise to increasing competition among the dealers, decreasing prices and migration of competition to price, decreasing profitability of the average dealer, and erosion of traditional sources of competitive advantage. Moreover, e-commerce emancipates and empowers vehicle purchasers while reducing the power of automobile dealers. Research limitations/implications – The research findings focus on the effects of e-commerce on the automobile distribution industry. However, one could argue that a number of the findings extend to other retailing-based industries. Practical implications – The paper illustrates a research methodology that may be useful to study other e-commerce applications. Originality/value – This paper illustrates the application of Habermas's Theory of Communicative Action to studying the effect of e-commerce.
Effective meeting facilitation is recognised as a critical factor in group support systems (GSS) use but relatively little is known about how organisations can train and develop their “electronic meeting facilitators”. This article describes an action learning (AL) approach to the training of GSS facilitators. It begins with a description of the three schools of AL. The application of the “experiential” school of AL in GSS facilitation training is then explained. Finally, the article describes some lessons learned for both practitioners and researchers.
Purpose – An ensemble is an intermediate unit of work between action and activity in the hierarchical framework proposed by classical activity theory. Ensembles are the mid-level of activity, offering more flexibility than objects, but more purposeful structure than actions. The paper aims to introduce the notion of ensembles to understand the way object-related activities are instantiated in practice. Design/methodology/approach – The paper presents an analysis of the practices of professional information workers in two different companies using direct and systematic observation of human behavior. It also provides an analysis and discussion of the activity theory literature and how it has been applied in areas such as human-computer interaction and computer-supported collaborative work. Findings – The authors illustrate the relevance of the notion of ensembles for activity theory and suggest some benefits of this conceptualization for analyzing human work in areas such as human-computer interaction and computer-supported collaborative work. Research limitations/implications – The notion of ensembles can be useful for the development of a computing infrastructure oriented to more effectively supporting work activities. Originality/value – The paper shows that the value of the notion of ensembles is to close a conceptual gulf not adequately addressed in activity theory, and to understand the practical aspects of the instantiation of objects over time.
– This paper seeks to reflect on the importance of surprise in qualitative research on information‐technology initiatives. It also aims to consider how the use of social theory in the context of surprise can help to shape and guide field methods, data transformation, and substantive findings.
– The discussion is personal and reflective. The paper considers the significance of surprise surrounding events within two of the authors' own research projects. It also reports on a perusal of the literature for explicit treatments of surprise.
– Surprise in qualitative research is twofold. First, the research subjects experience surprise; indeed, surprise appears to be quite prevalent in IT‐related projects. Second, researchers too can be surprised in the course of their own work. Where these two kinds of surprise come together, one can find especially fruitful occasions for insight. In the authors' own projects, the element of surprise helped establish their respective commitments to actor‐network theory (ANT) as an effective approach for recognizing and understanding the crucial events in the emergence and evolution of information systems projects. Based on a literature search, the paper can add a third category of surprise to the first two: the authors' surprise at finding that surprise, despite its practical prevalence, remains largely unrecognized in information systems research.
– The value of the paper lies in calling forth the element of surprise as an important kind of research event that deserves qualitative researchers' explicit attention. It also points toward the usefulness of social theory in systematizing the researcher's response to surprise.
