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Disentangling sociomateriality: an exploration of remote monitoring systems in interorganizational networks
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics. (IT Management)
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Att dekonstruera sociomaterialitet : En undersökning av fjärrdiagnostiksystem i interorganisatoriska nätverk (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Firmly placed in an industrial setting, this research explored the introduction of remote monitoring technology into three different organizational contexts. By following these organizations over time, starting with their intention to invest in remote monitoring systems (RMS), there was a unique opportunity to witness their processes and to gain an insight into the intricacies of information technology (IT) and organizational transformation. The main question that this research sought to answer was thus: How is IT implicated in the remote monitoring of industrial equipment?

Previous information systems research has been accused of not paying enough attention to the material, that is, of not being specific about technology. This research adopted a sociomaterial perspective, thus recognizing the constitutive entanglement of the material and the social, and thereby acknowledging their mutual dependency. However, in order to provide specific insights about the material, an analytical disentanglement was performed, by extending the concept of agency from a focus on “the what” to include “the how”. Change was thus studied by not only asking what the nature of change is and who or what causes change to occur, but by also tracing how change is enacted, thus capturing both material and social agency as well as tracing their entanglement.

This research employed a broad approach, designed to provide a profound and extensive account of the studied phenomenon. Consequently, the thesis explored value creation, sourcing routines, partnership formation and innovative practices all related to remote diagnostics design and use. In addition, the research was qualitative and used interpretive case studies as the main methodology.

A composite finding of this research is that an RMS, with its ability to collect, transmit, store, and analyze specific contextual information across time and space, provides opportunities for boundary-spanning activities manifested as the formation of interorganizational networks. Furthermore, by tracing the information capabilities of the IT, and by being specific about the material, it has been possible to explore how RMSs have the potential to influence both organizational form and content. Through the examination of RMSs within interorganizational networks and as a part of value creation practices, this research has also shown how the organizational form and content have the potential to influence RMSs; their design, use, and material affordances. This research also placed focus on the importance of trust and has shown that trust in technology is established through trust in people.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Institutionen för informatik, Umeå Universitet , 2011. , 113 p.
Series
Research reports in informatics, ISSN 1401-4572 ; RR-11.02
Keyword [en]
Remote monitoring systems, interorganizational networks, value creation, trust, sociomateriality
National Category
Computer and Information Science
Research subject
Computer Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-43488ISBN: 978-91-7459-221-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-43488DiVA: diva2:414284
Public defence
2011-06-01, MA 121, MIT-huset, Umeå Universitet, Umeå, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-05-09 Created: 2011-05-02 Last updated: 2011-05-04Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Technologies for value creation an exploration of remote diagnostics systems in the manufacturing industry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Technologies for value creation an exploration of remote diagnostics systems in the manufacturing industry
2008 (English)In: Information Systems Journal, ISSN 1350-1917, E-ISSN 1365-2575, Vol. 18, no 3, 227-245 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

With firms increasingly relying on ubiquitous computing to implement major business initiatives, it is becoming ever more necessary to understand the technological aspects of business developments. This paper analyzes the use of remote diagnostics systems in the manufacturing industry and discusses the opportunities and challenges for the early adopters. It pays specific attention to the impact on business aspects such as the value creation process consisting of relationships, roles, and architecture and the value proposal consisting of a business offer and customer value. The study shows how ubiquitous computing allows manufacturers to become remote service providers while customers can either become co-creators of value or passive receivers of created value. Ubiquitous computing also creates possibilities for the manufacturing industry to design new kinds of business offers based on remote presence. Studying remote diagnostics systems shows that ubiquitous computing creates value when deployed in products, and not just in relation to individuals. Moreover, the design of the value-creation process should not be limited to the single supplier or customer organization, as ubiquitous computing applications take no notice of organizational boundaries.

Keyword
business model, embedded systems, services, business design, value creation
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-9498 (URN)10.1111/j.1365-2575.2007.00267.x (DOI)
Available from: 2009-12-08 Created: 2008-04-10 Last updated: 2011-05-04Bibliographically approved
2. From senses to sensors: Strategies for maintaining and enhancing competence in a virtual organization
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From senses to sensors: Strategies for maintaining and enhancing competence in a virtual organization
2007 (English)In: Proceedings of IFIP 8.2/9.5 Conference on Virtuality and Virtualization / [ed] Crowston K., Sieber S., Wynn E., 2007, 281-293 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

One key dimension of the virtualization of the workplace is the formation of new types of partnerships where organizations let internal functions be handled by an external partner, the so called outsourcing of services. The formation of an outsourcing partnership imposes the risk of knowledge-drainage on the client organization as specific internal competence decreases when the service provider takes over the technological knowledge and has a significant impact on the business processes in general. The aim of this paper is to address the issue of partnership outsourcing and to explore strategies that are used to keep the competence within the client organization even as it opens itself up to the partnership. Based on the framework of Four Outsourcing Relationship Types provided by Kishore et al. (2003) this paper investigates the relationship between a large minerals group, Alpha Corp. and its remote service provider, RDC. Alpha has three different strategies for maintaining competence within the organization while engaging in the outsourcing relationship. The first is exploiting the full potential of its partnership with RDC, the second is heavy investment in information technology, and the third is structured and systematic maintenance. The findings of the study show that the relationship between Alpha and RDC can be characterized as an alliance type relationship and that the only way for Alpha to preserve competence is to maintain an inspired and engaged workforce and fully embrace the partnership in order to create a win-win situation. 

