Advertisement

Studying Organizational Computing Infrastructures: Multi-Method Approaches

  • Steve Sawyer
Chapter
Part of the IFIP — The International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 41)

Abstract

This paper provides guidelines for developing multi-method research approaches, provides several examples of their use, and discusses experiences with conducting a multi-method study of one organization’s computing infrastructure changes. The focus on organizational computing infrastructures is due to the contemporary belief that these are increasingly critical to organizational success. However, understanding the value of an organization’s computing infrastructure is difficult. This is because of their uniqueness, pervasiveness context-driven nature, temporality, the constant changes in underlying technologies, and the variety of their effects at multiple levels in the organization. These difficulties are especially pronounced in organizations with distributed computing environments because the dispersion of computing accentuates these effects.

Keywords

Organizational informatics computing infrastructure multi-method research ERP implementation organizational change fieldwork 

References

  1. Adler, P. “Interdepartmental Interdependence and Coordination: The Case of Design/ Manufacturing Interface, ” Organization Science (62), 1995, pp. 147-167.Google Scholar
  2. Argyris, C., Putnam, R., and Smith, D. Action Science: Concepts, Methods, and Skills for Research and Intervention. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1985.Google Scholar
  3. Avison, D., and Meyers, M. “Information Systems and Anthropology: An Anthropological Perspective on IT and Organizational Culture,” Information Technology & People (8:3), 1995, pp.; 43-56.Google Scholar
  4. Bagozzi, R. “The Role of Measurement in Theory Construction and Hypothesis Testing: Toward a Holistic Model, ” in Conceptual and Theoretical Developments in Marketing, O. Ferrell, S. Brown, and C. Lamb (eds.). Chicago: American Marketing Association, 1979.Google Scholar
  5. Barley, S. “Images of Imaging: Notes on Doing Longitudinal Field Work, ” Organization Science (1: 3 ), 1990, pp. 220 – 249.Google Scholar
  6. Barley, S. “Technology as an Occasion for Structuring: Evidence from Observations of CT Scanners and the Social Order of Radiology Departments,” Administrative Science Quarterly (31), 1986, pp. 78 – 108.Google Scholar
  7. Barley, S. “On Technology, Time and the Social Order: Technically Induced Change in the Temporal Order of Radiological Work, ” in Making Time: Ethnographies of High-Tech Organizations, F. Dubinskas (ed.). Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988.Google Scholar
  8. Benbasat, I., Goldstein, D., and Mead, M. “The Case Research Strategy in Studies of Information Systems, ” MIS Quarterly (11:3), 1987, pp. 369 – 386.Google Scholar
  9. Benjamin, R., and Levinson, E. “A Framework for Managing IT-Enabled Change, ” Sloan Management Review (34:4), 1993, pp. 8 – 18.Google Scholar
  10. Blalock, H. Causal Models in the Social Sciences. Chicago: Aldine, 1971.Google Scholar
  11. Bogdan, R. Participant Observation in Organizational Settings. Syracuse: Syracuse Press, 1972.Google Scholar
  12. Bostrom, R., and Heinen, S. “MIS Problems and Failures: A Socio-Technical Approach: Part 1: Causes. ” MIS Quarterly (1:4), 1978a, pp. 11 – 27.Google Scholar
  13. Bostrom, R., and Heinen, S. “MIS Problems and Failures: A Socio-Technical Approach: Part 2: The Application of Socio-Technical Theory, ” MIS Quarterly (1:4), 1978b, pp. 17 – 32.Google Scholar
  14. Brewer, J., and Hunter, A. Multi-Method Research A Synthesis of Styles. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1989.Google Scholar
  15. Bridges, W. JobShift: How to Prosper in a Workplace without Jobs. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley, 1994.Google Scholar
  16. Brinberg, D., and McGrath, J. Validity and Research Process. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, 1984.Google Scholar
  17. Burkhardt, M. “Social Interaction Effects Following a Technological Change: A Longitudinal Investigation, ” Academy of Management Journal (37: 4 ), 1994, pp. 869 – 898.Google Scholar
