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A Practice Perspective on Organizational Implementation of Information Technology

Riikka Vuokko, A Practice Perspective on Organizational Implementation of Information Technology. TUCS Dissertations 132. Turku Centre for Computer Science, 2010.


The organizational implementation of an information technology begins with the idea of a new information system and ends when it is no longer in the focus of attention. It is a slow and convoluted process that affects all members of the organization. Use of new information technology is expected to have a direct impact on work processes and everyday organizing of the work. However, information technology can be taken into use in various ways. This study examines the organizational implementation of an information system for managing home care visits. Personal digital assistants (PDAs) with client information were used for recording visit starts, endings, and special services.

This study explores the changes in work practices during the organizational implementation of the information system and how this transformation affected the workers. First, a practice perspective approach to the organizational implementation is developed. With this approach, work practices are defined as enacted, as a lived experience, where actions are informed by shared technologies, projects, identities, and interests. Work practices are embedded and routinized within the sociomaterial boundaries of working, and organizational power is manifested in the enacted practices.

This longitudinal ethnographic study followed the organizational implementation of the PDAs during 2001-2004. The care workers were repeatedly observed as they visited their clients and interacted with each other. They were also interviewed in order to attain a more detailed view of the rationalities both at work and in the implementation project. Related documents provided one more data source. With the data, from the practice perspective, the issues of the organizational implementation and change were scrutinized, as well as related themes of organizational power, control, and work identity.

The study shows how the new technology was gradually fitted into the home care after the initial resistance. During this organizational implementation, work practices and attitudes previously taken for granted were questioned as the material environment was transformed. The practice perspective approach emphasizes the workers as agents of change without marginalizing them. The contributions to practice propose realistic implementation goals, importance of peer support and feedback, and acceptance of the unexpected.


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BibTeX entry:

  title = {A Practice Perspective on Organizational Implementation of Information Technology},
  author = {Vuokko, Riikka},
  number = {132},
  series = {TUCS Dissertations},
  school = {Turku Centre for Computer Science},
  year = {2010},
  keywords = {organizational implementation, practice perspective, ethnography, mobile technology, home care, PDA},
  ISBN = {978-952-12-2520-8},

Belongs to TUCS Research Unit(s): Institute for Advanced Management Systems Research (IAMSR)

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