A walk on the soft side: organizational analysis as a means to more effective ICT adoption and use

David Wainwright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over a decade of independent academic research studies, official government audits and industrial reports and anecdotes now provide substantive evidence that main information and communication technology [ICT] systems either completely fail or more commonly do not provide their originally stated benefits to individuals, groups or organizations. Many of these findings point to a significant lack of emphasis in dealing with complex organizational factors associated with major ICT adoption. Typically, most of the analytical planning and resource emphasis is directed towards the technical and strategic aspects of the information systems design, development [or procurement], implementation and use. This paper will argue that much greater emphasis must be placed on developing the domain of organizational analysis to better understand ICT implementation issues concerned with structure, social and historical context, power, politics and culture. A previous paper [Wainwright and Waring, 2004] proposed a strategic model incorporating three analytical domains [technology, strategy and organisation] for managing the implementation of integrated information systems. This paper further develops this model by exploring the organizational domain in greater depth in order to surface elements concerning structural, social/historical, power/political and cultural issues which may impact the outcome of any ICT adoption. Some candidate organizational analysis methods are identified and then discussed in terms of their potential as a means to address complex organizational problems associated with technically dominated approaches to ICT adoption. The paper concludes with a call for more honesty, integrity and innovatory practice within organizations to provide more transparency for critical organizational problems and issues that need to be addressed prior to, during and after ICT adoption.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-86
JournalNorthumbria Working Paper Series: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Built and Virtual Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008


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