  18. Campbell, D., and Stanley, J. Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs for Research. Chicago: Rand-McNally, 1966.Google Scholar
  19. Checkland, P., and Scholes, J. Soft Systems Methodology in Action. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1990.Google Scholar
  20. Clement, A. “Computing at Work: Empowering Action By ‘Low-level Users, ’” Communications of the ACM (37:1), 1994, pp. 52 – 63.Google Scholar
  21. Collins, P., and King, D. “Implications of Computer-Aided Design for Work and Performance, ” The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science (12:2), 1988, pp. 173 – 190.Google Scholar
  22. Creswell, J. Research Design: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1994.Google Scholar
  23. Danzin, N. The Research Act: A Theoretical Introduction to Sociological Methods. Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company, 1970, pp. 297 – 313.Google Scholar
  24. Davenport, T. “Putting the Enterprise intro the Enterprise System,” Harvard Business Review, 1998, pp. 121 – 134.Google Scholar
  25. Dubinskas, F. Making Time: Ethnographies of High-Tech Organizations. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988.Google Scholar
  26. Eisenhardt, K. “Building Theories from Case Study Research,” Academy of Management Review (14: 4 ), 1989, pp. 532 - 550.Google Scholar
  27. Fairhurst, G., Green, S., and Courtright, J. “Inertial Forces and the Implementation of a SocioTechnical Systems Approach: A Communication Study,” Organization Science (6:2), 1995, pp. 168 - 185.Google Scholar
  28. Galbraith, J. “Organization Design: An Information Processing View, ” Interfaces (43), 1974, pp. 28-36.Google Scholar
  29. Gallivan, M. “Value in Triangulation: A Comparison of Two Approaches for Combining Quantitative and Qualitative Methods,” in Qualitative Method in Information Systems, A. Lee, J. Liebenau, and J. DeGross (eds). London: Chapman & Hall, 1997, pp. 83 – 107.Google Scholar
  30. Gasser, L. “The Integration of Computing and Routine Work,” ACM Transactions on Office Information Systems (43), 1986, pp. 205-225.Google Scholar
  31. Geertz, C. The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books, 1973.Google Scholar
  32. Giddens, A., and Turner, J. Social Theory Today. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1987. Glaser, B., and Strauss, A. The Discovery of Grounded Theory. New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1967.Google Scholar
  33. Glick, W., Huber, G., Miller, C., Doty, D., and Sutcliffe, K. “Studying Changes in Organizational Design and Effectiveness: Retrospective Event Histories and Periodic Assessments, ” Organization Science (1:3), 1990, pp. 293 – 312.Google Scholar
  34. Goodman, P., and Sproull, L. Technology and Organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1989.Google Scholar
  35. Grunow, D. “The Research Design in Organization Studies, ” Organization Science (6: 1 ), 1995, pp. 93 – 103.Google Scholar
  36. Guinan, P., Cooprider, J., and Sawyer, S. “The Effective Use of Automated Application Development Tools: A Four-Year Longitudinal Study of CASE,” IBM Systems Journal (38), 1997, pp. 124 – 141.Google Scholar
  37. Guinan, P., Cooprider, J., and Faraj, S. “Enabling Software Development Team Performance During Requirements Gathering: A Behavioral Versus Technical Approach, ” Information Systems Research (9:2), 1998, pp. 101 – 125.Google Scholar
  38. Henderson, J., and Venkatraman, N. “Strategic Alignment: A Model for Organizational Transformation via Information Technology,” in Transforming Organizations, T. Kockan and M. Useem (eds.). New York: Oxford Press, 1991.Google Scholar
  39. Holsapple, C., and Lou, W. “Organizational Computing Frameworks: Progress and Needs,” The Information Society (11:1), 1995, pp. 59 – 74.Google Scholar
  40. Howe, K., and Eisenhardt, M. “Standards for Qualitative and Quantitative Research: A Prolegomena, ” Educational Researcher (19:4), 1990, pp. 2 – 9.Google Scholar
  41. Hoyle, R. Structural Equation Modeling: Concepts, Issues Applications. San Francisco: Sage, 1995.Google Scholar
