How Business Professionals Adapt to Inadequate Information Systems

Project: Research

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The organisational deployment of information systems (IS) is usually marked by acorporate interest in achieving such outcomes as competitiveness, effectiveness andefficiency. While the devising of IS policy is the prerogative of corporate management,the impacts of that policy are experienced by employees throughout the organisation.However, a disappointing percentage of IS deployments do not bring beneficial impactsto stakeholders. Consequently, employees are often dissatisfied with the IS with whichthey are provided. Some employees comply with a corporate expectation that they use theinadequate systems provided, doing the best they can in the circumstances; others resistcompliance and seek better ways of achieving the outcomes that they desire, workingaround the inadequate systems.Unfortunately, existing models of IS adoption and improvement fail to consider theexperience of stakeholders with respect to system inadequacies, and even fewer try toremedy those situations. We expect that a variety of conditions may contribute to theemployee experience. For instance, an IS may be inappropriately designed for the taskbecause management may inadequately understand employees’ needs, or simply ignorethe socio-organisational context in which the IS is embedded. We also expect to seemoderating effects from social, cultural and managerial sources that will mitigate orexacerbate the impact of circumstances on employee behaviour.We propose a three-pronged approach to investigate employee behaviour in situationscharacterised by inadequate IS provision. Firstly, we will engage in an intensive casestudy exploration of specific organisations, extending findings reached in earlierresearch and seeking to identify employee perceptions of and responses to inadequateprovisioning with IS/IT resources. Secondly, we will develop a theoretical model thatexplains the influence of the various antecedent conditions and moderating factors onemployees’ behaviour in the context of inadequate systems provision. We will test thismodel with data collected through a large-scale survey of organisational employees inmultiple geo-cultural contexts so as to ground our theoretical contribution in theworking experiences of employees as widely as possible. Finally, we will conduct afurther test of the theoretical model in an Action Research investigation in oneorganisation. Drawing on the cause and effect linkages from the theoretical model, wewill seek to enhance the adequacy of the IS for employees, at the same time protectingthe legitimate interests of the firm.


Project number9042412
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/10/164/03/21

    Research areas

  • Employee behaviour , Corporate IT Policy , Resistance , Workarounds ,