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Understanding Organizational Traps in Implementing Service-Oriented Architecture

Xitong Li
MIT Sloan School of Management, USA
Stuart Madnick
MIT Sloan School of Management, USA

One of the major objectives of adopting service-oriented architecture (SOA) is to enhance the IS agility of organizations and improve IT-business alignment. In practice the contradictory experiences about SOA implementation turn out to be a paradox: why many organizations failed to meet their expectations about SOA implementation efforts, while others succeeded? Contrast to prior research on SOA, this study adopts the process perspective and provides plausible theoretical explanations for the "SOA implementation paradox". Specifically, the study uses multiple case-study methods to develop a system dynamics model which highlights the feedback loops and time delay during the SOA implementation process. The results reveal the dynamic characteristics of learning curve of SOA implementation and two organizational traps (technology learning trap and implementation effectiveness trap) associated with SOA implementation. Technology learning trap refers to the situation that the less learning in using the technology, the more difficult and complex the technology is perceived. Implementation effectiveness trap refers to the situation in which the organization may misperceive the inappropriateness of SOA when SOA implementation is temporally less effective and perceived benefits of SOA are delayed. The theory of the organizational traps can be generalized to a broad context of innovative IS implementation. Further, the theoretical causes of the traps are investigated. Finally, the research implication of this study and connections with existing literature on IS and organization are discussed.

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Reference:Li, X., Madnick, S. (2011). "Understanding Organizational Traps in Implementing Service-Oriented Architecture," Proceedings > Proceedings of JAIS Theory Development Workshop . Sprouts: Working Papers on Information Systems, 11(139). http://sprouts.aisnet.org/11-139
Keywords:Service-oriented Architecture (SOA), IS implementation, organizational traps, organizational change and learning, system dynamics
Item Type:Article - Volume 11 Article 139 (2011)
Email: Xitong Li (xitongli@mit.edu)
Stuart Madnick (smadnick@mit.edu)

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