Find us on Facebook Find us on LinkedIn Follow us on Twitter Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Business Information Systems

Historical Narrative: Understanding and Learning from IS Strategising Failure

Deborah Bunker, University of Sydney

15th Aug 2012  10:00 am - Darlington Centre School Building, Meeting Room 11

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.