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Inertia in Sociotechnical Systems: On IT-related Change Processes in Organisations
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology, Division of Visual Information and Interaction. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology, Computerized Image Analysis and Human-Computer Interaction.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2534-4937
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The introduction of new information technology (IT) in an organisation is one way of changing the conditions for how tasks and work processes can be designed and performed, as well as how people in the organisation interact with each other. Today, many Swedish workers rely completely on IT to be able to perform their jobs, while experiencing a combination of continuous and intermittent IT-related changes that affect this ability.

The introduction of new or updated IT systems in an organisation is an example of what is referred to as an IT-related change process in this thesis. Because IT has become such an integral part of modern organisations, many change processes in organisations are simultaneously enabled and constrained by the IT systems involved in a change process. In this thesis, I introduce the concept of inertia in sociotechnical systems to analyse IT-related change processes in organisations, and how achieving the goals of these processes is complicated by organisational, social, and physical aspects in addition to technology.

The context of this thesis is the Swedish public sector domains of health-care and higher education, and the result of research studies and experiences from four action research projects in these settings. The contribution of this thesis adds to the contributions of the included papers through the definition of inertia in sociotechnical systems and its subsequent application. The thesis shows that the concept of inertia in sociotechnical systems can be used to understand IT-related change processes as changes to the characteristics of a sociotechnical system, and, in the context of organisations, how these processes affect and are affected by an organisation’s characteristics. This is illustrated in the thesis through the application of the concept on examples of IT-related change processes from the included papers and research projects. In addition, the thesis shows that the use of vision seminar methods can benefit Swedish organisations, since new IT is often introduced without clearly defined, expressed, understood, and accepted goals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2017. , 86 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1531
Keyword [en]
Human-Computer Interaction, User-Centred Design, Participatory Design, Organisational Change, IT-related Change Processes, Action Research, Inertia, Sociotechnical Systems, Vision Seminars
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Research subject
Computer Science with specialization in Human-Computer Interaction
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-326799ISBN: 978-91-513-0010-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-326799DiVA: diva2:1128834
Public defence
2017-09-15, ITC 2446, Polacksbacken, hus 2, Lägerhyddsv. 2, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-08-24 Created: 2017-07-29 Last updated: 2017-09-08
List of papers
1. Mind the gap: Towards a framework for analysing the deployment of IT systems from a sociotechnical perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mind the gap: Towards a framework for analysing the deployment of IT systems from a sociotechnical perspective
2013 (English)In: Past History and Future Challenges of Human Work Interaction Design: Generating Cross-domain Knowledge about Connecting Work Analysis and Interaction Design, South Africa: University of Cape Town , 2013, 28-33 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Deployment of IT is little discussed in research literature, despite the fact that a successful deployment encompasses complexities and difficulties well worth investigating. The deployment phase of IT systems can be a make-or-break moment for usefulness of the system due to sociotechnical factors. We argue that there is a gap between the technological artefact produced and the social requirements that govern how well the system will fit in the organisation. Hence, in this work in progress paper we present a framework (the SOT framework) for analysing deployment of IT from a sociotechnical perspective.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
South Africa: University of Cape Town, 2013
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-225885 (URN)978-0-620-58037-3 (ISBN)
Conference
INTERACT 2013 Workshop
Projects
DOME
Available from: 2013-09-02 Created: 2014-06-09 Last updated: 2017-07-29Bibliographically approved
2. Evaluation of User Adoption during Three Module Deployments of Region-wide Electronic Patient Record Systems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evaluation of User Adoption during Three Module Deployments of Region-wide Electronic Patient Record Systems
2014 (English)In: International Journal of Medical Informatics, ISSN 1386-5056, E-ISSN 1872-8243, Vol. 83, no 6, 438-449 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND:

In Sweden there are modular region-wide EPR systems that are implemented at various health organisations in the region. The market is dominated by four IT systems that have been procured and deployed in 18 out of 21 regions.

METHODS:

In a 2.5-year research study, deployments of three region-wide EPR modules: a patient administration system, eReferral module and eMedication module were followed and evaluated. Health professionals, EPR maintenance organisation, IT and health care managers were observed, interviewed and responded to questionnaires.

