The influence of organisational culture and organisational control on the diffusion of a management information system
2013-08-22T13:22:57Z (GMT) by
The aim of this thesis is to provide an original interpretative understanding of the role of organisational culture and organisational control on the diffusion of a Management Information Systems (MIS). An extensive literature review has revealed a lack of synthesis between organisational culture and organisational control in the understanding of diffusion of an MIS. The literature review was two-fold: firstly, to examine the impact of organisational culture on IS diffusion and, secondly, to examine the impact of organisational control on IS diffusion. The first stage of the review revealed that there are a number of studies on IS diffusion in relation to culture at the organisational level but a relatively fewer studies at the sub-organisational or subcultural level. The second stage of the review highlights that there is also a significant number of studies that have applied the control concept to investigating phenomena related to IS diffusion, e.g. IT adoptions and IT implementations, but very few have explicitly applied the control concept to IT implementations outcomes, i.e. IT diffusion. The review also suggested that there is scarce empirical research on IS diffusion from the twin perspectives of culture and control. Using an interpretive case study approach, this thesis was able to collect rich data, underpinned by Martin’s (1992) conceptualisation of organisational culture, i.e. integration and differentiation, and Kirsch's (1997) and Ouchi's (1979) conceptualisation of organisational controls. These conceptualisations served as interpretive lenses to unearth the dynamic relationship of the application of formal controls on diverging subcultures during staff interactions and use of an MIS during the adaptation, acceptance and routinization stages of Cooper and Zmud's (1990) IT Implementation Model. The thesis' results highlight a number of contributions to knowledge. Firstly, a contribution is made in the area of IS diffusion research by proposing a conceptual model for IS diffusion. The model offers explanations on how IS diffusion could be achieved despite the existence of diverging subcultures when formal control mechanisms are applied, an implication that suggests that the IS diffusion path may not be smooth and linear but an iterative process. Secondly, a contribution is made in the area of organisational culture and organisational control theories. This thesis' results indicate that during the implementation of an MIS, staffespoused cultural values changed, highlighting that the culture may not be always stable, and difficult to change. The thesis helps re-conceptualise the existing typology on outcome control by indicating that outcome control, which is conceptualised as deliberate and forceful in nature, could also, unlike behaviour control, be exercised in measures that do not need to coerce or be forceful. Further, the thesis highlights that sanctions rather than rewards were more effective in the application of controls during the diffusion attempts of an IS. Finally, the research contributes to knowledge in the area of practice. This study provides insights on how managers may apply organisational controls to align diverging subgroup members' actions towards integrative behaviours during an IS implementation process, therefore facilitating the attainment of successful IS diffusion.