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2012 Seminars


21st Feb 2012 - 10:30 am

Venue: Meeting Room 11, Darlington Centre

Speaker: Assoc. Prof. Andrew Burton-Jones, Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia

Title: Two Studies on the Effective use of Information Systems

Information systems are designed and used to achieve certain objectives. However, achieving these objectives often requires that the systems are used effectively. This notion of 'effective use' is, therefore, an important phenomenon to understand. Surprisingly, it is a very under-researched phenomenon. In this presentation, I will describe two initial studies I have undertaken of this topic. The first is a conceptual study that presents a theory of effective use, offering a view on its nature (what it is) and its drivers (what can be done to improve it). The second is a grounded-theory study of the effective use of an electronic health record system used by health workers in a community care setting. This study sheds light on some of the complexities involved in defining, assessing, and improving effective use in real-life settings.

4th Apr 2012 - 10:00 am

Venue: Room 397, H04 - Merewether Building

Speaker: Olivera Marjanovic, University of Sydney

Title: "... Because we don't manufacture cars - we treat people!": Improving Knowledge-Intensive Health care Processes Beyond Efficiency

Health care has been one of the most important domains for Business Process Management (BPM) research and practice for many years. Through an exploratory case study conducted in a real organization named "SpecialClinic", this research aims to investigate what lies beyond process efficiency and traditional approaches to BP improvement for an industry leader with a very high-level of process automation. This presentation focuses on a complex example of customer-facing knowledge intensive BP and investigates the case organisation's approach to its ongoing improvement. The main findings of this research challenge the main objectives of BP improvement (i.e. reduced costs and improved efficiency) as they show that some organizations are making their "to-be" processes slower and more expensive, yet significantly improved in terms of quality of customer service.

In addition to the main research contribution related to new approaches to improvement of knowledge intensive BPs, this work offers some important lessons for the practitioners interested in expanding the current boundaries of BPM beyond efficiency and traditional BP improvement methods.

Based on Marjanovic O (2011) "Improving Knowledge-Intensive Health Care Processes Beyond Efficiency", 32nd International Conference on Information Systems ICIS 2011, Shanghai, China, 7th December 2011


9th May 2012 - 10:00 am

Venue: Room 214/215, H69 - Economics and Business Building

Speaker: Uri Gal, University of Sydney

Title: Designing collaborative infrastructures to support distributed work

A growing proportion of contemporary organizational work takes place in the context of distributed collaborative environments which involve the interaction of multiple organizations with distinct areas of expertise, technologies, and work practices. In this research-in-progress, we develop a three-part model of the facets of collaborative infrastructure that support such distributed collaborative environments. We argue that collaborative infrastructures inherently reflect the interplay of practices, artifacts, and discourse. Specifically, our model asserts that the development of shared practices and artifacts by organizations engaged in collaboration is mediated by the emergence of common discourses between the parties. The preliminary theorizing developed in this paper is based on multiple case study analyses of collaborative projects in the areas of architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) and software development and implementation. Our initial research suggests key areas of consideration by collaboration leaders in the development of collaborative infrastructures for distributed work.

20th Jun 2012 - 10:00 am

Venue: Room 214/215, H69 - Economics and Business Building

Speaker: Asif Qumer Gill, University of Sydney

Title: An Agile Approach to Context Aware Cloud Adaptation

Organizations have shown a significant interest in the adoption of cloud technology-enabled operating environment. While many organizations are interested in adopting cloud technology-enabled operating environment suitable to their local circumstances, there is little guidance available on how to do so. We propose the iterative development and evaluation of a context-aware cloud adaptation (CACA) framework construct, based on agile philosophy and Actor-Network-Theory, by applying a design science research approach. This framework, whilst still under development, can be useful in assisting organizations to develop self awareness of their cloud adoption readiness, while at the same time being able to iteratively self assess, adopt and improve an appropriate cloud technology-enabled operating environment for their business by obtaining, modeling, processing and managing contextual information for their economic and competitive advantage. This seminar presents our ongoing research in this emerging area of cloud technology-enabled business transformation and highlights how businesses can best deal with the challenge of context-aware cloud assessment, adoption and improvement.


18th Jul 2012 - 10:00 am

Venue: Room 214/215, H69 - Economics and Business Building

Speaker: Petri Hallikainen, University of Sydney

Title: Transformational Journey of a Retail Organisation Towards Bi-Influenced Strategy Creation

The research examines how the upward and downward strategic influence of the head of the BI unit in the case organization evolved over time and the BI perspective became legitimate in the organization. The analysis covers a decade long period of time. We engaged in an Action Research (AR) inquiry where the change process was explored through the first-hand experiences of one of the co-authors. The model of the strategic agency of middle managers was applied in the analysis. Our study demonstrates that a reciprocal relation between top management and head of the BI unit is necessary for enabling the interaction between BI and strategy making. This interaction capability could help organizations find those innovative solutions that make a difference in the market place and provide the competitive edge over the competitors.


15th Aug 2012 - 10:00 am

Venue: Darlington Centre School Building, Meeting Room 11

Speaker: Deborah Bunker, University of Sydney

Title: Historical Narrative: Understanding and Learning from IS Strategising Failure

This seminar will look at the historical narrative of an ICT outsourcing initiative by the Australian Federal government from 1996-2001. Three different narrative perspectives, which are embedded within the Perspectival ITS Management Model (PISTM - Bunker 2004), are utilised to highlight the "competing voices" (Curthoys & McGrath 2009) that ultimately contribute to the strategising failure. These narrative accounts were constructed through the examination of secondary data sources which documented the outsourcing initiative. Through this approach we learn that "whole of government" and individual departmental contextual assumptions were made regarding technological skill sets, system outcomes, conceptual expression, building techniques and organisational culture, which were different to those embedded in the artifacts created and used to produce the outsourcing strategy. It is explained how these differences in assumptions caused Federal Government ICT outsourcing to fail in 2001. It is then suggested how this narrative approach allows us to better understand and learn from what occurred in this case. 