Keyword
partnership outsourcing, knowledge, competence, information technology
National Category
Information Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-23186 (URN)
Conference
IFIP 8.2/9.5 Conference, Portland, OR, USA, 28-31 July 2007.
Available from: 2009-06-03 Created: 2009-06-03 Last updated: 2011-05-06Bibliographically approved
3. Partnership outsourcing evolution: The process of creating and maintaining  a network of actors
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Partnership outsourcing evolution: The process of creating and maintaining  a network of actors
2007 (English)In: Proceedings of the Fifteenth European Conference on Information Systems: University of St. Gallen, Switzerland / [ed] Österle H, Schelp J, Winter R, 2007, 1179-1189 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper is an attempt to build on and extend existing outsourcing research by focusing on the process of managing an outsourcing partnership. Furthermore, it considers the role of information technology and the importance of establishing interorganizational trust in order to provide a deeper understanding of the partnership outsourcing phenomenon. The outsourcing partnership in focus in this paper is between Alpha Corp., a large minerals group, and RDC, its remote service provider. The paper shows that Alpha Corp.’s strategy for creating, maintaining and evolving the partnership with RDC occurs in three different stages: black-boxing of technology, establishing interorganizational trust, and performance based contracting. This study provides support for McFarlan and Nolan’s (1995, p. 22) claim that “What determines success or failure is managing the relationship less as a contract and more as a strategic alliance”. However, given the multiple roles information technology assumes in an outsourcing alliance, this paper also shows that understanding and managing the role of IT is just as crucial in maintaining a successful partnership. In addition, given the documented importance of information technology in outsourcing partnerships, there is a need to include trust in technology as yet another dimension in establishing interorganizational trust.

Keyword
Partnership outsourcing, management strategies, inter-organizational trust
National Category
Information Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-43485 (URN)
Conference
Fifteenth European Conference on Information Systems, University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland, June 7-9 2007
Available from: 2011-05-02 Created: 2011-05-02 Last updated: 2011-05-06Bibliographically approved
4. Outsourcing as open innovation: Exploring preconditions for the open innovation model in the process industry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Outsourcing as open innovation: Exploring preconditions for the open innovation model in the process industry
2008 (English)In: Twenty Ninth International conference on information systems, Paris 2008, 2008Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The open innovation model embraces the purposive flow of internal and external ideas as a ground for innovation and network formation. While the open innovation paradigm has been successfully applied in high-tech settings, there is a gap in the research on adopters of open innovation in other settings. This research was conducted in a process industry setting, performed as a case study at Alpha Corp., a large minerals group, and Remote Diagnostics Centre, its service provider, where ICT is being increasingly used to monitor the process line, resulting in the creation of new value networks. The underlying question is: Why and how do open innovation projects develop over time? Our findings show that adoption of the open innovation model is grounded in developing organizational environments that are conducive to innovation, including expertise in creating a culture for knowledge sharing, building a trustful environment, and a resourceful use of interaction technologies.

Keyword
open innovation, trust, interorganizational knowledge sharing
National Category
Information Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-19059 (URN)
Conference
ICIS, Paris, France, Dec. 14-17, 2008.
Available from: 2009-12-10 Created: 2009-03-03 Last updated: 2011-05-06Bibliographically approved
5. Opening up innovation: The impact of contextual factors on the Co-creation of IT enabled value adding services within the manufacturing industry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Opening up innovation: The impact of contextual factors on the Co-creation of IT enabled value adding services within the manufacturing industry
2011 (English)In: Information Systems and E-Business Management, ISSN 1617-9846, E-ISSN 1617-9854, Vol. 9, no 2, 223-245 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper examines the contextual factors that influenced an open innovation project failure. To this end the paper adds to the discussion on open innovation in non high-tech settings and highlights the importance of contextual factors as determinants of success or failure within the open innovation paradigm. It is based on a case study performed at PowerDrive, a manufacturer of hydraulic drive systems, and three of its customers, and follows their attempt to co-create new value-adding services through the innovative use of information technology. The study shows that open innovation project success cannot be measured only in terms of coherence with set targets of quality, time, and costs, but also has to include the creation of mutual value and the development of strong inter-organizational relationships. Furthermore, the role and character of information technology has to be considered and accounted for.

Keyword
value adding services, open innovation, remote monitoring systems, contextual factors
National Category
Computer and Information Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-43483 (URN)10.1007/s10257-010-0144-2 (DOI)
Available from: 2011-05-02 Created: 2011-05-02 Last updated: 2011-05-06Bibliographically approved

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