  42. Jackson, B. Field Work. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1987.Google Scholar
  43. Johnson, B., and Rice, R. Managing Organizational Innovation: The Evolution from Word Processing to Office Information Systems. New York: Columbia University Press, 1987.Google Scholar
  44. Jick, T. “Mixing Qualitative and Quantitative Methods: Triangulation in Action,” Administrative Science Quarterly (24), 1979, pp. 602 – 611.Google Scholar
  45. Kaplan, B., and Duchon, D. “Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Information Systems Research: A Case Study,” MIS Quarterly (12:4), 1988, pp. 571 – 586.Google Scholar
  46. Kelley, M. “New Process Technology, Job Design, and Work Organization: A Contingency Model,” American Sociological Review (55), 1990, pp. 209 – 223.Google Scholar
  47. Klein, K., Danserou, F., and Hall, R. “Level Issues in Theory Development, Data Collection, and Analysis,” Academy of Management Review (19:2), 1994, pp. 195 – 229.Google Scholar
  48. Kling, R. “Behind the Terminal: The Critical Role of Computing Infrastructure in Effective Information Systems’ Development and Use, ” in Challenges and Strategies for Research in Systems Development, W. Cotterman and J. Senn (eds.). London: John Wiley & Sons, 1992.Google Scholar
  49. Kling, R. Computerization and Controversy. San Diego: Academic Press, 1995.Google Scholar
  50. Kling, R. “Defining Boundaries of Computing Across Complex Organizations, ” in Critical Issues in Information Systems, R. Boland and R. Hirschheim (eds.). New York: John-Wiley & Sons, 1987.Google Scholar
  51. Kling, R. “Social Analyses of Computing: Theoretical Perspectives in Recent Empirical Research, ” Computing Surveys (12:1), 1980, pp. 61 – 110.Google Scholar
  52. Kling, R., and Iacono, S. “The Control of Information Systems Development after Implementation, ” Communications of the ACM (27:12), 1984, pp. 1218 – 1226.Google Scholar
  53. Kling, R., and Scacchi, W. “The Web of Computing: Computing Technology as Social Organization, ” Advances in Computers ( 21 ). New York: Academic Press, 1982.Google Scholar
  54. Koppel, R. “The Computer System and the Hospital: Organizational Power and the Control of Information, ” in Software By Design: Shaping Technology and the Workplace, H. Salzman and S. Rosenthal (eds.). New York: Oxford University Press, 1994, pp. 143 – 170.Google Scholar
  55. Kraut, R., Dumais, S., and Koch, S. “Computerization, Productivity, and the Quality of Work-Life, ” Communications of the ACM (32:2), 1989, pp. 220 – 228.Google Scholar
  56. Laudon, K., and Marr, K. “Information Technology and Occupational Structure,” Proceedings of the 1995 AIS Americas Conference, Pittsburgh, PA: Association for Information Systems, 1995, pp. 166 – 168.Google Scholar
  57. Lee, A. “A Scientific Methodology for MIS Case Studies, ” MIS Quarterly (13: 1 ), 1989, pp. 32 – 50.Google Scholar
  58. Lee, H. “Time and Information Technology: Monochronicity, Polychronicity and Temporal Symmetry,” European Journal of Information Systems (8:1), 1999, pp. 16 – 26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Lee, A., Liebenau, J., and De Gross, J. (eds.). Information Systems and Qualitative Research. London: Chapman & Hall, 1997.Google Scholar
  60. Lee, A., and Markus, L. “Special Call for Longitudinal Research, ” MIS Quarterly, 1995.Google Scholar
  61. Leonard-Barton, D. “A Dual Methodology for Case Studies: Synergistic Use of a Longitudinal Single Site with Replicated Multiple Sites,” Organization Science (1:3), 1990, pp. 248 – 266.Google Scholar
  62. Lincoln, Y. “Emerging Criteria for Quality in Qualitative and Evaluative Research, ” Qualitative Inquiry (1: 3 ), 1995, pp. 275 – 289.Google Scholar
  63. Manning, P. “Information Technology in the Police Context: The ‘Sailor’ Phone,” Information Systems Research (7:1), 1996, pp. 52 – 62.Google Scholar
  64. March, J., and Simon, H. Organizations. New York: Wiley, 1958.Google Scholar
  65. Markus, M. “Power, Politics and MIS Implementation,” Communications of the ACM (26:6), 1983, pp. 430 – 444.Google Scholar
  66. Markus, M., and Robey, D. “Information Technology and Organizational Change: Causal Structure in Theory and Research,” Management Science (34:5), 1988, pp. 583 – 598.Google Scholar