Purpose – This paper seeks to use actor network theory (ANT) to examine the different phases – i.e. translation process – of an information and communication technology (ICT) initiative intended to bring development to underserved rural communities in the Peruvian Andes by providing access to computers and the internet. Design/methodology/approach – The paper employs a holistic-multiple case study based on cross-sectional data collected between July and November 2005 by means of in-depth interviews, field notes and photographs gathered in eight rural communities in Peru, plus demographic data and background reports obtained from the sponsor of an ICT for development (ICT4D) project. The collected data are analysed through the lens of ANT. Findings – The ANT analysis dissects the history of the translations of the ICT4D project. ANT analytic dimensions of convergence and devices afford a great deal of insight into the underlying anatomy of the project and its assumptions. The study shows that when actors' interests are not aligned and the network procedures defined by the ICT4D initiative sponsors are unfamiliar to local people, the network cannot be established. Practical implications – Since ICT4D projects invariably superimpose technological networks over existing networks, ANT analytic dimensions do provide some unique and useful understandings for such projects. ANT overall affords visibility of the actions of both humans and non-humans, and their disparate goals. The focus on the alignment of disparate goals is particularly important in ICT4D research, where the recipients need to be engaged in a different way. Often in ICT4D projects, participants are using ICT for the first time, and there is no compulsion for them to do so. So the process of translation is very important in an ICT4D context; while there are many ways to engage participants, ANT gives particular insight into how that process might play out. Originality/value – The paper demonstrates the usefulness of ANT's concepts for analysing a rural telecentre project and itemises how the use of each ANT analytical concept might contribute to ICT4D research.
In this editorial introduction Allen Lee's definition of the information systems (IS) field is taken as the starting point: “Research in the information systems field examines more than just the technological system, or just the social system, or even the two systems side by side; in addition, it investigates the phenomena that emerge when the two interact” (Lee, A. “Editorial”, MISQ, Vol. 25, No. 1, 2001, p. iii). By emphasizing the last part of this, it is argued that actor-network theory (ANT) can provide IS research with unique and very powerful tools to help us overcome the current poor understanding of the information technology (IT) artifact (Orlikowski, W. and Iacono, S., “Research commentary: desperately seeking the ‘IT’ in IT research – a call for theorizing the IT artifact”, Information Systems Research, Vol. 10 No. 2, 2001, pp. 121-34). These tools include a broad range of concepts describing the interwoven relationships between the social.
– This paper seeks to provide insights into the process of applying Lamb & Kling's user associal actor model as an institutional lens to analyse data and to generate findings of IS practice.
– The paper provides an example from a recently published research project why the social actor model was chosen, and an application of how the model was operationalised in data collection and analysis.
– The paper provides two illustrations of theorising the social actor model at different levels: at an elementary level by using instantiation to map the model's constructs to a match in the transcript text; and at a higher level where the model enabled the paper to tie together a number of individual phenomena to construct a broader higher‐level schema.
– As the social actor model is relatively new, and few guidelines or examples exist, the paper provides rich insights into the difficulties with the application of this model and a solution for coping with these so that other researchers can read of an example that may be similar to their own and therefore guide their work.
This study investigates the potential of actor-network theory (ANT) for theory development on information technology project escalation, a pervasive problem in contemporary organizations. In so doing, the study aims to contribute to the current dialogue on the potential of ANT in the information systems field. While escalation theory has been used to study “runaway” IT projects, two distinct limitations suggest a potential of using ANT: First, there is a need for research that builds process theory on escalation of IT projects. Second, the role of technology as an important factor (or actor) in the shaping of escalation has not been examined. This paper examines a well-known case study of an IT project disaster, the computerized baggage handling system at Denver International Airport, using both escalation theory and ANT. A theory-comparative analysis then shows how each analysis contributes differently to our knowledge about dysfunctional IT projects and how the differences between the analyses mirror characteristics of the two theories. ANT is found to offer a fruitful theoretical addition to escalation research and several conceptual extensions of ANT in the context of IT project escalation are proposed: embedded actor-networks, host actor-networks, swift translation and Trojan actor-networks.
Much of IT research focuses on issues of adoption and adaptation of established technology artifacts by users and organizations and has neglected issues of how new technologies come into existence and evolve. To fill this gap, this paper depicts a complex picture of technology evolution to illustrate the development of Web browser technology. Building on actor-network theory as a basis for studying complex technology evolution processes, it explores the emergence of the browser using content analysis techniques on archival data from 1993-1998. Identifies three processes of inscribing, translating, and framing that clarify how actors acted and reacted to each other and to the emergent technological definition of the browser. This spiral development pattern incorporates complex interplay between base beliefs about what a browser is, artifacts that are the instantiation of those beliefs, evaluation routines that compare the evolving artifact to collective expectations, and strategic moves that attempt to skew the development process to someone's advantage. This approach clarifies the complex interdependence of disparate elements that over time produced the Web browser as it is known today.
