What Drives the End User to Build a Feral Information System?

What Drives the End User to Build a Feral Information System?

Anthony Spierings (University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 28
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5027-5.ch008


In this chapter, the authors explore a wide mixture of economic and social concepts. At first, the reader may wonder what these diverse theories have to do with Feral Information Systems (FIS). However, the research indicates that understanding how these theoretical puzzle pieces interact with each other is important to increasing the understanding of what drives the End User to create Feral Information Systems.
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The theoretical component starts with a historical perspective from the father of modern economics, Adam Smith, whose writings, from the time of steam, captured an End User in the act of innovating. It reminds us that End User development has been around for a long time. Next, we spend some time reviewing a small selection of social theories from Marx, Giddens, and Webber. These touch on the concepts of the means of production, Structuration Theory and Lebensstil (lifestyles). We spend some time discussing Structuration Theory and use actual examples from the workplace to help contextualise its applications. I use Structuration Theory to gain insight into human behaviours when working with Enterprise Systems. During our review of the social theories, we explore how the rise of the knowledge worker is challenging the existing hierarchical control over resources. Knowledge workers keep emerging repeatedly in Feral Information Systems. What is interesting about knowledge workers is that, if you track their life (space–time) journey, they often have a deliberate strategy of making full use of the chances that life gives them. During this chapter, we will expand on the concept of Lebenschancen (life chances) along with Lebensführung (life conduct), which are the two basic components of Weber’s Lebensstil (lifestyles). Following this, we delve back into Pareto economics to show how End Users can be making rational economic choices when building a Feral Information System. We explain how an Enterprise System that should push the productivity curve outwards can actually suppress an individual End User’s productivity. Towards the end of this chapter, we present preliminary results from our case study research. The case study indicates that End Users who develop a Feral Information System will reside in one of the four quadrants for the Modes of Operation: submit, dismiss, hidden, and defiant. One of the axes on the Mode of Operation, Access to Transformative Capacity, is a concept from Structuration Theory. The other axis relates to the End User’s ability to develop a Feral Information System (a concept that draws from Weber’s Lebensstil). Finally, we discuss if it is feasible for the Information System department to shut down a determined Feral Information System builder.

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