Informationsteknologi i organisationer : bestämningsfaktorer och mönster
Sammanfattning: Researchers in this field have placed different emphasis on the structural constraints visa- vis the freedom of the actors. An awareness that IT is a social construction does not necessarily mean that some individual actor or actor entity can perform freely. An inflexible, tightly structured social situation can considerably limit the action space. Actors are hemmed in by "objective" circumstances, ie, a rather closely controlled situation established by other actors, and which is apparently unyielding in the face of technological decisions.By creating a perspective that addresses both structural and actor aspects, this study attempts a holistic understanding which will lay bare the probable dialectic process between the changeable and the nonchangeable. This aspiration to comprehend the whole, when viewed against the complex character of the subject, calls for an understanding oriented approach.The study at hand deals with the choice of information technology in organizations, with special focus on automatic data processing (ADP) for administrative purposes. Its main aim is to improve an understanding of factors that determine the choice of ADP technology in organizations.The empirical section of the work at hand consists of two case studies and an overview study. The case studies, which concern two extensive ADP projects, are emphasized. The purpose of these two projects was to raise the degree of computerization and to choose both a configuration and degree of uniformity. In both cases however the configuration turned out to be the most critical issue. One concerned the administration of social insurance in Sweden, Rationalisering av den allmänna försäkringens administration (Rationalization of the Swedish social insurance administration), hereafter called the RAFA project. The other case study, referred to here as the FFV study, deals with an administrative system for the manufacturing sector of the FFV Group The overview study, called the Norrköping study, deals mainly with the technological level and the ADP configuration in a wide spectrum of organizations. The level and the configuration are viewed against an overarching organizational structure, the worksite placement of qualified ADP staff, the line of business and the size of the firm. The study consists of an opinion poll and three delimited secondary studies.In the initial stage of each project, rational motives dominated. These were founded on cost and effect assessments and on developments in the field of computer science. From a structural viewpoint, investments in computers seemed self-evident; efficiency goals were paramount. However, an ADP undertaking entails not only rationalization in the conventional sense, it also brings to the ideational aspects inherent in the organization. While ADP technology was believed necessary, it became, in the preplanning and argumentation phase, a means of projecting socially determined concepts and goals. An ADP solution was sought which would combine the latest innovations in computer science with the dominant actors' organizational ideas.The dominant actors at FFV were for the most part newly appointed managers, imprinted with other organizational ideals and relationships than those characterizing FFV. The choice stood between a departure from company tradition by selecting a solution based on local minicomputers, or expanding the existing centralized main frame facility. The critics were specialists who had taken part in the design of the existing configuration. At FFV, the structural determinants had to be toned down in favor of the deliberate performance of the dominant actors. In the RAF A case, the opposite was true. The critics wanted a certain change of existing circumstances, while the dominant actors sought to preserve status quo and its underlying ideas. In the RAF A case, ADP thus became a cementing force rather than the catalyst.The Norrkoping study clearly indicates that the direction and size of an enterprise has primary importance for how much the computers are used. The ADP configuration appearance varies mainly with the organizational relationships. This is true for the placement of ADP staff and the overall structure of the organization. The main tendency is that the configuration reflects the relationships in an organization. This supports the view in the case studies that proximity to and control of the ADP has a major organizational value.
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