The current software crisis has created a situation where organizations are faced with identified as well as hidden information systems (IS) development backlogs. IS projects are generally behind schedule and/or over budget. Even after implementation, the IS does not necessarily solve all the original problems and is very difficult and costly to use and maintain. Software development and maintenance costs represent the major component of total information technology (IT) budget. Reports on research conducted in Singapore which addresses the question concerning the identification of the skills of systems analysts. Analyses this question from three different viewpoints (interviews about “excellent” systems analyst, newspaper advertisements for systems analyst positions, and a questionnaire regarding hiring, promotion, evaluation and training criteria for systems analysts). The research suggests that there is a discrepancy between the criteria established for the initial screening of candidates and the actual process followed for selection, evaluation, training and promotion of systems analysts. This discrepancy will result in the less than optimal use of systems analyst personnel and may be a contributing factor to the current IS software crisis. While the research was conducted solely in Singapore, it is contended that the results are generally applicable because of the emergence of what is referred to as an “occupational community” of systems analysts.
Purpose – This paper seeks to understand how software systems and organisations co-evolve in practice during an IS engagement. Seeks also to argue that complex adaptive system theory (CAS) provides an excellent lens to study the motor of co-evolution due to its ability to frame the strategies and reinforcement models of actors and to illustrate this by recounting four narratives of the interaction, selection and adaptation of actors arising from a longitudinal case study of an IS engagement. Then sets out to consider how the complexity of the engagement emerges from the interrelationship of these narratives and how the adaptive behaviour of the various actors is both a response to and a driver of co-evolution within the engagement. Design/methodology/approach – An interpretive case study was undertaken to examine the implementation of a novel academic scheduling and resource allocation system at a research-intensive Australian university. The research was conducted over ten months, employing ethnographic methods and semi-structured interviews. This analysis is conducted within the theoretical framework of CAS. Findings – By analysing this case study it is demonstrated how CAS can help designers and managers of IS engagements conceptualise the attendant complexities that they encounter. It is also demonstrated how complexity within IS engagements emerges through the interactions and goal-seeking behaviour of actors employing a variety of context-bound strategies within neighbourhoods, and how the adaptive behaviour of the various actors is both a response to and a driver of co-evolution within the engagement. Originality/value – This work builds on Organization Science, Vol. 10 Nos 3 and 5, by applying CAS theory to organisational and IS research on co-evolution, where the findings are grounded in a longitudinal case study and not computational models.
The popularity and explosive growth of the Internet during the past few years have convinced many countries to take a closer look at its potential for aiding economic development. The existing literature presents an aggregate story of success, but the ways in which different countries are adopting these new technologies have received little critical attention. This empirical study of four Latin American countries - Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru - delineates a five-phase development process during which each country sustained the momentum of its evolving strategy, grew in competence to forge technological solutions, and gained access to the Internet. The four countries’ original goals changed over time, but through experience they perceived new opportunities and established evolving Internet strategies that form the bases of new technological services provided at the national level.
Purpose – The purpose of this study is to examine the factors of radio frequency identification (RFID) adoption and its continuance intention in a mandatory and in a voluntary environment leading to developing an integrated framework. Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative research approach was taken in this study. The authors conducted an extensive field study, interviewing eight organizations. Factors have been analyzed from multiple perspectives and, where possible, related with the existing literature. Findings – The findings show that along with technological, organizational, and environmental factors RFID adoption also depends on the expectations and self-efficacy. Moreover, the process of continued usage intention involves satisfaction from current use and the degree of self-efficacy. Practical implications – This study focuses on the state of the RFID adoption, current usage satisfaction, and the continuance intention of the adopters toward RFID use. This study would guide the countries with mandatory RFID policy in organizational applications. Policy makers could compare their experience with the findings of this study, evaluate the past, and find the future direction. Originality/value – This study is the first of its kind to discuss the adoption factors (in a mixed environment; mandatory as well as voluntary) and to examine the continued usage behavior together in a single platform, for the first time.
