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An emergent, multi-level model of the systems development process

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Hocking, LJ (1998) An emergent, multi-level model of the systems development process. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

While systems development projects have become associated with increasingly
sophisticated technologies and organisational changes, the models underlying the
process have not kept pace. The Legislation Systems Project (LSP) is an example of
a recent project where computerised technology was employed to improve the
creation of and access to legislation. This project was substantially delayed due to
unforeseen technical complexity and user acceptance was an ongoing concern. It will
de demonstrated that the underlying model of process, which broadly reflects the
dominant model of current best practice, is strongly linked with these problems.
This dissertation introduces and describes a multi-level process model which provides
an in-depth exposé of the systems development process. This model reflects the
closely intertwined nature of the content, context and process of change (Pettigrew
1985) and the interconnected relationship between the micro, macro and institutional
levels of change.
As illustrated by descriptions of the LSP, the process can be viewed as the negotiation
of meaning and interest at a micro level. This involves active participation, the
creation and sustainment of coalitions of commitment and the application of authority
and expertise. This analysis builds on the work of Walsham and others who have
suggested the process of systems development should be viewed primarily as social
interaction.
However, there are other levels of analysis which should be considered. Process
implies change over time and Giddens' (1979) three levels of temporality provide a
framework for a multi-level model of the systems development process.
At an institutional level, Giddens' structuration theory provides a useful framework
for describing the manner in which change is deeply embedded in its organisational
context and facilitates the creation of new social institutions. Both this and the microlevel
processes can be described as emergent, both over time (chronologically) and in
terms of social relationships (hierarchically). This dissertation argues that the commonly used model of the process at a macro
level, the systems development lifecycle, is inadequate as it ignores the emergent
nature of the process at the micro and institutional level, the ongoing influence of the
organisational context and the socially negotiated nature of change. However, there
are existing alternative macro-level process models which do reflect both
chronological and hierarchical emergence and this dissertation suggests some
alternative ways of viewing system development initiatives such as the LSP.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Legislation Systems Project, Management information systems
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1998 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1998. Includes bibliographical references

Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2014 02:38
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2017 04:02
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