RESULTS:

Although the same deployment process was used during the three deployments, large variations in the units' adoptions were observed. The variations were due to: (1) expectation and attitude, (2) management and steering, (3) end-user involvement, (4) EPR learning, and (5) usability and the possibility of changing and improving the EPR.

CONCLUSIONS:

If changes in work processes are not considered in development and deployment, the potential benefits will not be achieved. It is therefore crucial that EPR deployment is conceived as organisational development. Users must be supported not just before and during the go-live phase, but also in the post-period. A problem often encountered is that it is difficult to make late changes in a region-wide EPR, and it is an open question whether it is possible to talk about a successful deployment if the usability of the introduced system is low.

National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Research subject
Human-Computer Interaction; Medical Informatics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-196508 (URN)10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2014.02.003 (DOI)000335903400005 ()24630924 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2013-03-11 Created: 2013-03-11 Last updated: 2017-07-29Bibliographically approved
3. Development of novel eHealth services for citizen use: Current system engineering vs. best practice in HCI
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Development of novel eHealth services for citizen use: Current system engineering vs. best practice in HCI
2013 (English)In: Human-Computer Interaction – INTERACT 2013: Part II, Springer Berlin/Heidelberg, 2013, 372-379 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Berlin/Heidelberg, 2013
Series
Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 8118
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-210076 (URN)10.1007/978-3-642-40480-1_24 (DOI)000342898400024 ()978-3-642-40479-5 (ISBN)
Conference
INTERACT 2013, September 2–6, Cape Town, South Africa
Projects
DOME
Funder
Vinnova, 2012-02233
Available from: 2013-09-04 Created: 2013-10-30 Last updated: 2017-07-29Bibliographically approved
4. Things take time: Establishing usability work in a university context
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Things take time: Establishing usability work in a university context
2015 (English)In: European Journal of Higher Education IT, ISSN 2409-1340, Vol. 2, no 1Article in journal (Refereed) Published
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-230312 (URN)
Available from: 2014-06-11 Created: 2014-08-22 Last updated: 2017-08-10Bibliographically approved
5. Swinging machetes in the jungle: Technological frames, ICT leaders, and user centred perspectives
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Swinging machetes in the jungle: Technological frames, ICT leaders, and user centred perspectives
2017 (English)In: Behaviour & Information Technology, ISSN 0144-929XArticle in journal (Other academic) Submitted
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-326798 (URN)
Available from: 2017-07-29 Created: 2017-07-29 Last updated: 2017-09-11Bibliographically approved
6. Students envisioning the future
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Students envisioning the future
Show others...
2016 (English)In: Proc. 46th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, Piscataway, NJ: IEEE Press, 2016Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

How can students be included as critical stakeholders in the systems and services provided by a university? To address the whole student experience, we engaged students and employees at a large Swedish university in a vision seminar process to elicit how these groups envisioned an ideal future university, and the necessary changes to technology and organisational structures required to achieve this ideal version. The process entailed six four-hour workshops with four groups consisting of six participants each. A survey instrument was used to follow up on the participants' experiences of participating in the vision seminar process and their thoughts on the future of the university. The results show that the participating students were more positive compared to the university employees. The students envisioned harmonized interdepartmental systems, seamlessly integrating a variety of services into one university provided solution. The employees envisioned their future work as flexible, enabled by technology providing excellent support without hindering pedagogical and organisational development. Using technological frames, these visions of the future are identified, analysed and discussed in relation to the quality of university education and a holistic view on students' university experience. Finally we discuss the broader implications of the visions on the future of university education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Piscataway, NJ: IEEE Press, 2016
National Category
Computer and Information Science Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-311004 (URN)10.1109/FIE.2016.7757701 (DOI)000392331500349 ()978-1-5090-1790-4 (ISBN)
Conference
FIE 2016, October 12–15, Erie, PA
Available from: 2016-12-01 Created: 2016-12-20 Last updated: 2017-07-29Bibliographically approved
7. What is the use of vision seminars?: An evaluation from the perspective of participants and stakeholders
Open this publication in new window or tab >>What is the use of vision seminars?: An evaluation from the perspective of participants and stakeholders
2017 (English)In: Behaviour & Information Technology, ISSN 0144-929XArticle in journal (Other academic) Submitted
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-326797 (URN)
Available from: 2017-07-29 Created: 2017-07-29 Last updated: 2017-09-11Bibliographically approved

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