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Information Technology Impact on Work Practices: A Study of 3D CAD Capabilities in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction

Ryan Baxter
Case Western Reserve University, USA
Kalle Lyytinen
Case Western Reserve University, USA

The current set of concerns for research on the impacts of information technology (IT) on organizational work is unduly restricted. The intent behind the use of new IT is to alter work practices of an organization, but how this happens and in what form has received limited attention; in particular, how specific types of use relate to specific impacts. Theoretical explanations have moved us already beyond simplistic determinism where IT impact is direct without due analysis of the context and the use. Such explanations include socio-technical theory, social construction of technology, structuration theory, and social representations. These studies have expanded considerably our understanding how IT use will lead to changes in work practices and thereby to organizational transformation. The way in which IT impact is currently conceptualized falls short in the current business environment where IT use is embedded, pervasive and diverse. Based on calls to theorize rigorously about the IT artifact we explore in more detail how specific IT capabilities and how they impact work practices. To this end we suggest several analytical dimensions to analyze work practices to understand in more detail how changes in IT use and work practices interact in dynamic, interorganizational settings. We illustrate the breadth and diversity of potential IT impact by illustrating how the use of novel capabilities associated with 3D technologies in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry impacted multiple dimensions of work practice and ultimately played a significant role in changing work practices of builders, architects and engineers. We conclude by identifying implications to research and potential future research directions.

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Reference:Baxter, R., Lyytinen, K. (2005). "Information Technology Impact on Work Practices: A Study of 3D CAD Capabilities in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction," Case Western Reserve University, USA . Sprouts: Working Papers on Information Systems, 5(17). http://sprouts.aisnet.org/5-17
Keywords:Information Technology Impact, 3D CAD, Work Practice, Work Practice Change, AEC, Design
Item Type:Article - Volume 5 Article 17 (2005)
Email: Ryan Baxter (baxter@cwru.edu)
Kalle Lyytinen (kalle@case.edu)

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