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A Theorizing Evolution of Inter-organizational Information Systems on Long Timescales

Kai Reimers
RWTH Aachen University, Germany
Robert Johnston
University College Dublin, Ireland
Stefan Klein
University of M√ľnster, Germany


Abstract
Inter-organizational Information Systems (IOIS) are computer-based systems shared by, or connecting, several organizations. The on-going use and evolution on long timescales of these large scale socio-technical systems so far cannot be satisfactorily explained on the basis of existing theories of IS adoption, implementation and use. In this paper, we present a theory of IOIS in which the on-going use and evolution of these large-scale systems is treated as a practical and socio-material accomplishment of communities through boundary practices and structures. We draw on the structure/action reproduction paradigm of Structuration Theory to account for the persistence of these systems and thus explain their structure, while using the embodiment of action from Practice Theory to treat the material nature of these systems. We distinguish three dimensions of structure -- material, normative and ideational -- and we also distinguish patterns of actions (along these three dimensions)from constraining and enabling structures. However, we attempt to treat these three structural dimensions and their reproduction processes symmetrically throughout. This symmetrical treatment leads us to propose that these action/structure dimensions are not reproduced in isolation but rather undergo an intimate mixing, or mangling, in the process, which in turn suggests a new kind of two-way causal accommodation between the various aspects of structure that we term "resonance."

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Reference:Reimers, K., Johnston, R., Klein, S. (2008). "A Theorizing Evolution of Inter-organizational Information Systems on Long Timescales," Proceedings > Proceedings of JAIS Theory Development Workshop . Sprouts: Working Papers on Information Systems, 8(31). http://sprouts.aisnet.org/8-31
Keywords:Inter-organizational Information Systems (IOIS), evolution
Item Type:Article - Volume 8 Article 31 (2008)
Language:English
Email: Kai Reimers (reimers@wi.rwth-aachen.de)

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