European Journal of Information Systems

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 49–59 | Cite as

The social and political construction of technological frames

Article

Abstract

It is widely accepted that the successful adoption of an information system depends to a great extent on users' perceptions of the information system. It follows then that an understanding of users' cognitive frames should be a key factor in managing the adoption of information systems. To reach such an understanding is not an easy task as cognitive frames are dynamic phenomena. For example, what an individual perceives as ‘ease of use’ and ‘usefulness’ may depend not only on intrinsic qualities of the information system but also on the changing contexts in which the information system is evaluated. This work argues that the management of information systems' adoption is a social and political process in which stakeholders frame and reframe their perceptions of an information system. A case study carried out in a European bank illustrates how the Bank's technical team influenced users' technological frames, including those of senior management in order to ensure a smooth implementation process. In conclusion, the paper introduces a set of theoretical propositions relating to the social and political processes that occur during information systems adoption.

Keywords

Information systems adoption implementation socio-cognitive approach technological frames analysis power politics social interactions interpretive and qualitative research 

References

  1. Agarwal R and Karahanna E (2000) Time flies when you're having fun: cognitive absorption and beliefs about information technology usage. MIS Quarterly 24 (4), 665–694.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beath C (1991) Supporting the information technology champion. MIS Quarterly 15 (3), 355–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beath C and Orlikowski W (1994) The contradictory structure of systems development methodologies: deconstructing the is–user relationship in information engineering. Information Systems Research 5 (4), 350–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bijker WE (1995) Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs: Towards a Theory of Sociotechnical Change. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  5. Bloomfield BP and Coombs R (1992) Information technology, control and power: The centralization and decentralization debate revisited. Journal of Management Studies 29 (4), 459–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boland R (1978) The process and product of system design. Management Science 24 (9), 887–898.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bourdieu P (1989) Social space and symbolic power. Sociological Theory 7 (1), 14–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bourdieu P (1991) Language and Symbolic Power. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  9. Callon M (1986) Some elements of a sociology of translation: domestication of the scallops and the fishermen of St Brieuc Bay. In Power, Action and Belief (LAW J, Ed), pp 196–233, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London.Google Scholar
  10. Carroll J and Perin C (1988) How Expectations about Microcomputers Influence their Organisational Consequences. CISR Working Paper 80-044, Sloan School of Management, MIT, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  11. Compeau D, Higgins C and Huff S (1999) Social cognitive theory and individual reactions to computing technology: a longitudinal study. MIS Quarterly 23 (2), 145–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Davis F (1989) Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information technology. MIS Quarterly 13 (3), 319–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. French JRP and Raven B (1959) The bases of social power. In Studies in Social Power (CRTWRIGHT DP, Ed), pp 150–167, Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.Google Scholar
  14. Gioia D and Sims H (1986) Introduction: social cognition in organisations. In The Thinking Organisation (GIOIA D and SIMS H Eds), pp 49–74, Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  15. Hofstede G (1991) Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. McGraw-Hill, London.Google Scholar
  16. Introna LD (1997) Management, Information and Power. Macmillan, London.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Klein HK and Myers MD (1999) A set of principles for conducting and evaluating interpretive field studies in information systems. MIS Quarterly 23 (1), 67–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Latour B (1987) Science in Action. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  19. Lin A and Cornford T (2000) Framing implementation management. In International Conference on Information Systems (ORLIKOWSKI WJ, ANG S, WEILL P, KRCMAR HG and DEGROSS JI, Eds), pp 197–205, Brisbane, Australia.Google Scholar
  20. Lyytinen K and Hirschheim R (1987) Information systems failures: a survey and classification of the empirical literature. Oxford Surveys in Information Technology 4, 257–309.Google Scholar
  21. Markus ML (1983) Power, politics, and mis-implementation. Communications of the ACM 26 (6), 430–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Markus ML and Bjorn-Andersen N (1987) Power over users: its exercise by system professionals. Communications of the ACM 30 (6), 498–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Orlikowski W (1992) The duality of technology: rethinking the concept of technology in organizations. Organization Science 3 (3), 398–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Orlikowski W and Gash DC (1991) Changing frames: understanding technological changes in organisations. Working Paper 236, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  25. Orlikowski WJ and Gash DC (1994) Technological frames: making sense of information technology in organisations. ACM Transactions on Information Systems 12 (2), 174–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Silva L and Backhouse J (2003) The circuits-of-power framework for studying power in institutionalization of information systems. Journal of the Association for Information Systems 4 (6), 294–336.Google Scholar
  27. Walsham G (1995) Interpretive case studies in is research: nature and method. European Journal of Information Systems 4, 74–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Operational Research Society 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Information StudiesUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldU.K.
  2. 2.C.T. Bauer College of Business, University of HoustonHoustonU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations