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How Information Systems Evolve by and for Use

Sean T. McGann
Case Western Reserve University, USA
Kalle Lyytinen
Case Western Reserve University, USA

Few studies have examined dynamic interactions between IT change and organizational change during information system evolution (ISE). We propose a dynamic model of ISE which characterizes ISE related change in four dimensions: 1) planned, 2) improvised, 3) organizational, and 4) IT related. The model- generated inductively through theory-building case studies - enables us narrate a more comprehensive explanation of ISE over time- in particular how such evolution is orchestrated by both planned and improvised change, which tacks between technical and organizational modifications. The model thus recognizes dynamic interactions between organizational and IT change by showing how incremental/improvised changes in IT or organizational processes evolve into pervasive and permanent change when organizations institutionalize these improvisations into new permanent IT designs and revised organizational routines. We demonstrate the analytical value of the proposed evolution model by investigating ISE processes in two manufacturing organizations implementing the same inter-organizational system over a period of two years. This multi-site case study research allows us to more systematically characterize significant socio-technical changes triggered by user improvisation. Our model and associated empirical analysis moves explorations of organizational and IT change towards a more unified understanding of how both mutually affect the form, function and evolution of the other.

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Reference:McGann, T., Lyytinen, K. (2005). "How Information Systems Evolve by and for Use," Case Western Reserve University, USA . Sprouts: Working Papers on Information Systems, 5(15). http://sprouts.aisnet.org/5-15
Keywords:Improvisation, Organizational Change, Information System Evolution, Longitudinal Multi-site Case Study
Item Type:Article - Volume 5 Article 15 (2005)
Email: Sean T. McGann (mcgann@ohio.edu)
Kalle Lyytinen (kalle@case.edu)

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