Purpose – This study seeks to develop the concept of technological embeddedness by extending the social embeddedness theory of economic actions to household computer adoption. It also aims to propose a research framework in which technological embeddedness is a key factor that influences household computer adoption. Design/methodology/approach – The US 1989-2003 Computer and Internet Use Supplements to the Current Population Surveys are used to validate the proposed research framework. Findings – The results show that technological embeddedness positively affects household computer adoption. In addition, the impact of technological embeddedness is positively moderated by household income, and this impact is particularly stronger on first-time buyers than on repeat buyers. Practical implications – The results provide important policy and managerial implications for encouraging household computer adoption and bridging the digital divide. Originality/value – The paper proposes a new concept and develops a research framework for analyzing household computer adoption and technology adoption in general.
In this paper, results are presented from a field study of individuals with disabilities who used voice recognition technology (VRT). Twenty-three individuals who were successful in the use of VRT and 17 who were unsuccessful were interviewed by the researcher. Qualitative results indicated that task-technology fit, training, the environment, and the disability limitations were the differentiating items. The ability to use the VRT for a trial period may be the major factor resulting in successful adoption of the technology.
– The ethical consumption movement is increasingly being supported by mobile web applications that enable consumers to reward ethical companies (and punish unethical ones) with their purchasing decisions. By providing company ethics information to consumers at the point of purchase with the swipe of a barcode, these applications hold the promise of an additional market mechanism for motivating companies to serve the public good. However, the degree that this potential is realized will depend on how widely such applications are adopted and diffused. This paper aims to identify design factors for such applications that theory suggests will enhance their diffusion by increasing the likelihood that the user will adopt the information these applications deliver.
– The multi‐level model incorporates dual‐process cognitive theory, social capital theory, and technical design features of the mobile technology‐enabled ethical consumption (MTEC) tool to understand factors that contribute to information adoption. In this way the paper takes a design science approach to the problem of enhancing human and societal benefit.
– The findings have identified technical design features for MTEC tools that show promise for maximizing data transparency, source credibility, and information adoption. These features also have the potential to minimize consumers' cost/effort to contribute their purchase (and non‐purchase) decision information to the associated community, increasing the quantity and frequency of such contributions.
– Market‐based mechanisms for upholding the public good hold much promise for ensuring the long‐term viability of society and the earth. Hence, the role that IT can play in establishing and supporting them demands rigorous theoretically driven models of design prior to empirical validation. Whereas design science research (DSR) is often focused on solving a business problem, this work helps to expand the domain of DSR to encompass the need to address problems of human benefit and civil society.
– During hyper‐competition, disruptive technological innovations germinate causing significant changes in software development organizations' (SDOs) knowledge. The scope and flexibility of the SDO's knowledge base increases; its volatility and the demand for efficiency grows. This creates germane needs to translate abstract knowledge into workable knowledge fast while delivering solutions. The aim of this article is to examine SDOs' responses to such learning challenges through an inductive, theory‐generating study which addresses the question: how did some SDOs successfully learn under these circumstances?
– The article takes the form of an exploratory, theory‐building case study investigating seven SDOs' web‐development activities and associated changes in their learning routines during the dot‐com boom.
– The SDOs increased their ability to learn broadly, deeply, and quickly – a learning contingency referred as “hyper‐learning” – by inventing, selecting and configuring learning routines. Two sets of learning routines enabled broad and flexible exploratory‐knowledge identification and exploratory‐knowledge assimilation: distributed gate‐keeping; and brokering of external knowledge. Likewise, two sets of learning routines enabled fast and efficient exploitative‐knowledge transformation and exploitation: simple design rules; and peer networks. The authors further observed that SDOs created systemic connections between these routines allowing for fast switching and dynamic interlacing concurrently within the same organizational sub‐units. The authors refer to this previously unidentified form of organizational learning as parallel ambidexterity.
