information systems research, information and communication technolgies, ICT, computing technologies, communication technologies, productivity paradox, process theories
Information and Library Science
Many researchers have searched for evidence of organizational improvements from the huge sums invested in ICT. Unfortunately, evidence for such a pay back is spotty at best (e.g., Brynjolfsson, 1994; Meyer and Gupta, 1994; Brynjolfsson and Hitt, 1998). On the other hand, at the individual level, computing and communication technologies are increasingly merging into work in ways that make it impossible to separate the two (Gasser, 1986; Zuboff, 1988; Bridges, 1995). This problem—usually referred to as the productivity paradox—is an example of a more pervasive issue—linking phenomena and theories from different levels of analysis. Organizational processes provide a bridge between individual, organizational and even industrial level impacts of information and communication technologies (ICT). Viewing a process as the way organizations accomplish desired goals and transform inputs into outputs makes the link to organizational outcomes. Viewing processes as ordered collections of activities makes the link to individual work, since individual actors perform these activities. As well, process theories can be a useful milieu for theoretical interplay between interpretive and positivist research paradigms. A process-centred research framework is illustrated with an analysis of the process of seating and serving customers in the two restaurants. The analysis illustrates how changes in individual work affect the process and thus the organizational outcomes and how processes provide a theoretical bridge between work at different levels of analysis.
Crowston, K. Process as theory in information systems research. In Proceedings of the IFIP WG8.2 International Working Conference (pp. 149–164), Jun 9–11, 2000. Arlborg, Denmark: Kluwer Academic. Available from: http://citeseer.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.16.7873
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