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Information systems use as strategy practice: a multi-dimensional view of strategic information system implementation and use
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå Centre for Gender Studies (UCGS). Swedish Center for Digital Innovation.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics. Swedish Center for Digital Innovation.
Case Western Reserve University.
2014 (English)In: Journal of strategic information systems, ISSN 0963-8687, Vol. 23, no 1, 45-61 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Information systems (IS) are strategic in so far as they are used to realize strategic intent. Yet, while much has been said about aligning IS functionality with the strategic intent and how to organizationally implement strategically aligned systems, less is known of how to successfully implement strategic change associated with system use – a truly critical challenge within strategic IS implementation. Drawing on a strategy-as-practice perspective we address this gap by developing a multi-dimensional view of IS strategy, conceptualizing three key challenges in the IS strategy process, to explain how and why a paper mill, despite successfully implementing a strategic production management system, failed to produce intended strategic change. We call this outcome strategy blindness: organizational incapability to realize the strategic intent of implemented, available system capabilities. Using a longitudinal case study we investigate how cognitive rigidity of key actors and fixed, interrelated practices shaped the implementation of the new production system. We also identify core components and dynamics that constitute a richer multi-dimensional view of the IS strategy implementation (alignment) process. In particular, we identify three salient factors that contribute to strategy blindness – mistranslation of intent, flexibility of the IT artifact and cognitive entrenchment – and discuss how they affect strategic implementation processes. We conclude by discussing implications of our findings for IS strategy theory and practice, especially the contribution of strategy-as-practice to this stream of research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2014. Vol. 23, no 1, 45-61 p.
Keyword [en]
strategic IS implementation, multi-dimensional view of IS strategy, strategic change, information systems use, cognitive entrenchment
National Category
Information Systems
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-86319DOI: 10.1016/j.jsis.2014.01.004ISI: 000335546600004OAI: diva2:698530

Special Issue: SI

Available from: 2014-02-23 Created: 2014-02-23 Last updated: 2015-10-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Digital transformation: the material roles of IT resources and their political uses
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Digital transformation: the material roles of IT resources and their political uses
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Digital transformation : den materiella betydelsen av IT-resurser och dess politiska användning i strategiska informationssystem
Abstract [en]

As IT became ubiquitous, we recognized that IT was everywhere but in our theories. Despite significant efforts, Information System (IS) research is still in desperate search for the IT artifact. Recent reviews show that IS research first and foremost considers IT resources as a socio-technical and managerial concern. Analyses of inertia are restricted to cognitive limitations or technical challenges of IT development and use as separate activities. Hence, IS research assumes that more development resources, extended training, and better management could turn most failures into success. In this thesis, I posit that IS strategy research often treats normal failure as unexpected to maintain the rational idea that managers are in control and that IT does not matter in and of itself. I argue that planned and convergent views of change work well under stable and unitary conditions but in this way fail to account for the complexity of current IS strategy practice. To substantiate this claim, I demonstrate how IS research routinely neglects the material IT use story in the context of digital transformation (DT) studies and social informatics. Political conflict is a constant theme in IS strategy implementation research, yet few studies provided explanation for the apprehension that managers and workers display during the introduction of new IT resources; even as most managers remain men I found also no study that theorized gender politics as related to IS strategy outcomes. I argue in particular that the IS fields routine adherence to borrowed assumptions about the pace, linearity, and sequence of radical change have limited IS scholars to marginally improve on received DT narratives in which IT plays little or no part as IT appears as an agent mostly before and after DT. Though much is said about how IT triggers and enables organizational change, the actual processes and mechanisms that underlies IS strategy change enactments are thus poorly understood. To examine how the material roles of IT resources and their political use can be captured and explained, I summarize and synthesize insights grounded in empirics from four appended research papers. In this way, I chart avenues for material theorizing of micro-affordances and institutions, and develop an IS strategy-as-practice lens that attends IT use as a material practice. After developing this lens, I discuss how material practice perspectives afford deep understanding of the materialities through which actors create, sustain, and transform organizational practice with digital material, and highlight some opportunities to observe the social consequences of IT use in the context of critical studies on men and masculinities and digital gender.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2015. 112 p.
Research reports in informatics, ISSN 1401-4572 ; 15.03
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-109761 (URN)978-91-7601-365-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-10-30, MIT-huset, MA1, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2015-10-09 Created: 2015-10-05 Last updated: 2015-10-09Bibliographically approved

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