A Summary and Review of Galbraith’s Organizational Information Processing Theory

  • Clemens Haußmann
  • Yogesh K. Dwivedi
  • Krishna Venkitachalam
  • Michael D. Williams
Part of the Integrated Series in Information Systems book series (ISIS, volume 29)


This chapter reviews Galbraith’s original theory of organizational information processing and its proposed advancements. Original theory version describes uncertainty, especially task uncertainty, as the determinant of an organization’s structure. Four strategies are proposed to solve the organizational design problem: creation of slack resources and creation of self-contained tasks reduce the need for information processing. Investment in information systems and creation of lateral relations are strategies to reduce this uncertainty by increasing the capability of information processing but also has its limitations. Interpersonal characteristics as well as interdepartmental and interorganizational relations determine the organizational design problem, not just task uncertainty. Therefore, equivocality has to be reduced besides uncertainty. The additional factors are presented and integrated in a new model based on the original theory. The relevance of organizational information processing theory in the context of IT is demonstrated by practical examples, for explanation, justification, and integration of IT. Theoretical basis can be used to disclose possible reasons for problems and different outcomes which are arising in the case of IT adaptation.


Organizational Information Processing Theory Review Advancement Information Systems 



Computerized numerical control


Enterprise resource planning


Information systems


Information technology


Organizational information processing theory


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clemens Haußmann
    • 1
  • Yogesh K. Dwivedi
    • 1
  • Krishna Venkitachalam
    • 2
  • Michael D. Williams
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Business and EconomicsSwansea UniversitySwanseaUK
  2. 2.Strategy and Marketing Section, Cardiff Business SchoolCardiff UniversityCardiffUK
  3. 3.School of Business and EconomicsSwansea UniversitySwanseaUK

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