  67. Merton, R. On Theoretical Sociology. New York: The Free Press, 1967.Google Scholar
  68. Miles, M. “Qualitative Data as an Attractive Nuisance: The Problem of Analysis,” Administrative Science Quarterly (24), 1979, pp. 590 – 610.Google Scholar
  69. Miles, M., and Huberman, M. Qualitative Data Analysis, 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1994.Google Scholar
  70. Miller, D. Handbook of Research Design and Social Measurement. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1991.Google Scholar
  71. Mintzberg, H. “An Emerging Strategy of ‘Direct’ Research, ” Administrative Science Quarterly (24), 1979, pp. 582 – 589.Google Scholar
  72. Mumford, E., Hirschheim, R., Fitzgerald, G., and Wood-Harper, T. (eds.). Research Methods in Information Systems. Amsterdam: North-Holland, 1984.Google Scholar
  73. Nissen, H-E., Klein, H., and Hirschheim, R. (eds.). Information Systems Research: Contemporary Approaches and Emergent Traditions. Amsterdam: North-Holland, 1991.Google Scholar
  74. Orlikowski, W. “Learning from Notes: Organizational Issues in Groupware Implementation,” The Information Society (9), 1991, pp. 237 – 250.Google Scholar
  75. Orlikowski, W. “Improvising Organizational Transformation Over Time: A Situated Change Perspective,” Information Systems Research (7:1), 1996, pp. 63 – 92.Google Scholar
  76. Orlikowski, W., and Baroudi, J. “Studying Information Technology in Organizations: Research Approaches and Assumptions, ” Information Systems Research (2:1), 1991, pp. 1 – 28.Google Scholar
  77. Pacanowsky, M. “Communication in the Empowering Organization,” in Communication Yearbook (11), J. Anderson (ed.), 1988, pp. 356 – 379.Google Scholar
  78. Pedhauzer, E., and Schmelkin, L. Measurement, Design and Analysis. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1991.Google Scholar
  79. Pentland, B. “Organizing Moves in Software Support Hot Lines,” Administrative Science Quarterly (31), 1992, pp. 527 – 548.Google Scholar
  80. Pettigrew, A. “Longitudinal Field Research on Change: Theory and Practice, ” Organization Science (1: 3 ), 1990, pp. 267 – 292.Google Scholar
  81. Popper, N. The Logic of Scientific Discovery. New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1968.Google Scholar
  82. Robey, D. “Theories that Explain Contradiction,” Proceedings of the Sixteenth International Conference on Information Systems, J. I. DeGross, G. Ariav, C. Beath, R. Hoyer, and C. Kemerer (eds.), Amsterdam, The Netherlands, December 1995.Google Scholar
  83. Ruhleder, K. “Computerization and Changes to Infrastructures for Knowledge Work,” The Information Society (11), 1995, pp. 131 – 144.Google Scholar
  84. Salzman, H. “Computer-Aided Design: Limitations in Automating Design and Drafting, ” IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management (36: 4 ), 1989, pp. 252 – 261.Google Scholar
  85. Sandstrom, A., and Sandstrom, P. “The Use and Misuse of Anthropological Methods in Library and Information Science Research,” The Library Quarterly (65: 2 ), 1995, pp. 161 – 199.Google Scholar
  86. Sawyer, S. “A Market Based Perspective on Software Development,” Communications of the ACM,forthcoming.Google Scholar
  87. Sawyer, S., and Southwick, R. “Implementing Client-Server: Issues from the Field,” in The International Office of the Future, B. Glasson, D. Vogel, P. Bots, and J. Nunamaker (eds). London: Chapman & Hall, 1996, pp. 287 – 298.Google Scholar
  88. Sawyer, S., and Southwick, R. “Transitioning to Client/Server: Using a Temporal Framework to Study Organizational Change,” in Information Systems and Qualitative Research, A. Lee, J. Liebenau, and J. De Gross (eds.). London: Chapman & Hall, 1997, pp. 343 – 361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Schein, E. Organizational Psychology, 3rd ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1980.Google Scholar
  90. Schön, D. The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. London: Temple Smith, 1983.Google Scholar
  91. Shulman, A., Penman, R., and Sless, D. “Putting Information Technology in its Place: Organizational Communication and the Human Infrastructure,” inApplied Social Psychology in Organizational Settings,J. Caroll (ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1992, pp. 155 – 192.Google Scholar
