Information System ProcessInnovation Adoption, Adaptation, Learning, and Unlearning: A Longitudinal Case Study
Mustonen-Ollila, Erja Birgitta (2005)
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Mustonen-Ollila, Erja Birgitta
Acta Universitatis Lappeenrantaensis
This thesis examines the history and evolution of information system process innovation (ISPI) processes (adoption, adaptation, and unlearning) within the information system development (ISD) work in an internal information system (IS) department and in two IS software house organisations in Finland over a 43-year time-period. The study offers insights into influential actors and their dependencies in deciding over ISPIs. The research usesa qualitative research approach, and the research methodology involves the description of the ISPI processes, how the actors searched for ISPIs, and how the relationships between the actors changed over time. The existing theories were evaluated using the conceptual models of the ISPI processes based on the innovationliterature in the IS area. The main focus of the study was to observe changes in the main ISPI processes over time. The main contribution of the thesis is a new theory. The term theory should be understood as 1) a new conceptual framework of the ISPI processes, 2) new ISPI concepts and categories, and the relationships between the ISPI concepts inside the ISPI processes. The study gives a comprehensive and systematic study on the history and evolution of the ISPI processes; reveals the factors that affected ISPI adoption; studies ISPI knowledge acquisition, information transfer, and adaptation mechanisms; and reveals the mechanismsaffecting ISPI unlearning; changes in the ISPI processes; and diverse actors involved in the processes. The results show that both the internal IS department and the two IS software houses sought opportunities to improve their technical skills and career paths and this created an innovative culture. When new technology generations come to the market the platform systems need to be renewed, and therefore the organisations invest in ISPIs in cycles. The extent of internal learning and experiments was higher than the external knowledge acquisition. Until the outsourcing event (1984) the decision-making was centralised and the internalIS department was very influential over ISPIs. After outsourcing, decision-making became distributed between the two IS software houses, the IS client, and itsinternal IT department. The IS client wanted to assure that information systemswould serve the business of the company and thus wanted to co-operate closely with the software organisations.
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