Investigating the Interdependence of Organisations and Information Systems
Laurence Brooks (Brunel University, UK), Christopher J. Davis (University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, USA) and Mark Lycett (Brunel University, UK)
Copyright: © 2007
Using Personal Construct Theory (PCT) as an underlying conceptual frame, this chapter explores the interdependence of organisations and information systems. Two PCT related techniques - Repertory Grid Analysis (RepGrid) and Cognitive Mapping (CM) - were used to investigate the dynamics of this interaction. Changing business models and information technologies were investigated in two distinct work settings: in each case, the technique contributed substantial insight into the role of information systems in that context. The analysis shows that the techniques have matured to a stage where they provide a basis for improved understanding of the organisational complexities related to information technologies. The techniques focus on the social construction of meaning by articulating and interpreting the discourse that surrounds the development, implementation and use of information technology in organisations. It is these ongoing discourses that create the dynamic complexities in the organisations, as they ‘play’ themselves out, and develop, over time. Current research has articulated and improved awareness of the issues and concerns that surround computer-based information systems (CBIS). Despite the differing contexts and work processes, the findings from each case suggest that the techniques facilitated social construction and increased the conceptual agility of managers, leading to improved integration of organisational processes and technology. The chapter concludes by drawing out the idea of the development of a conceptual model to act as a framework for the analysis of cognitive schema and shared understanding. In developing and participating in this shared understanding both organisational and technological communities could increase their awareness of each other’s issues and concerns, thereby enabling them to improve the conceptual agility of the organisation.