12th Sep 2012 - 10:00 am

Venue: Darlington Centre School Building, Meeting Room 11

Speaker: Kai Riemer, University of Sydney

Title: Place-making: A Phenomenological Theory of Technology Appropriation

The topic of this talk is the introduction of new technologies into organisational practices. While IS textbooks conceive of IS introduction largely as a decision process, a body of literature has emerged characterizing the phenomenon as a time-extended appropriationprocess, whereby users adapt and integrate a technology into their everyday practices. However, research in this field, typically aimed at explaining the variation in (unintended) outcomes, has struggled to grasp how exactly both the technology and the practice change during appropriation. We argue that appropriation research has been limited by certain commitments at the ontology level to a widely held dualist worldview. Against this background we develop a phenomenological theory of appropriation based on Martin Heidegger's analysis of equipment. On this view, technology goes from being an object with properties when inspected upon first encounter, to a specific means for the enterprise of the practice, captured in the notion of equipment. Equivalently, we can say that technology moves from the foreground as a thing to be evaluated to the practice background where it lends intelligibility to other entities and events. We show that this transformation occurs through a practice of actively performed place-making in which the technology is accommodated in the practice among existing equipment, practical logics and social identities. We illustrate our theory with a rich case study of social media appropriation, making methodological use of the novel feature that self-referential user conversations are captured within the technology, providing access to direct evidence of the appropriation phenomenon. The paper contributes a more nuanced sociomaterial account of the simultaneous transformation of technology and practices occurring in technology introduction.


10th Oct 2012 - 10:00 am

Venue: Room 214/215, H69 - Economics and Business Building

Speaker: Corina Raduescu; Asif Qumer Gill, University of Sydney; University of Sydney

Title: Handling the Complexity of Information Systems Development Projects With Agile Methods

Traditional approaches to software and information systems development (ISD) cannot fulfil the challenges presented by the complexity inherent in today dynamic and changing environments. In this research we argue that ISD projects are socially complex endeavours and suggest that agile development methods display characteristics that justify them as being appropriate for such project environments. We suggest that one theory that justifies the appropriateness of agile methods in such contexts is the complex adaptive systems (CAS) theory. We do this by first, assessing the alignment between complex adaptive systems (CAS) and agile ISD principles, and second, by proposing a conceptual framework for handling complexity with agility. We therefore aim to shed some preliminary light and contribute to both theory and practice by offering: 1) a new theoretical perspective (CAS) that justifies the applicability of agile methods in complex ISD projects, and 2) better approaches to manage such project initiatives in practice. Our future research directions seek to explore the key characteristics of complexity in ISD projects, and identify the suitability of specific agile methods for specific ISD projects.


7th Nov 2012 - 10:00 am

Venue: The Boardroom, Darlington Centre

Speaker: Mark Sercombe & Frank Farrell, Deloitte

Title: Digital disruption: The length of the fuse and the size of the bang.

According to leading professional services firm, Deloitte, responding to the 'length of the fuse and the size of the bang' is set to become a new measure of success, and failure, for business and public sector organisations across Australia as they grapple with the transformative reality of digital disruption.  Using data across 13 factors and 26 indicators that determine the intensity and timing of digital disruption, industries, and the organisations operating within them, have been mapped to identify digital impacts and timeframes. Deloitte, has singled out six industries, representing about one third of the $1.4 trillion Australian economy, that they predict will be subject to significant digital disruption (the bang) in the near future (the fuse). The industries are professional services, finance, ICT and media, retail trade, art and recreation and real estate. Those facing an equally big bang, but within a longer time frame, comprise another third of the economy including education, government services, transport and post, health, recruitment, utilities and agriculture. Deloitte suggest that the landscape of each is open to transformation as falling barriers to entry open the door for a new generation of entrepreneurs.  To continue to thrive incumbents will need to move beyond defending past business models and engage in new, innovative and disruptive approaches.


28th Nov 2012 - 10:00 am

Venue: New Law Seminar Room 022

Speaker: Nicholas Berente, Terry College of Business, University of Georgia

Title: Stabilized Materiality: NASA's Enterprise System and the Loosely Coupled Equilibrium of Practice

In  this paper we present a study of NASA's enterprise system implementation and  the subsequent four years of its adaptation. Through a grounded analysis of  loosely coupled misalignments associated with this implementation over time, we  document the complex relationship between the enterprise system and its  objectives of integration and control at two levels: the level of local  practices and the level of the organization overall. In contrast to many of the  prevailing studies on enterprise systems that emphasize the idiosyncratic  appropriation of such systems immediately after implementation, through our  multi-year analysis we found material effects of a stabilized enterprise system  at the organizational level. First, while certainly the system does not have  deterministic effects at the level of practice, this particular form  information system that spans an entire organization can have somewhat  deterministic effects on the overall organization. We refer to this as the  effects of the "stabilized materiality" of such a system that spans an entire  organization. Second, although the system itself is tightly coupled and is  intended to integrate and control certain processes in the organization, we  find that it is through a "dynamic loosely coupled equilibrium" on the local  level that that this stability is enabled. Based on these findings, we conclude  that the stabilized materiality of a tightly coupled enterprise system can  simultaneously enable legitimatization and tight integration on an  organizational level, while allowing for locally situated actions subject to  less-than-complete levels of integration and control.