The Structuration Model of Organizational ICT Integration: From Involuntary Non-Use of New ICT at Work to Situated Learning
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This thesis consists of four parts; three separate although related articles in addition to the overall manuscript binding these studies together through a meta-study, presented first in this document. The three articles are in appendices 1-3, respectively. This summary covers the main manuscript, of which analyses build on the findings of the three separate studies. The thesis builds on the activities of a fouryear project in the Norwegian power grid industry including three case organizations. Over the past three decades, the industry has undergone substantial change projects, initiated by the privatization of the market and increased competition in 1991. Digitalization was early seen as the key to more efficient operations. After a recession with considerable downsizing, the companies had regained much of their market shares and were lacking skilled workers in the beginning of the new millennium. The three case companies were highly homogeneous and all contained three main employee groups; managers, planners, and installers. ICT non-use was not a topic at the start of the project. On the contrary, the aim of the project was to study ICT use and ICT development in the Norwegian power grid industry. Sometime into the project, it was discovered that the case companies struggled with a considerable amount of underutilization of the new ICT, in particular by the installers. Unveiling the nature and causes of this underutilization therefore became an important focus of the project. The planners were proficient ICT users while the installers were novices in the use of ICT. This thesis explores these group level differences in ICT use between managers and especially planners on one side, and installers on the other. Rather than automatically placing itself within the traditional acceptance and resistance frameworks, this thesis acknowledges and partly builds on important theories within these perspectives, but also looks beyond them in order to understand more of the complexity inherent in ICT-use and ICT non-use. Through the study of power differences between ICT experts and ICT novices, critical managerial behaviors during organizational ICT integration, and the interplay between ICT, organizational processes, and inherent employee needs, the three separate articles look at the phenomena of use and non-use from different angles. In the meta-synthesis the effects of the structuration processes of the organizational structures of domination, legitimation and significance – including technology, (Giddens, 1984; Orlikowski, 1992) on use and non-use is investigated, building on the findings from the three separate studies. Based on a broad review of earlier research a preliminary structuration model of organizational ICT integration is constructed and further refined through the meta-analysis and discussion. In particular, the structuration model of organizational ICT integration combines structuration theory and the theory of self-determination in order to show how the use and non-use of new ICT can be created through adequate or inadequate patterns of organizational structures. The influence of these adequate or inadequate structural patterns is above all significant for the satisfaction of employees' inherent needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness, important for the internalization of any new behavior. More specifically, the interpretation of findings across the three separate studies couples structures of domination – the distribution of power in the organization – with autonomy; structures of legitimation – the norms that legitimate actions and patterns – with relatedness; and structures of significance – the creation of meaning – with competence. Although such a categorization clearly is a simplification of reality, it highlights the interdependencies between technological, organizational and employee factors in the development of integrated ICT user practices. The thesis concludes that an inadequate structural pattern will impede behavioral internalization and create ICT non-use. An adequate structural pattern furthers behavioral internalization of new user practices, as it constitutes an organizational environment suitable for situated learning and the development of new user practices that are well integrated with work tasks and work processes. In the thesis – due to the challenges identified in the three case companies – the non-use of new ICT at work is given additional attention. ICT non-use has commonly been more or less automatically referred to as resistance to new ICT, or commonly, attributed to parallel organizational changes assumed to affect employees' work situation negatively. This thesis explores the notion of involuntary non-use of new ICT at work. In order for ICT non-use to be defined as involuntary, the ICT in question should in general be accepted by employees in that they express positive attitudes towards it and its use. Further, the ICT non-use should be characterized by the absence of resistance. While resistance can be described as deliberate, rooted in internal perceptions, and directed towards a specific phenomenon related to the ICT or parallel changes, involuntary non-use is accidental, created by external conditions that are outside employee control, and general – it pertains to most aspects of the new ICT and its relation to work tasks and processes. Involuntary non-use can be institutionalized by inadequate organizational structural patterns that hamper the development and internalization of new work practices that integrate use of the new ICT. The development of user practices is here understood as situated change through situated learning – it takes place in employees' everyday work through continuous interaction with the new ICT.