– The study contributes to organizational learning theories as applied to SDOs by recognizing a condition where knowledge scope, flexibility, efficiency and volatility increase. It also argues a new form of ambidexterity, parallel ambidexterity, was created and implemented in response to this set of requirements. Parallel ambidexterity differs from traditional exploitative forms where SDOs focus on improving and formalizing their operational knowledge and improving efficiency. It also differs from traditional explorative forms where SDOs focus on identifying and grafting and distributing external abstract knowledge by expanding knowledge scope, flexibility. Most importantly, parallel ambidexterity differs from the widely recognized forms of sequential and structural ambidexterity because exploration and exploitation take place at the same time within the same unit in holographic ways to address volatility. Here learning outcome are applied directly and fast to the tasks for which the learning was initiated.
Purpose – The paper aims to raise the question: how can a new information technology's (IT's) early momentum toward widespread adoption and eventual institutionalization be sustained? The purpose of the paper is to examine sustaining technological momentum as a form of institutional work and entrepreneurship not widely recognized as such. Design/methodology/approach – The paper reports a case study of Business Week's special advertising section used in 2000-2004 to both exploit and help sustain the momentum of customer relationship management (CRM). Findings – The study finds that the advertisement section's producers employed it over several years to recurrently produce and disseminate credible discourse advancing CRM, incorporating models for action, and providing fresh meanings to the organizing vision for this technology so as to accentuate its progress and keep it worthy of continued attention. Most significantly, acquired momentum, while problematic to sustain, can nevertheless serve as its own resource, to be continuously reinvested in the form of public discourse which must itself be kept “lively” so that momentum may be extended. Originality/value – The paper contributes to the institutional explanation of IT diffusion by theorizing the process of sustaining technological momentum as an important institution-building task. In particular, it illuminates the contribution of entrepreneurially produced and disseminated discourse to this process and provides an illustration and analysis of specific forms of institutional work, strategies, and tactics employed in the process. Additionally, the paper suggests that institutional work for sustaining technological momentum differs in certain respects from that needed to launch a technology so as to acquire momentum in the first place.
Intranets hold great promise as “organizational Internets” to allow information sharing and collaboration across departments, functions and different information systems within an organization. Yet not much is known about how to implement intranets. We adapt a taxonomy based on institutional theory and distinguish six broad diffusion drivers that might be considered to sustain the implementation process. An exploratory field study of four intranet implementations was conducted to analyze which drivers were used and the results that were yielded. We draw several conclusions. First, all six drivers were deployed in the analyzed cases. Second, the choice of drivers varied with the level of the intranet (corporate or unit), the implementation stage, and existing organizational practices and contingencies. Third, it seems that the critical drivers are knowledge building, subsidy and mobilization in the early stages of implementation. In the later stages knowledge deployment, subsidy and innovation directives were most commonly used.
This paper seeks to highlight a poorly‐understood dimension of digital exclusion that is not related to access to information and communication technologies (ICTs), but rather to the reduction in flexibility for providing and administering public services following the implementation of an integrated e‐government system.
A case study of a project focused on reducing barriers to the delivery of driver licensing services to a remote indigenous community in Australia was undertaken and the data were analysed using Kling et al. 's socio‐technical interaction network (STIN) modelling approach.
The paper makes four recommendations to improve the licensing situation for the community that are induced from the findings. In particular the paper draws attention to the need to carefully analyse possible negative impacts of any e‐government initiative for those at the margins of society.
The paper aims to analyse the current situation as the foundation for recommending future actions. These can form the basis for subsequent interventions in the licensing situation.
This research provides an outsiders' overview of the licensing situation and recommendations for change that take account of a diversity of viewpoints and interests.
The paper contributes to our understanding of the relationship between ICTs and social exclusion in three ways. It provides a rich narrative describing the secondary impacts of integrated e‐government systems, a theoretically grounded analysis of the situation and some recommendations for addressing some of the implications at both the community level as well as calling for more careful evaluation of possible negative consequences about shifting service provision to integrated systems.
