The Innovation Process of a Career Services Technology: A Comparative Case Study

Date of Award

May 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Sciences


Marjorie DeVault

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


This study shows the influence of a career management system, eRecruiting, on the structure and work of three career service offices. The research examines how technology adoption influences institutional environments and how work environments affect technology adoption. A qualitative review of semi-structured interviews, document analysis, and participant observations examined the career offices' implementation processes of a career management system. The following research questions guided this investigation: What were the expectations, implementation processes, and outcomes of adopting a career management system in college career service offices? How did the introduction of the technology affect staff duties and the division of labor within the office? How did career service professionals in different positions assess the benefits and downsides of the new technology?

A major finding from this study was that offices adopted career management technologies for reasons that had more to do with institutional culture than career management. The existing institutional culture influenced the motivation for adoption, the process of adoption, and the resultant changes to the office. The study found that the adoption of a career management system was not a stand-alone solution to the organizations' identified needs. Instead, it was clear that supporting infrastructure was essential and facilitated the creation of formalized positions to support the technology. The research also identified the technology as constitutive; it shaped the work of the office and how staff accomplished that work. The adoption of a career management system was viewed by most participants as useful, but it also created new work and exhibited control over the organization.


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