Exploring Human Dynamics in Global Information System Implementations: Culture, Attitudes and Cognitive Elements

Exploring Human Dynamics in Global Information System Implementations: Culture, Attitudes and Cognitive Elements

Marielle van Egmond, Shushma Patel, Dilip Patel
DOI: 10.4018/ijssci.2013070105
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Global information systems (IS) are often designed and implemented without due consideration or management of the human aspect of information systems. The lack of acknowledgement of human factors generates cost overruns, time delays and may ultimately lead to a partial failure of the system or even an aborted implementation. In this paper the authors present the concept of the information system implementation transformation (ISIT) cloud that covers dynamics of global information system implementations. The authors have depicted these dynamics as interpretative readiness curves in relation to IS implementation phases. The authors argue that human elements are impacting the overall level of implementation readiness. The authors support their argument by discussing the role of attitudes towards IS implementations, after which the authors break it down into a focus on the role of culture and finally link our ISIT concept to the layered reference model of the brain (LRMB) to understand the role of cognitive elements within IS implementations. The results of their approach provide improved understanding of the human elements of global information system implementations and its organizational readiness.
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2. Information System Implementation Dynamics

Our conceptual framework to investigate an organisation in transformational change due to a global information system implementation has emerged from previous work (Egmond van et al., 2012), which builds on the work of Lyttinen and Newman (2006, 2008), who defined the concept of a punctuated equilibrium for system development (Figure 1). Lyttinen and Newman propose that within the settings and dynamics of any existing organisation, information system implementation processes start in an AS IS situation X (or homeostasis X) aiming to develop and emerge towards a TO BE situation Y. Hence the start of an implementation causes a disruption of an organisational equilibrium and induces a phase of transformation. Lyytinen and Newman (2008) view information systems development and implementation as a process of socio-technical change in which technologies, human actors, organizational relationships and tasks change, driven by configurations in work systems, building systems and the environment, and their misalignments and gaps.

Therefore it is much more difficult for major transformational change to occur, or be implemented, because it typically involves a profound reformulation of an organisation’s mission, structure and management, and fundamental changes in the basic social, political, and cultural aspects of an organisation. In addition, global information system implementations in multinational organisations generally display added complexity created by the legal, political, economic, cultural, and technical differences at different sites according to Nickerson et al. (2003). We are particularly interested in human elements as external variables in global information system implementation and concurring transformational changes.

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