Research Approaches to Information Systems Development and Adoption Using Organizational Theories
Research Approaches 1Research Approaches to Information Systems Development and Adoption Using Organizational Theories Edgardo Donovan ITM 604 – Dr. Indira Guzman Module 4 – Case Analysis Monday, May 31, 2010
Research Approaches 2Research Approaches to Information Systems Development and Adoption Using Organizational Theories In order to avoid the risky approach of sheer mimicry concerning information systemsdevelopment and adoption, organizations will need to benefit from more universal and rigorousorganizational theory studies with enough qualifiers and mediating variables to properly analyzeIT strategic imperatives. If this will not happen, future research will be viewed as macro-guidelines to explain certain dynamics which would need to be taken with a pinch of salt bypractitioners. Utilizing techniques ranging from game-theory to process legitimacy analysis, paststudies have merely been useful in providing insight on how personnel feel about newtechnologies and how their current operational processes will advance or hinder their successfuladoption. A variety of research approaches have been formulated in an attempt to better explain thedynamics concerning information systems adoption and development. Organizational units andprocesses can be analyzed in an attempt to better facilitate the integration with large proprietaryIT systems (Teo 22) or an organization’s culture, personnel, and legitimizing structures can becategorized to better predispose it to adopt a variety of web-driven technologies (Chaterjee 66).Research approaches have also been tailored in an attempt to give practitioners an edge indrawing out efficiencies out of their IT development projects by using game-theory to predict thepropensity for consulting firms to meet deadlines, take shortcuts, or increase effort (Austin 204). Austin utilizes an agency framework to model the behavior of software developers withconcerns about product quality against concerns about missing individual task deadlines.
Research Approaches 3Developers who care about quality but fear the career impact of missed deadlines may take"shortcuts". A common risk reduction method is adding slack to best estimates when settingdeadlines to partially alleviate the time pressures believed to encourage shortcut taking (Austin195). Figure 1. Effort, Timeliness, and Quality Decision Dynamics (Austin 203) The process of actually generating estimates in real settings also complicates applicationof Austin’s recommendations. In many settings there are complex interdependencies amongdevelopers, which might provide even more latitude for strategic behavior than is addressed(Austin 204). There are also dependencies between the various stages of IT developmentprojects. It is of paramount importance that everybody agrees on a methodology that will enablethe various components of a project to be phased into each other so that they can leverage eachother in an integrated fashion (Donovan 1).
Research Approaches 4 Figure 2. Development Process Inter-Dependencies (Donovan 2) Organizational theories have attempted to explain an organization’s propensity to adoptand change patterns based on new technologies as well as the dynamics concerning ITdevelopment realities. It is possible to use institutional theory as a lens to understand the factorsthat enable the adoption of an interorganizational system (Teo 19). For example, followingquestionnaire development, validation, and a pretest with a pilot study, data can be collected
Research Approaches 5from a CEO, the CFO, and the CIO to measure the institutional pressures they face and theirintentions to adopt a proprietary IT system. These results may provide strong support forinstitutional based variables as predictors of adoption intention for interorganizational linkages(Teo 19). Organizational theories can attempt to explain the professional behavioral dynamics of ITprofessionals. Actions by senior management or technology champions to unfreeze theprevailing institutional structures, introduce complementary structures to facilitate technologyuse, and reinforce norms that value the use of technology are all likely to encourage the use oftechnology (Chaterjee 66). Findings about the contingent effects of human frailty conditions augment ourunderstanding of the outsourcing phenomenon by emphasizing that decision-makers’attentiveness to the logic of transaction costs during outsourcing which is shaped by theirinstitutional context (Miranda). It is not entirely uncommon for organizations who have investedsignificant amounts of money in their IT infrastructure and personnel to sometimes outsource asignificant portion of their IT development projects and services. Often situational conditions canbe found to increase the incidence of outsourcing (Miranda). Therefore, there is a hugeadvantage to be gained by organizations to better understand universal variables that may lead tothat type of decision and vice-versa given that they must strive to build competitive advantageswithin their IT operations as well as every aspect of their business in an attempt to successfullycompete for market-share. In so doing, they will typically adopt a customized strategy that willinvolve in-house dedicated resources with the intent to enhance productivity over the long-termas well as outsourced solutions to as temporary or short term fixes (Donovan 3).
