This project develops a new approach to the study of the acquisition and implementation of information technology (IT) into organisations by analysing it as a process of consumption. The project combines and develops perspectives taken from the sociology of consumption, feminist analyses of technology and organisations and social studies of technology.
The objective has been to determine how users respond to new IT systems, how they come to define their value over time and how these evaluations are reflected, if at all, in system designers' and purchasers' assumptions about user needs. This has been done through a comparative study of the acquisition of management information systems in three distinct organisational contexts: a set of hospital labs, a national UK retailer and a British university.
The research has examined the ways in which technology acquisition and implementation form a process that is locally mediated and extended in time. We suggest that particular aspects of organisational life are significant in mediating the processes studied. These factors include: gender norms and identity, organisational cultures, and professional knowledge and skill.
Key conclusions to the study include:
Janice Mclaughlin, Paul Rosen, David Skinner, Andrew Webster. Funding Body: ESRC, 1995-8