A Framework to Build Process Theories of Anticipatory Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standardizing

A Framework to Build Process Theories of Anticipatory Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standardizing

Kalle Lyytinen (Case Western Reserve University, USA), Thomas Keil (Helsinki University of Technology, Finland) and Vladislav Fomin (Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/jitsr.2008010101
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Abstract

Standards have become critical to information and communication technologies (ICTs) as they become complex and pervasive. We propose a process theory framework to explain anticipatory standardizing outcomes post hoc when the standardizing process is viewed as networks of events. Anticipatory standards define future capabilities for ICT ex ante in contrast to ex post standardizing existing practices or capabilities through de facto standardization in the market. The theoretical framework offers the following: a) a lexicon in the form of the ontology and typology of standardizing events; b) a grammar, or a set of combination rules, for standardizing events to build process representations; c) an analysis and appreciation of contexts in which standardizing unfolds; and d) logic yielding theoretical explanations of standardizing outcomes based on the analysis of process representations. We show how the framework can help analyze standardization data as networks of events as well as explain standardizing outcomes. We illustrate the plausibility of the approach by applying it to wireless standardization to explain standardizing outcomes.

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