Research Approaches 6 It is of paramount importance for any study in this area to be useful that it attempt toinclude as many qualifiers and mediating variables so as to not devise a micro-oriented studybased on an overly controlled testing environment. This is very difficult due to expansiveinterdependent nature of this topic. There are many reasons a company would decide tooutsource portions of its IT system, development and maintenance. Sometimes a company has animmediate or temporary need and does not see it practical to hire a dedicated full-time or part-time employee to fulfill it. At times a company may want to accomplish something in the ITrealm but need to avail of a proven team of experts who can advise them about opportunities andtheir likely impact if pursued. Sometimes if there is too much political fragmentation within alarge Fortune 500 company towards solving a particular problem then the outsourcing providermay be attractive because by hiring them they will provide an artificial political consensus(Donovan 4). Depending on its current growth cycle a corporation may be more incentivized tooutsource IT development. Bootstrap startups are known to outsource the majority of its ITapplications to include web hosting, web development, email marketing, and utilize for the mostpart uncustomized third party software. They do so in order to be able to focus on developingand marketing an untested product or service. Medium size companies who are successful inprofitably marketing a product or a service are more inclined than their bootstrap counterpartstowards focusing on building a reliable in-house IT infrastructure to include ERP (EnterpriseRelationship Planning) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems which requirethe constant attention of an in-house staff for administration and customization tasks. Largemultinationals may outsource certain functions related to IT development to “Big 5” firms like
Research Approaches 7KPMG, Andersen Consulting, or CAP Gemini in an attempt to avoid the bureaucratic politicalinfighting it would take to coordinate a massive project internally (Donovan 5). It is important to develop and test several hypotheses to understand how transactionalrisks that arise due to a range of factors (i.e., the size of outsourcing contracts, difficulties inperformance monitoring, asset specificity of IT resources, vendor capability, and the lack ofcultural similarity between client and vendor firms) influence investors reactions to IToutsourcing announcements. Results indicate that most of these factors indeed significantlyinfluence investors perceptions of the risks involved in IT outsourcing (Wonseok 1). Different research studies leverage a diverse assortment of techniques to researchapproaches to information systems development and adoption using organizational theories.Game theory is used to research how agents would act in a software development scenario wherea developer is forced to either break a deadline or make quality shortcuts. Other studies focus onnew technology or proprietary IT system assimilation. Among the previously stated, Austin andChaterjee do not create enough qualifiers to make their studies more universal. Austin’s gamingstudy only proposes three unmediated variables (effort, fear of breaking deadline, fear of makingbad product). On the other hand Teo acknowledges that theories of assimilation suggest thatmost information technologies exhibit an assimilation gap (Chaterjee 67) and is successfully ableto provide a concrete solid survey based study indicative of the dynamics concerning a singlefirm operating in Singapore. Organizational research can be useful whenever a new technological paradigm appearsthat greatly changes an industry. One can attempt to find a string of common characteristics thatmay help or hinder the progression towards a newer operational reality. Continuative research
Research Approaches 8based on Austin’s project management-centric work should attempt to create a fourth variablecalled “Consultant Prestige” and posit whether a consulting firms perceived expertise in acutting edge area enables it to overly influence the client. This may confirm or deny thesuspicion that some practitioners have relative to consulting firms and their ability to bend,break, and redefine deadlines at will when involved with cutting edge technologyimplementation projects. Chaterjee uses questionnaires to try to define the structures and processes that can beginto merge with web technology thereby overcoming resistance among people see the former astools that add legitimacy. He does not look at the competitive macro variables that drive the needto innovate as well as the market rewards and exorbitant costs associated with achieving firstmover status. It is important for management to benefit from studies related to external phenomenawhere organizational information is shared and developed in an attempt to derive correlativedata. Variables related to organizational knowledge have an endless array of mediators related toculture and the environment. We can very broadly begin by defining information to be the part ofhuman understanding that reduces uncertainty about relationships of phenomena. Concerningnew technology adoption, greater coercive pressures will lead to greater intent to adopt newproprietary IT systems (Teo 23). Furthermore, besides cue-taking from the collective action ofsimilar others, organization are particularly apt to imitate the behaviors of those they perceive assuccessful. Although there are not studies directly examining mimicry of IT practice, there isimplied evidence that followers, out of competitive necessity, imitate pioneers that havesuccessfully exploited IT (Teo 22). Teo’s research enhances our understanding of how mimetic,
Research Approaches 9coercive, and normative pressures existing in an institutionalized environment couldcontextualize and shape organizational adoption intention toward IT-based IOL. Overall, theresults serve as a reminder that organizations are embedded in institutional networks whichshould capitalize on the imitative tendencies of organizations by providing visible and crediblesocial and technical information (Teo 43). In order to avoid the risky approach of sheer mimicry concerning information systemsdevelopment and adoption, organizations will need to benefit from more universal and rigorousorganizational theory studies with enough qualifiers and mediating variables to properly analyzeIT strategic imperatives. If this will not happen, future research will be viewed as macro-guidelines to explain certain dynamics which would need to be taken with a pinch of salt bypractitioners. Utilizing techniques ranging from game-theory to process legitimacy analysis, paststudies have merely been useful in providing insight on how personnel feel about newtechnologies and how their current operational processes will advance or hinder their successfuladoption.
Research Approaches 10 BibliographyAustin, R. D. (2001). The effects of time pressure on quality in software development:An agency model. Information Systems Research, 12(2), 195.Chatterjee, D., Grewal, R., & Sambamurthy, V. (2002). Shaping up for e-commerce:Institutional enablers of the organizational assimilation of web technologies. MISQuarterly, 26(2), 65.Miranda, S. M., & Kim, Y.-M. (2006). Professional Versus Political Contexts:Institutional Mitigation And The Transaction Cost Heuristic In Information SystemsOutsourcing. MIS Quarterly, 30(3), 725.Donovan, E. (2000). Front end web development process? WePapers.com.Donovan, E. (2007). Outsourcing information technology functions: when is itappropriate? WePapers.com.Oh, W., Gallivan, M. J., & Kim, J. W. (2006). The Markets Perception of theTransactional Risks of Information Technology Outsourcing Announcements. Journal ofManagement Information Systems, 22(4), 271.Teo, H. H., Wei, K. K., & Benbasat, I. (2003). Predicting intention to adoptinterorganizational linkages: An institutional perspective. MIS Quarterly, 27(1), 19.