Purpose – This paper sets out to examine the use of institutional theory in information systems research. It also seeks to consider recent debates within information systems, that the field should develop its own social theories. The purpose of the paper is to demonstrate that IS researchers need to engage more fully with the institutional theory literature as the body of work is conceptually rich and is more appropriately used to analyse and understand complex social phenomena. Design/methodology/approach – Reviewing the institutionalist literature from the field of IS, the paper shows that most accounts engage in empirically testing institutionalist concepts, rather than analysing the richness of these concepts to further develop and build the theory. Findings – The paper finds that most institutionalist accounts within information systems research adopt an organisational unit of analysis as opposed to a multi-level approach which encompasses societal and individual levels. Research further shows more studies on the “effects” of institutionalism than on the “processual” accounts. Research limitations/implications – It is argued that information systems researchers need to become more aware of the wider debates within the institutional theory literature, particularly as the theory is conceptually ambiguous, yet not amenable to over-simplification as a means to achieve methodological rigour. Practical implications – The use of institutional theory offers practitioners conceptual tools and techniques for understanding complex change management scenarios relating to IS work. Originality/value – The paper contributes to the IS literature through reviewing the range of studies using institutional theory. It illustrates the narrow use of the theory adopted by the IS community and suggests that a more fruitful approach is to use a wider multi-level and multi-method approach. The paper suggests that institutional theory offers a conceptually rich lens for analysing IS themes and issues and encourages further use of the theory for IS and management research.
The recent managerial literature on the development of corporate infrastructures to deliver sophisticated and flexible IT capabilities is based on a set of assumptions concerning the role of management in strategy formulation, planning and control; the role of IT as a tool; the linkages between infrastructure and business processes; the implementation process. This paper deconstructs such assumptions by gradually enriching the conventional management agenda with new priorities stemming from other styles of taking care of infrastructures. The original, straightforward management agenda appears to be lacking: its foundations are irremediably shaken. The paper finally evokes a philosophy-based agenda, the only one valuable in the uncharted territory where the usual foundations do not deliver any longer. Such an agenda speaks a language of weak agency: releasement; dwelling with mystery; capacity to drop the tools; valuing marginal practices. Will the last agenda play a key role in coping with the information infrastructures of the next millennium?
A number of researchers have drawn attention to the way in which information systems development is an inherently political activity. Using the critical social theory of Jurgen Habermas, discusses the development of an information system in mental health. Using critical ethnography, reveals otherwise hidden agendas, power and managerial assumptions to be deeply embedded in the project. Raises broader questions about the extent to which information systems can be seen as “colonizing mechanisms”.
The author would like to thank the participants of the OMS project for their time and insights in agile development practice. The author is also indebted to Ralf Klischewski who was a member of the original interview team and to Sabine Matook (neé Zumpe) who performed parts of the data analysis with the author as well as to Helen Sharp who directed the author's attention to the body of knowledge and provided literature which documents empirical studies of user participation in agile development. The guest editors and reviewers of this special issue provided valuable feedback on earlier versions of this manuscript, which helped clarify the relation between the empirical findings and their theoretical grounding.
Purpose – The paper seeks to explore the impact of events in Software Process Improvement (SPI) environments based on a longitudinal study of a requirements management initiative at Ericsson. Design/methodology/approach – The paper presents the initiative from three perspectives – the improvement initiative, the targeted software practices, and the environment. Findings – SPI initiatives easily get interrupted, are side-tracked, and progress slowly due to changing environments. While most practitioners are painfully aware of this, the SPI literature has so far only touched on the issue. Agility principles would have helped Ericsson respond more effectively to events that impacted the initiative. Development of agile SPI practices requires coordination and alignment with other initiatives to develop agile software organizations. Originality/value – SPI has been adopted by many organizations to help them to deliver quality software. However, its success is a matter of debate and this paper deals with the issues involved.