IT systems deployment during standards adoption: a socio-technical approach
This research in progress paper explores the role of technological deployment within the framework of standards adoption. Set within the context of a business school seeking and obtaining an industry recognized quality assurance standard, four information systems were deployed within several months of each other to support disparate work processes related directly and indirectly to the standard adoption. Whereas the IT systems adoption gained traction during the initial stages of deployment, their usage during an eighteen month period reveals variations in how embedded processes were embraced by different types of users in letter and spirit, especially after the b-school was accredited. Using the notion of coupling levels, two of the systems appear tightly coupled following accreditation, whereas two show malignant coupling and benign coupling respectively. This inductive research attempts to explicate the inner details behind the noted variations. A detailed case study is developed based on usage data of the four IT systems, user interviews, documents analysis, and historical analysis. Initial results indicate IT systems play a role in supporting the management of power and accountability. This is then interrelated with the adoption or resistance to the IT system based standardization. The study contributes to a limited body of literature that explores relationships of power dynamics in organizations and information technology. Our work hopes to confirm and provide the basis for a socio-technical framework when studying social regulation in organizations using technology.