This book provides one of the first clear-headed assessments of information technology and organizational transformation. Its virtue is not so much in its recognition of the importance of the subject; speculations on this topic have been rampant for more than a decade. Rather, it is unusual and unusually useful, because it avoids speculation in favor of conceptually coherent accounts grounded in empirical study of actual organizations. The chapters contained in this volume move beyond the superficial glorification of information technology as an extraordinary instrument of social change, and straight to the heart of the mechanisms of change as they play out in everyday organizational life. In the process, they reaffirm that the real story of information technology in organizations is more about people than about technology. Taken together, they provide an important contribution to the intellectual foundations of one of the most interesting developments in decades.
Information Technology and Organizational Transformation consists of three parts. The first consists of studies that take an historical perspective on informational technology and organizational transformation. The second set of chapters deals with the rhetoric of information technology and organizational transformation. The third section concerns the practices that emerge when a new information technology is made available to organizational members. Do practices change? How so? These are the questions that in our view are central to any serious consideration of organizational transformation.
This volume contains several important articles first published in the Spring 1996 special issue of ISR co-edited by Yates and Van Maanen, and subsequently in several cases updated for this volume. In addition, four new articles were added and the book was divided into the three sections highlighted in the subtitle: history, rhetoric, and practice. New articles include three focused on the rhetoric surrounding IT and organizational change: Suzanne Iacono and Robert Kling on "...The Rise of the Internet and Distant Forms of Work"; by John R. Weeks, on IT "...in a Culture of Complaint:...:; and Charles Bazerman on "Political Participation in the Age of the Internet." In addition, there is a paper in the Practice section by Brian Pentland, entitled "Big Brother Goes Portable: Enduser Computing in the Internal Revenue Service." Includes a preface by John King, now Dean of the School of Information, University of Michigan.