  92. Sieber, S. “The Integration of Fieldwork and Survey Methods,” American Journal of Sociology (78: 6 ), 1973, pp. 1335 - 1359.Google Scholar
  93. Sproull, L., and Goodman, P. “Technology and Organizations: Integration and Opportunities,” in Technology and Organizations, P. Goodman and L. Sproull, (eds.). San Francisco: JosseyBass, 1989, 254 – 266.Google Scholar
  94. Sproull, L., and Kiesler, S. Connections: New Ways of Working in the Networked Organization. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991.Google Scholar
  95. Star, S., and Ruhleder, K. “Steps Toward and Ecology of Infrastructure: Design and Access for Large Information Spaces,” Information Systems Research (7:1), 1996, pp. 111 – 134.Google Scholar
  96. Sutton, R., and Staw, B. “What Theory is Not,” Administrative Science Quarterly (40), 1995, pp. 371 – 384.Google Scholar
  97. Trauth, E., and O’Cbnner, B. “A Study of the Interaction Between Information, Technology and Society: An Illustration of Combined Qualitative Research Methods,” in Information Systems Research: Contemporary Approaches and Emergent Traditions, H-E. Nissen, H. Klein, and R. Hirschheim, (eds.). Amsterdam: North-Holland, 1991, pp. 131 – 144.Google Scholar
  98. Truex, D., Baskerville, R., and Klein, H. “Growing Systems in Emergent Organizations,” Communications of The ACM(42:8), 1999, pp. 117 – 124.Google Scholar
  99. Van Maanen, J. “Crossroads: Style as Theory,” Organization Science (6: 1 ), 1995a, pp. 132 – 143.Google Scholar
  100. Van Maanen, J. “Fear and Loathing in Organizational Studies,” Organization Science (6: 6 ), 1995b, pp. 687 – 692.Google Scholar
  101. Van Maanen, J. Tales of the Field. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.Google Scholar
  102. Vaughan, D. “Theory Elaboration: The Heuristics of Case Analysis, ” in What is A Case: Exploring the Foundations of Social Inquiry, C. Ragin and H. Becker (eds.). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. 1992.Google Scholar
  103. Walsham, G. “The Emergence of Interpretivism in IS Research, ” Information Systems Research (6: 4 ), 1995, pp. 376 - 394.Google Scholar
  104. Weick, K. “What Theory is Not: Theorizing Is,” Administrative Science Quarterly (40), 1995, pp. 385-390.Google Scholar
  105. Weizenbaum, J. Computer Power and Human Reason. New York: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1976.Google Scholar
  106. Wigand, R., Picot, A., and Reichwald, R. Information, Organization and Management. London: Wiley Interscience. 1997.Google Scholar
  107. Williams, D. “Naturalistic Evaluation: Potential Conflicts Between Evaluation Standards and Criteria for Conducting Naturalistic Inquiry,” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis (8: 1 ), 1986, pp. 87 - 99.Google Scholar
  108. Wilson, F. “Managerial Control Strategies within the Networked Organization, ” Information Technology and People (83: 3 ), 1995, pp. 57 – 72.Google Scholar
  109. Wynekoop, J. “Strategies for Implementation Research: Combining Research Methods,” in Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Conference on Information Systems, J. I. DeGross, J. D. Becker, and J. J. Elam, Dallas, Texas, December 1992, pp. 185 – 194.Google Scholar
  110. Yates, J. Control Through Communication: The Rise of System in American Management. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1988.Google Scholar
  111. Yates, J., and Van Maanen, J. “Editorial Notes for the Special Issue,” Information Systems Research (7: 4 ), 1996, pp. 1 – 4.Google Scholar
  112. Yanow, D. “Crossroads: Writing Organizational Tales: Four Authors and Their Stories About Culture,” Organization Science (6: 2 ), 1995, pp. 224 – 237.Google Scholar
  113. Yin, R. Case Study Research, 2nd ed. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, 1989.Google Scholar
  114. Zuboff, S. In the Age of the Smart Machine. New York: Basic Books, 1988.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steve Sawyer
    • 1
  1. 1.Pennsylvania State UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations