LSE Information Systems Department

Abstracts of PhD Theses completed since 1995 (A-L)


This page contains abstracts of PhD research completed within the Department of Information Systems of LSE since 1995 and contact information for many of the authors. For author titles M-Z click here. You can also view details of theses completed before 1995 or an index of all completed theses.


AGIUS, Harry Wayne (1997) harryagius@acm.org
A full-scale semantic content-based model for interactive multimedia information systems
Issues of syntax have dominated research in multimedia information systems (MMISs), with video developing as a technology of images and audio as one of signals. But when we use video and audio, we do so for their content. This is a semantic issue. Current research in multimedia on semantic content-based models has adopted a structure-oriented approach, where video and audio content is described on a frame-by-frame or segment-by-segment basis (where a segment is an arbitrary set of contiguous frames). This approach has failed to cater for semantic aspects, and thus has not been fully effective when used within an MMIS. The research undertaken for this thesis reveals seven semantic aspects of video and audio: (1) explicit media structure; (2) objects; (3) spatial relationships between objects; (4) events and actions involving objects; (5) temporal relationships between events and actions; (6) integration of syntactic and semantic information; and (7) direct user-media interaction.
This thesis develops a full-scale semantic content-based model that caters for the above seven semantic aspects of video and audio. To achieve this, it uses an entities of interest approach, instead of a structure-oriented one, where the MMIS integrates relevant semantic content-based information about video and audio with information about the entities of interest to the system, e.g. mountains, vehicles, employees. A method for developing an interactive MMIS that encompasses the model is also described. Both the method and the model are used in the development of ARISTOTLE, an interactive instructional MMIS for teaching young children about zoology, in order to demonstrate their operation.

Harry Agius is currently Lecturer in Computing in the Department of Information Systems and Computing at Brunel University, London

Supervisor: Prof M Angelides

Harry Agius's homepage

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AL-TAITOON, Adel (2005) adel.altaitoon@arabbanking.com
Making Sense of Mobile ICT-Enabled Trading in Fast Moving Financial Markets as Volatility-Control Ambivalence: Case Study on the Organisation of Off-Premises Foreign Exchange at a Middle-East Bank
This research study is concerned with the organisation of mobile work. The change towards increased physical separation and the wide adoption of mobile technology are likely to entail fundamental changes to the organisation of work. The de-contextualisation and mobilisation of social activities magnifies the complexity of organising remote working. When the context of mobile interaction and ICT-enabled remote working is highly volatile environment which involves instantaneous decision making and spontaneous acts within institutionalised systems of control, then researchers are presented with added complexities that require careful analysis. Thus, embarking on theoretical endeavours to build an understanding of mobility and the organisation of mobile work in highly fluid and dynamic environments should not be underestimated.

This study explores how mobile ICT-enabled remote working is organised. Inspired by emerging theoretical developments on mobile interaction and motivated by the researcher’s self-interest in social, technological and economic issues concerning the financial market, the research aims to make sense of the distinct mobility of foreign exchange traders. The use of mobile computing technologies in foreign exchange trading represents a mode of remote working in a highly dynamic and fluid environment. The study, specifically, examined the influence of market volatility and corporate control on the organisation of mobile ICT-enabled off-premises trading. To achieve this objective, I have undertaken empirical case study research at a large banking organisation in the Middle-East.

I have adopted Weick’s theory of ‘organising as sensemaking’ which offers a conceptual framework that consists of ecological change and three sensemaking processes (i.e. enactment, selection and retention) together with feedback loops. The findings of this study are, therefore, based on employing Weick’s framework as an analytical lens. Furthermore, drawing upon Weick’s conception of ambivalence and loose-coupling, I have argued that the existence of volatility-control sensemaking entails organising mobile foreign exchange as loosely-coupled mobility. The market volatility represents not only the fluctuation of exchange rates but also the equivocality that characterises the foreign exchange environment. To cope with such volatility, equivocality and uncertainty, financial institutions adopt systems of control that, in turn, influence the traders’ interaction. This ambivalence of volatility and control entails an optimal compromise. In this study, I have argued that this optimal compromise is achieved by adopting loosely-coupled organisation of mobile work to satisfy the simultaneous effects of volatility and control as two antithetical factors.

Adel Al-Taitoon is currently Assistant Vice President for Group IT Planning, Global Information Technology at the Arab Banking Corporation in Bahrain

Supervisor: Dr C Sørensen

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ALBADVI, Amir (1997) mail@albadvi.net
Supporting Design Understanding in Evolutionary Prototyping: An Application of Change Theory and Semiotics
This thesis researches the problem of building design understanding in rapidly changing environments. Although evolutionary prototyping has been proposed before as a solution, little serious investigation has been undertaken into its practical and theoretical adequacy. This thesis assesses the evolutionary development approach and on the basis of the findings of an exploratory case study conducted in a large car manufacturer company, proposes a new perspective in this approach. It combines the planned organisational change theory and semiotics which respectively underpin implementation management and design understanding.

The cornerstone of the proposed persective is a semantic analysis technique which complements evolutionary prototyping. The perspective builds on three cycles of planned change model: a vision cycle providing easy access to design knowledge, an action cycle supporting modular development of prototypes based on the semantics of design knowledge, and a fusion cycle institutionalising design understanding. An explanatory empirical study conducted in a management consultancy, provides a first step towards a subjective validation of the proposed approach.

A conceptual training process is suggested as a means of partnership between designer and user. This process provides a way for both user and designer to find a common designation for the terms they share in their communication, and to build a shared meaning and interpretation of actions in the workplace.

Amir Albadvi is currently Assistant Professor in Information Systems Engineering in the School of Engineering at Tarbiat Modarres University in Tehran

Amir Albadvi's home page

Supervisor: Dr J Backhouse

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BADA, Abiodun Oluremi (Abi) (2000) aobada@gwu.edu
Global Practices and Local Interests: Implementing Information Technology-Based Change in a Developing Country Context
The guiding principle of this research is that the utilisation of information technology (IT) in any part of the world currently is taking place within the globalisation trends. The need to take a wider view of IT use has become important due to the ease with which IT and associated management practices now pervade countries. These practices, developed in the 'west' and applied in countries around the world, are becoming increasingly universal as a result of the globalisation process. The Nigerian economy was deregulated towards the end of the 1980s and different sectors of the economy - including banking - were liberalised with a view to promoting competition and efficiency. In the face of these environmental changes, organisations in Nigeria have, over the past few years, been investing extensively in IT and adopting global IT-based practices. Although studies have discussed the importance of adapting these global practices to suit the context of their implementation, few have actually focused on revealing the nature of these adaptations and the factors influencing them.

The overall aim of this study, therefore, is to increase understanding of why and how adaptations take place, and what results are achieved. This understanding is achieved in the thesis by incorporating ideas from both resource-based theory and new institutional theory within a contextualist framework, to study the implementation of planned technology-based change programmes in two Nigerian banks. It is suggested that local adaptations to global IT-based practices involve an adaptation process where organisational resources and local institutional rules are employed rationally, as well as symbolically, to modify the techniques. Rationally, organisational members redefine the global institutional rules embodied in global practices in order to fit the organisation's resource context and the demands of the immediate institutional environment. Symbolically, global practices are modified when organisational members ritually sustain organisational traditions and taken-for-granted practices about how to do things within the organisation or the wider societal context. Thus, such redefinition and symbolic processes specify the nature of local adaptations to global IT-based practices when they are being implemented in local contexts.

Supervisors: Prof C Avgerou and Dr S Madon

Abi Bada is currently working as an assistant professor in information systems in the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering at The George Washington University, USA

Abi Bada's home page

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BENER, Ayse (2000) bener@boun.edu.tr
Risk Perception, Trust and Credibility: A Case in Internet Banking
With the expanding use of the Internet information systems security has become a more important issue than ever. Organisations are introducing new security measures in order to protect their systems and as well as their customers.

The overall aim of this research is to understand how risk perception, trust and credibility relate to each other and how and why all of these concepts are related with information systems security. In this research risk is defined as perception rather than by quantitative methods. My argument is that information security is less important when individuals deal with a trustworthy and credible institution. To develop this argument I have adapted and interpreted cultural theory and risk communication model that originate from social sciences. Based on these models I developed and further modified a trust analysis framework. This framework is used as a theoretical base for the collection and analysis of data of both the case study and the survey. The case study focuses on an international bank in the U.K. The research methodology adopts an interpretive approach as the mode of inquiry. The case study addresses the issues on the social and organisational aspects of the implementation of Internet banking product. The application of the theoretical framework contributes to understanding change in risk perception, and the issues of trust and credibility during project implementation by linking data to the theory. A survey with the bank 's customers is conducted to obtain complimentary empirical evidence to understand better how trust and credibility relate to information systems security.

The dissertation concludes that the users of an information system perceive risks based on trust and credibility they assign to the supplier of information and disregard the security measures taken by that supplier.

Ayse Bener is currently working as a Lecturer in the Department of Computer Engineering at Bogazici University in Istanbul

Supervisor: Dr J Backhouse

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CANEVET, Sophie (1996) Sophie_Canevet-Lehoux@fr.ibm.com
The Role of Information Systems Evaluation across an Extended System Life Cycle
The role of evaluation across an extended system life cycle is explored, taking into account the importance of system maintenance and the need to replace systems. A role oriented classification of evaluation studies is proposed and mapped onto the extended system life cycle. Three categories, Predictive, Feed-back and Feed-forward are identified. The context, content, process framework is then used to analyse the nature of evaluation as it evolves along the extended life cycle. A pluralistic research method combining a case study and a field survey made up of a questionnaire and interviews is used to provide the necessary data. The results show that evaluation can bring a range of benefits across the extended life cycle, especially for maintenance management and system replacement and suggest the existence of an evaluation cycle evolving along the extended life cycle. This cycle is further explored through an analysis of the interrelationships of context, content and process at the various stages.

Sophie Canevet is currently employed as Resource Deployment Leader in Business Operations at IBM Business Consulting Services EMEA (Europe, Middle-East and Africa)

Supervisor: Dr S Smithson

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CHAUVIDUL, Narisa (2002) narisa.chauvidul-aw@uk.redbull.com
Formality and Informality in Internal Control Systems: A Comparative Study of Control in Different Social and Cultural Environments in a Global Bank
This thesis examined the relationship between formal systems and informal norms in internal control systems in a global bank. The thesis argues that the global policies and standardised manuals and procedures of multinational firms cannot be internalised and interpreted in the same way as anticipated by the management in every branch. This assumption confirms the importance of the need for this study to increase an understanding of the issues and concerns in the management of internal control systems among different organisations in different cultural and social environments. A broad range of literature has been reviewed and it was found that little research in information systems security had previously focused on the internal control systems. As such, this research presents a new area in information systems security study.

This research aimed to provide a qualitative approach to increase an understanding of the relationship between formal and informal systems. The main objective was to analyse in depth the interaction between these two systems. More focus was placed on the study of people who played a significant role in the control systems. In pursuing this aim, the interpretive case study of a global bank in two branches was conducted.

The findings from this research suggest that there are problems in implementing internal control systems globally across the bank. The internal control systems should be examined with respect to both formal and informal analysis. The considerations should be focused more at the informal level where pragmatic and semantic concerns should be addressed. The thesis concludes that qualitative approach is an appropriate way to conduct research in cross-cultural studies in information systems security, also that semiotics theory is an appropriate approach in this area of study.

Supervisor: Dr J Backhouse

Narisa Chauvidul is currently employed as a senior financial analyst for Red Bull Marketing UK and the advisor to the chaiman in accounting and finance of Siam Winery Limited in the UK.

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CHRYSOCHOS, Neophytos (1999) chrysochos@eic.ac.cy
Information Systems and Organisational Change: The Case of Flexible Specialisation in Cyprus
This research examines the relationship between organisational change and information systems development in the case of an effort to implement flexible specialisation in Cyprus. In the centre of this research are the inter-organisational relationships developed in the flexible specialisation initiative and the role IT played in the formation of such relationships. Successively, the kind of organisational changes that take place as well as the driving force(s) of such changes are examined.

In order to study and analyse such a complicated socio-economic phenomenon an interpretive epistemology was adopted. Analysis of the empirical work draws mainly from theories concerning information systems while insights are drawn from disciplines that have studied organisational change and the concept of flexible specialisation in particular, such as industrial economics, geography and organisational theory.

The research method followed is a multiple case study analysis. One case study was conducted in Emilia-Romagna and provides a point for reference for the cases of flexible specialisation in Cyprus, which is the main focus of the research. The case study in Cyprus was conducted over a period of three years, while the case study in Emilia-Romagna was done at one particular point in time.

The key contribution of this research is the suggestion that the use of information and communication technologies depends on the complexity of the inter-organisational activities, rather than causing them, as the information systems literature tends to suggest. Furthermore, the case study demonstrates the significance of institutional and cultural factors for the non-emergence of inter-organisational complexity, and subsequent limited role attributed to IT in the flexible specialisation experiment.

Neophytos Chrysochos is currently Director of Research at the European Institute of Cyprus

Supervisor: Prof C Avgerou

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CHU, Catherine (2004) c.chu1@lse.ac.uk
The Challenges in Assimilating E-business in Large Established Organizations: A Structurational Examination of the E-Business Development at an American Auto Manufacturer

Despite the bust of dot.coms, e-business still holds tremendous opportunity. The focus of large-scale e-business development has shifted to the large ‘blue-chip’ corporations, as profitability from this technology is mainly found where the online business is an extension of traditional strategies and capabilities. However, unlike the nimble dot.com competitors, large companies not only have to tackle a new technology that could permeate throughout the entire organization, and beyond to their customers and suppliers, but in many cases they have to deal with new business models, radically revised processes, a new channel for marketing and sales, new cost pressures, and a heightened service expectation from consumers. This is particularly difficult for large companies that span the globe with their rigid bureaucratic structures, complicated power structures, and ingrained cultural properties. Large corporations have to implement significant and complex organizational changes in order to integrate e-business into their existing structural, power, and cultural properties. Hence, the aim of this research is to address the challenges in assimilating e-business in large established organizations and how major new technologies with significant business potential change/reproduce their existing systems and structures.

In order to capture a more comprehensive and dynamic understanding of how organizations undergo change, this research applies Giddens’ (1984) structuration theory as this meta-theory explores the instantiation of systems and gives equal emphasis to agents and structure. Aligning to this theoretical perspective, and given little literature on organizational change associated with the assimilation of e-business, an interpretive qualitative paradigm is applied. As a methodology, a case study represents the pre-eminent means of understanding the “how” and “why” of a phenomenon. The in-depth case study considered examines the establishment, operation, and termination of a special purpose e-business staff unit at the European corporate headquarters of an American Auto Manufacturer (from June 2000 to December 2002).

This thesis demonstrates the potential of human agency to change institutional properties, but also the strength of these institutional properties in the face of change. It highlights the reasons for the difficulty in making an effective change, in this case, to create and integrate a local practice of e-business. It also draws attention to why this particular intervention of building e-business organizational capabilities was unsustainable. Finally, on a more prescriptive/strategic level, it suggests ways in which top executives can design and improvise interventions and provides lessons for established organizations in implementing a new technology that could have very pervasive effects throughout the entire organization.

Supervisor: Dr S Smithson

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COREA, Stephen (2003) orssc@wbs.warwick.ac.uk
Making Sense of Emergent Properties in IT Enabled Call Centre Operations: An Interpretive Systems Analysis Approach
A major focus of contemporary IS research is the emergent nature of organisational use of information technologies: its contextual, evolutionary, often unanticipated character. Most studies have approached this topic from the viewpoint of emergence in IT based practices as a process, led by social actors. However, the investigation of emergence as a property has been neglected. The systems thinking approach is particularly concerned with emergent properties, but has hitherto been poorly developed for the socio-technical analysis of IT use.

In redress, this research presents a new framework of interpretive systems thinking for performing such analysis. This framework permits a researcher or organisational analyst to form an understanding of emergent phenomena in IT based operations as constituted by the interaction of various elements or factors in relations of contrariety, contradiction or association. The emergent nature of an organisation’s activities may consequently be illuminated in terms of principle tensions or contradictions, that shape its trajectory of transformation, or form a persistent pattern in its functioning. This method of analysis is applied to two case studies of IT based call centre operations.

The case analyses demonstrate the utility of this inter-relational, integrative framework. It supports supra-individual analysis of the shaping of significance concerning IT based activities. The emergent dynamics of integration and transformation related to the use of IT capacities in call centre activities are revealed in multi-faceted, contextually specific forms, that transcend simple binary alternatives in the appraisal of IT usage (e.g. IT is rigid or flexible). The framework’s main benefit is its ability to highlight contradictions that are easy to miss, or difficult to pinpoint, in IT enabled work practices. This study’s third-person, property-focussed account of emergence in IT based operations provides a different but complementary emphasis to the micro agency-centred model of emergence that has dominated recent IS studies.

Stephen Corea is currently a Lecturer in Information Systems in the Operational Research and Systems Group at Warwick Business School, UK.

Supervisor: Prof C Avgerou

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CURET, Olivier (1996) ocuret@hotmail.com
Using Precedents to Identify Top Management Fraud: the Study of a Case-Based Learning and Reasoning Model
This thesis discusses how best to design, implement and evaluate a Case-Based Learning and Reasoning (CB-LR) model to assist accountants in identifying Top Management Fraud (TMF).   There is no structured knowledge about TMF in the form of rules, only cases encountered by experienced auditors.  The changing economic, financial and social environment has produced more fraud which at the same time has become increasingly complex to identify and isolate.  Previous research shows that fraud has evaded auditors, and highlights a need for new computer-based learning and reasoning paradigms in this domain.

Case-Based Reasoning (CBR) has been considered as an approach to building knowledge systems which involves reasoning about the current situation on the basis of pinpointing and resuscitating past instances.  As with artificial intelligence in general, there is no standard ready-made CBR method suitable for any domain or application:-

"the challenge in CBR is to come up with methods that are suitable for problem-solving and learning in particular subject domains and for particular application environments.  INCASE, a Top Management Fraud diagnostic application, has been designed with a specific methodology derived from Schank and Riesbeck's principles.   INCASE works on the basis of the interviewees' concerns so that it can act as a `stimulus agent' for decision support.  The intention is for auditors to use it proactively in a conversational mode, focusing on learning and reasoning about the problem domain; hence the use of the CB-LR model".

Although evaluation methods relevant to traditional rule-based expert systems have been discussed in the literature, their emphasis on system issues was found to be inappropriate for this CB-LR application.  Since there is no agreed and established method for evaluating a case-based tool, a new approach is discussed including verification (where the focus is on response accuracy of information retrieval) and validation (where user judgement and satisfaction are key issues).  One important component in the evaluation was an in-house questionnaire based on total quality management ideas.  Findings from the evaluation of the TMF diagnostic system suggest that case-based learning and reasoning has a valuable part to play in assisting auditing profession in the detection of fraud.

Olivier Curet is currently a senior manager with Deloitte & Touche in Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Supervisor: Prof F Land

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DARKING, Mary (2004) m.darking@lse.ac.uk
Integrating On-line Learning Technologies into Higher Education: A Case Study of Two UK Universities

This dissertation presents in-depth, qualitative case studies that document the efforts of two UK universities to integrate on-line learning technologies into their teaching practices and course design. It has been claimed that on-line learning technologies have the capacity to transform the provision of higher education. In order to address such claims, ethnographic research techniques were used to collect data at two institutions, simultaneously, over a period of 18 months. Using ideas from the sociology of association, the organisational, pedagogic and technological activities surrounding the case study institutions’ purchase and integration of two leading on-line learning technologies is described. Distinctions between different areas of activity both in and around the university are represented as they emerged ‘in practice’, allowing ostensive divisions between, for example, ‘the educational’, ‘the technological’ and ‘the organisational’ to be temporarily, placed to one side.

Building on these empirically grounded findings, this thesis considers the question of ‘educational values’. Powerful discourses relating to knowledge, learning and the ‘market for education’ currently compete for primacy over pedagogic, epistemic and educational interests. By rejecting normative ascriptions of value, in either economic or moral terms, this thesis considers ‘values-in-practice’, or ‘valence’ as the enacted priorities that are set as part of organisational work. Through this analysis, values are understood as the basis upon which lines of reason or ‘ways of reckoning’ are constructed. This analytical approach is shown to be particularly relevant to the study of complex, integration work, where totalising or dichotomous conceptions of knowledge prove insufficient to capture or inform processes of negotiation. Together, the concepts of valence and ways of reckoning serve to support critical reflection on how educational values are constructed in the case of on-line learning. It is argued that only by understanding education as a collective endeavour, capable of promoting and supporting substantive diversity, can educational priorities be properly assessed and asserted.

Supervisor: Dr E A Whitley

Mary Darking's home page

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DHILLON, Gurpreet S. (1995) gdhillon@vcu.edu
Interpreting the Management of Information Systems Security
The management of adverse events within organisations has become a pressing issue as the perceptions of risk continue to heighten. However the basic need for developing secure information systems has remained unfulfilled. This is because the focus has been on the means of delivery of information, i.e. the technology, rather than on the various contextual factors related to information processing.

The overall aim of this research is to increase understanding of the issues and concerns in the management of information systems security. The study is conducted by reviewing the analysis, design and management of computer based information systems in two large organisations - a British National Health Service Hospital Trust and a Borough Council. The research methodology adopts an interpretive mode of inquiry. The management of information systems security is evaluated in terms of the business environment, organisational culture, expectations and obligations of different roles, meanings of different actions and the related patterns of behaviour. Findings from the two case studies show that an inappropriate analysis, design and management of computer based information systems affects the integrity and wholeness of an organisation. As a result, the probability of occurrence of adverse events increases. In such an environment there is a strong likelihood that security measures may either be ignored or are inappropriate to the real needs of an organisation. Therefore what is needed is coherence between the computer based information systems and the business environment in which they are embedded.

In conclusion, this study shows that to resolve the problem of managing information systems security, we need to understand the deep seated pragmatic aspects of an organisation. Solutions to the problem of security can be provided by interpreting the behavioural patterns of the people involved.

Gurpreet Dhillon is currently Associate Professor of IS in the School of Business at Virginia Commonwealth University, USA

Gurpreet Dhillon's homepage

Supervisor: Dr J Backhouse

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ELBANNA, Amany (2005) a.r.el-banna@lse.ac.uk
Interpreting The Implementation Of Integrated Packaged Software: The Case Of Enterprise Resource Planning
This research is concerned with the role played by integrated packaged software in organisations and the validity of the emerging notion of improvisation in implementing such systems. It is informed by the information systems (IS) literature on systems implementation, improvisation, and social shaping of technology, and by the social science literature on the role of technology in society. It is also guided by the sociological approach of Actor Network Theory (ANT).

The study examines social and organisational efforts to implement Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems in two international organisations, taking account of the role played by the system itself. The research findings deny both the technology and social deterministic perspectives and argue that the technology effect is a result of negotiation between the technology and society. The findings also argue that implementing a large, integrated, module-based packaged IS like ERP can be seen as an improvised activity, in which the plan is an actor and that drift is inherent in the process of moving the multi-layered project into different social and technical networks.

The research therefore contributes to the long-standing debate about technology determinism and social construction of technology. By focusing on a structured technology, such as ERP and its implementation, the study extends existing work that supports the argument of IS improvisation and makes significant progress in appropriating ANT for its application in IS research. This novel application of ANT as a theoretical framework and analytical vehicle provides an alternative way of analysing the role of technology in organisations. It supports the social contructivism view without undermining the role played by the technology. This could provide a solution to one of the main difficulties of IS research, namely accounting for the capacity of technology without losing the social focus. The research findings invite practitioners to rethink and reflect on two aspects: how the evaluation procedures of IS implementation and use can best incorporate and encourage the improvisation view; and the role of technology in organisations and the way integrated systems projects are managed.

Supervisor: Prof C Avgerou

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ERIKSSON, Kai (2001) kai.eriksson@saunalahti.fi
Signs and Signals: The Conception of Communication in U.S. Telecommunications Rhetoric
This thesis investigates communication and its changing conditions with respect to the thinking of the political community in the United States.

The central aim is to deliberate upon the relationship between communication and specific telecommunication systems during the period ranging from the telegraph to computer networks. Together with related discourses and practices, systems of communication have formed an environment wherein "communication" as such has become thought about. That is, taken as both the object and the means of administrative practices, communication has come to be regarded as communication. It is in these practices that the inherent relationship between communication and control can be found, which makes them the main focus for an administrative history of communication and a history of the administration of communication. Thus, we analyze the relationship between historical forms of communication and the ontology of communication to the extent that this relationship is built up through socially institutionalized communication systems and related discourses.

Kai Eriksson is a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Helsinki, Finland

Supervisor: Dr L Introna

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EZER Jonathan (2005) Jonathan_ezer@yahoo.com
The Interplay of Institutional Forces behind Higher ICT Education in India
For several years, academics have debated the extent to which ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) can help poor people in developing countries. The conversation contains diverse views, yet education is always given a prominent role. Education helps shape how people think about technology and in turn, how the technology is used.

My research examines how the idea of ICTs is constructed at Indian universities, and how this process is impacted by institutional forces. The findings indicate that for a variety of reasons, higher ICT education in India is markedly Western-focused, instrumental and technocratic. These characteristics of higher ICT education in India are impacted by a process that can be described as institutional collaboration – several diverse institutional forces are acting in ways that are coherent and mutually reinforcing.

This institutional field can be theorised in many ways, some more appropriate than others. The findings fit well with neo-institutional theory but do not fit equally well with discourses of Development. The findings are particularly commensurate with Angell’s theory of the Information Age, characterised by a looming conflict between Old and New Barbarians.

Jonathan Ezer is a self-employed entrepreneur who is developing Salon Voltaire

Supervisor: Prof I Angell

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FAWZI, Riad (2004) r.m.fawzi@lse.ac.uk
Evaluating Organsational Privacy Policy Implementation

The research question “How can financial institutions manage customers’ personal information policies in a virtual banking context over time?”, looks at three aspects of privacy policies. It explores the nature of a personal information policy, why such policies change over time and the final part of the thesis examines reconciling the different agents’ perspectives. The focus of this research is in the online banking field with its emphasis on privacy and sophisticated IT and IS usage. The research approaches the research problem from a new perspective and helps map the direction of ongoing privacy research. It also enables the development of frameworks to help understanding in development, use and institutionalisation of personal information policies.

Supervisor: Dr J. Backhouse

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GIANNARIS Constantinos (2005) c.giannaris@lse.ac.uk
Making Sense of Knowledge Creation Processes: The Case of a Greek Petrochemical Company
This thesis is concerned with knowledge creation processes within service organizations, specifically in relation to the maintenance function. While bearing in mind the particular context of the study, the thesis argues that maintenance service work, when seen from such a knowledge creation perspective, affords important insights into the dynamic interrelations, links and social interactions within the knowledge creation processes themselves. To date, the knowledge management and organization studies literature tends not to treat these practical topics and theoretical issues in an integrated, holistic manner. The thesis addresses this lack using an in-depth, situated case study of the maintenance division of a major Greek petrochemical refinery.

The research adopts an interpretative perspective and makes sense of knowledge creation processes through the theoretical lens of the Unified Model of Dynamic Knowledge Creation (Nonaka et al. 2001), combined with the knowledge activism framework (Von Krogh et al. 1997). Nonaka's framework, which guides data collection and analysis, suggests an approach to the investigation using the so-called SECI process. This process explains how knowledge creation unfolds, utilising the Japanese concept of Ba (which represents the process context), and the concept of knowledge assets (which corresponds to the process content). The explanation of important individual and group roles within knowledge creation processes using Von Krogh's framework integrates these concepts.

This use of a process view of knowledge creation helps explain a wide variety of complex and situated interrelations that demonstrate the existence of different modes of knowledge creation. Thus, the approach to process inquiry along with the research design fertilize methodological discussions about research on knowledge creation processes. The core theoretical contribution of the research concerns the provision of a process view of knowledge creation. Other theoretical implications of the research findings relate to insights on the complex nature of the knowledge creation process within a work environment, extensions to the research framework, and recommendations for further conceptual developments. The research also contributes practical implications and insights into, and specific conclusions about, knowledge creation processes and how they might be effectively managed in service organizations more generally.

Supervisor: Professor R Galliers

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GRANT, Geraldo (1996) gerald_grant@carleton.ca
The Strategic Dimensions of Information Systems Capability: Case Studies in a Developing Country Context
This research addresses the issue of how organisations can build capabilities to acquire, deploy and sustain computer-based information systems. With the application of information technology dramatically altering the strategies, structure, and processes of organisations, capabilities in acquiring and deploying IT-based information systems are considered critical to organisational success. It is often presumed that firms have similar capabilities to conceptualise, acquire, and deploy computer-based information systems. However, they have been shown to exhibit disparate capacities to successfully implement such systems.

The concept information systems capability is introduced and refers to an organisation's capacity to effectively orchestrate the processes of acquiring, deploying and sustaining computer-based information systems to support its strategic and functional objectives. Emphasising evolutionary and resource-based perspectives of the firm the research stresses the firm-specific, cumulative, and path-dependent nature of organisational IS capability. Three dimensions of IS capability are identified. These are routines, resources, and contexts. Routines refer to the IS-related processes and practices of the organisation. Resources are its endowments. Contexts reflect the environmental factors influencing IS investment opportunities and decisions. Capabilities develop through a prescient understanding of the environment, the strategic acquisition and deployment of IS resources and the establishment of effective routines.

Researchers are concerned about the persistence of ineffective information technology transfer and diffusion in developing countries. This research seeks to explicate the concept of information systems capability by drawing on examples from a developing country context. Through case studies and surveys done in Zimbabwe it explores organisational efforts to develop IS capability. The findings of the case studies confirm the significant impact of macro-contextual and organisational factors on capability building. A framework for IS capability building is proposed.

Gerald Grant is currently  Assistant Professor of Information Systems in the School of Business at  Carleton University, Ontario, Canada

Gerald Grant's homepage

Supervisor: Dr J Liebenau

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HABIB, Laurence (2000) laurence.habib@hio.no
Computers and the Family: A Study of Technology in the Domestic Sphere
This thesis is concerned with understanding computers within the context of the family and family life, and the uses and roles they play within the domestic sphere. The thesis starts with a review of the relevant literature from a variety of social science disciplines including information systems, media studies and sociology. This allows the identification of prominent research themes that are used to build a research framework for empirical work. The study explores the role of home computers, addressing four key elements of family life - paid work, education, leisure and family duties. The research focuses on issues of time, space and budget, with a particular attention to the issues of negotiation and intergenerational or gendered conflict.

The research takes an interpretive approach. The empirical work consists of a series of in-depth interviews with families, exploring their individual and collective attitudes to and experience with computers. Both the data collection and the subsequent analysis make use of ethnographic techniques. The analysis is focused around the existence of various symbolisms attached to the notion of home computing, and investigates the implications of conflicting perspectives on the role and status of the computer within a same family. In the final section, the original framework is revisited to incorporate the findings derived from the empirical work. In this, the revealed processes of domestication are presented, processes that serve to transform an undomestic and alien technological object into one that is incorporated into family life.

Laurence Habib is an associate professor in the Centre for Educational Research and Development at Oslo University College, Norway.

Laurance Habib's homepage

Supervisor: Dr T Cornford

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HALPERIN, Ruth (2005) r.halperin@lse.ac.uk
Learning Technology in Higher Education: A Structurational Perspective on Technology Mediated Learning Practices

This thesis explores the processes of emergence and change in learning technologies and in their use within the context of higher education. The opportunities arising from learning technologies and the rapid increase in their development and deployment, have led to intensive study of their impact and effectiveness. Yet, studies in this domain are typically context independent and are mainly focused on pre-defined outcomes of structured interventions. Given the flexible quality of contemporary learning technologies and the diversification of their implementation models, the study argues for the need to investigate the process of technology adoption as interwoven within its socio-organisational environment. Drawing on Structuration Theory, the research examines how technology-mediated learning practices evolve through ongoing, situated interaction with learning technology. Orlikowski’s Practice Lens is extended and applied to a contextualist longitudinal case study involving the use of learning technology in an academic setting over a period of three years. The research adopts an interpretive approach and combines retrospective and real time analysis. Findings illuminate the dynamics and consequences of the technology implementation and show that contrary to previous claims, the integration of learning technology into higher education does not transform long-established practices nor does it serve to reinforce or automate delivery. Rather, the practice of academic learning is gradually reshaped and enhanced through a process of mutual configuration, online and offline. The thesis makes a theoretical contribution by extending the structurational model of the Practice Lens, and by augmenting its applicability. Insights are provided into several methodological issues arising in process-oriented research on technology-in-use. Practical implications regarding the design of learning technology are derived from the research findings.

Supervisor: Dr J. Backhouse

Ruth Halperin's home page

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HAQ, Farooq (2005) m.f.haq@lse.ac.uk
The Role of Information Systems in Islamic Banking: An Ethnographic Study

Banks exist because of their ability to achieve economies of scale in reducing asymmetry of information between savers and borrowers. Banks are dealers of information and their intermediary role makes them important to an economic system. Banking as we know it today is governed by a capitalist philosophy. However the last two decades have witnessed a significant growth of a banking practice i.e. Islamic banking, which is based on the principles of the Islamic religion. The Islamic banking system came into existence to fulfill the economics needs of Muslims who are supposed to lead their lives according to shariah guidelines. This research studies the practice of Islamic banking from an information systems perspective. More specifically, the focus is on if and why the role of information systems differs in Islamic banks. Information is no less important to conventional banks but how is the role played by information systems different in and for Islamic banks.

I studied the existing practice of Islamic banking b primarily borrowing concepts from the work of Berger and Luckman’s (1996) ‘social construction pf reality: a treatise in the sociology of knowledge’. This was complemented by notion of ‘culture’ and religion’, and they were employed to understand the current practice of Islamic banking. The research adopted an interpretive approach using an ethnographic case study technique to gather information accompanied by other methods of data collection to have data triangulation. Islamic banks have their own well-defined culture and because this research is interested in how culture affects information creation I have selected ethnography as the preferred method of data collection and analysis.

This research endeavour primarily focuses on the ‘role of information systems within the industry of Islamic banking’, where role represents the responsibilities assigned to the concept of information within the research context highlighting the social construction of information. I have explored the issue of transparency within the industry of Islamic banking and the role that information plays in enhancing its process. The findings indicate strongly that the role of information in Islamic banks differs culturally in terms transparency in the relationship between the bank and its customers.

Supervisor: Dr S Smithson

Farooq Haq's homepage

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HARINDRANATH, G (Hari) (1997) g.harindranath@rhul.ac.uk
India’s Information Technology Industry: Adapting to Globalisation and Policy Change in the 1990s
Despite the shift towards more market-oriented economic strategies, there is a continuing need for state policy to play the role of a nurturer of high technology industries in many countries. This is especially true of the information technology (IT) industry, characterised by rapid technological change, necessity of economies of scale, research inputs, and the constant upgrading of skills.

This thesis examines the impact of state policy liberalisation and globalisation on India’s IT firms, and the means by which they are responding to policy changes in the 1990s. India’s IT industry has experienced a variety of policy interventions, from protectionism in the 1970s and early 1980s to liberalisation of the economy in the 1990s, thus providing a rich area for research. The study investigates the impact of policy change on both computer hardware and software components of the Indian IT industry by analysing the legacy of past policies as well as changes in firm-level strategies in the 1990s.

Liberalisation and globalisation are now being upheld by policy makers as the sole determinants of international competitiveness for the Indian IT industry in the nineties. However, the impact of liberalisation and globalisation may be both positive and negative; they provide a pathway to continuous technological upgrading, but at the same time threaten the survival of indigenous IT firms and their technological capabilities, built on the basis of import substitution. This thesis argues that liberalisation implies a continuing link between government and industry, and that it needs to go hand-in-hand with interventionist measures. The state has a continuing role to play in fostering the IT industry and creating the conditions for international competitiveness, even under liberalised economic conditions. Although Indian IT firms are shown to be adapting to the new policy environment, the industry’s future can be better secured by a renewed policy emphasis on developing the domestic industry and market, accompanied by a push for IT consumption as against mere production and export.

G. Harindranath is currently Senior Lecturer in Management Information Systems in the School of Management at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Hari Harindranath's homepage

Supervisor: Dr J Liebenau

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HASSAN, Ashraf (1998) aelsayed@ritsec1.com.eg
The Impact of Using DSS for National Debt Management
The thesis focuses on decision making in the Egyptian Cabinet. It assesses the changes that take place before and after the introduction of DSS in the context of the protracted national problem of debt management and economic reform programmes. It evaluates the impact and defines the criteria for measuring decisions made by top policy makers. The study  considers IT tools and methods that support debt management techniques such as debt swaps and currency portfolio management in addition to market opportunities and for strengthening debtors' negotiating powers with creditors.

Ashraf Hassan is currently President and CEO, Delta Investment Group, Cairo

Supervisor: Dr J Liebenau

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HAYNES, Steven (2002) shaynes@ist.psu.edu
Explanation in Information Systems: A Design Rationale Approach
This dissertation investigates the relationship between the information systems (IS) development context, and the context in which such systems are used. Misunderstandings and ambiguities emerge in the space between these contexts and often result in construction of systems that fail to meet the requirements and expectations of their intended users. This study explores this problem using an approach derived from three largely separate and distinct fields: explanation facilities in information systems, theories of explanation, and design rationale.

Explanation facilities are typically included in knowledge-based information systems, where their purpose is to provide system users with the underlying reasons for why the system reaches a particular conclusion or makes a particular recommendation. Prior research suggests that the presence of an explanation facility leads to increased acceptance of these conclusions and recommendations, therefore enhancing system usability. Theory of explanation is a field of study in which philosophers attempt to describe the unique nature of explanation and to identify criteria for explanation evaluation. Design rationale research is concerned with the capture, representation, and use of the deep domain and artefact knowledge that emerges from the design process. The design rationale approach goes beyond specification and suggests that to understand a system requires knowledge of the arguments that led to its realisation.

This study proposes a model of IS explanation structure and content derived from formal theories of explanation with a method for obtaining this content based on design rationale. The study has four goals: to derive a theory of explanation specific to the domain of information systems; to examine this definition empirically through a study involving IS development and management professionals; to investigate in a case study whether the information needed to populate the explanation model can be captured using design rationale techniques; and construction of prototype software to deliver explanations per the proposed framework.

Steven Haynes is currently an Assistant Professor of Information Sciences and Technology in the School of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State University, USA.

Supervisor: Dr E A Whitley

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HOSEIN, Ian R (Gus) (2003) i.hosein@lse.ac.uk
Regulating the Technological Actor: How Governments Tried to Transform the Technology and the Market for Cryptography and the Implications for the Regulation of Information and Communications Technologies
The formulation, adoption, and transformation of policy involves the interaction of actors as they negotiate, accept, and reject proposals. Traditional studies of policy discourse focus on social actors. By studying cryptography policy discourses, I argue that considering both social and technological actors in detail enriches our understanding of policy discourse. The case-based research looks at the various cryptography policy strategies employed by the governments of the United States of America and the United Kingdom. The research method is qualitative, using hermeneutics to elucidate the various actors’ interpretations. The research aims to understand policy discourse as a contest of principles involving various government actors advocating multiple regulatory mechanisms to maintain their surveillance capabilities, and the reactions of industry actors, non-governmental organisations, parliamentarians, and epistemic communities.

I argue that studying socio-technological discourse helps us to understand the complex dynamics involved in regulation and regulatory change. Interests and alignments may be contingent and unstable. As a result, technologies can not be regarded as mere representationsof social interests and relationships.

By capturing the interpretations and articulations of social and technological actors we may attain a better understanding of the regulatory landscape for information and communications technologies.

Gus Hosein is currently a visiting fellow in the Department of Information Systems at LSE

Supervisor: Prof I Angell

Gus Hosein's homepage

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HSU, Carol (2002) w.y.hsu@lse.ac.uk
Group Interaction and the Learning Process through Computer Conferencing
Over the past two decades, the advent of information and communication technologies has facilitated the development of distance education. This research is interested in collaborative learning through computer conferencing in a context of distance education.

The key research focus is to understand the learning process through group interaction via computer conferencing. In order to achieve this, the author proposes three levels of analysis: structure, participation and interaction analysis. Structure analysis is to examine how well the collaborative environment is established at the beginning. The second level is to look at the overall level and intensity of participation. Finally, interaction analysis is used to investigate the interpersonal dimension of a collaborative learning group’s interaction over a period of time.

Through these three levels of analysis with the use of semi-structured questionnaires, computer-generated statistics and content analysis, this research will provide a greater understanding of the learning process evolved through computer conferencing.

Supervisor: Dr J Backhouse

Carol Hsu's homepage

Carol Hsu is currently a tutorial fellow in the Department of Information Systems at LSE and a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Information Systems at the City University of Hong Kong.

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IANNACCI, Frederico f.iannacci@lse.ac.uk
The Social Epistemology of Open Source Software Development: The Linux Case Study
Despite the burgeoning literature on the open source software life cycle, the structural premises characterising this new way of software development are still poorly understood let alone the associated coordination processes.

By using an in-depth qualitative analysis of the Linux case study, this dissertation sets out to remedy this literature gap, its main argument pivoting around the assumption that, at their basic level, open source projects may be considered as sense-making or interpretation systems.

Based on the idea that sense-making is a crucial aspect of all social systems, this dissertation takes the double interact, that is a set of two contingent responses between or among perceived others, as its unit of analysis to cast a new light on the coordination processes within exploration-oriented open source projects in general and the Linux kernel development in particular.

Informed by Weick’s Enactment-Selection-Retention model, it is argued that, within these projects, developers coordinate their networked interdependencies through the additive use of a wide set of mechanisms ranging from standardised patch submission procedures and bug reporting routines to planned social filters and localised adjustments. It is further maintained that these mechanisms fall within a broader set of collective assumptions, premises and expectations, in this dissertation referred to as social epistemology, whereby social procedures stand for taken-for-granted practices within the Linux social setting.

Although overlooked in the information systems domain in general and the open source literature in particular, it is claimed that the focus on social epistemology is a fruitful area for future research on coordination processes within virtual work environments because it accounts for the patterned and predictable reproduction of social interactions over time.

Supervisor: Dr J Kallinikos

Frederico Iannacci's homepage

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ILHARCO, Fernando M. (2002) fmi@fcee.ucp.pt
Information Technology as Ontology: a Phenomenological Investigation into Information Technology and Strategy In-the-World

This dissertation offers a phenomenological approach to the comprehension of Information Technology (IT) and Strategy, and of the relationships between these two phenomena. We argue that in order thoughtfully to understand the manifold connections between IT and Strategy, their contradictions, shortcomings, and possibilities, one has to rely on the essence of each of these phenomena.

The rationale of this approach implies the need to make explicit the ontological assumptions on which the investigation relies. An essential uncovering of that which IT and Strategy are can only take place as long as we lay bare a primary position on the nature of that which is. Martin Heidegger's Being and Time and, to a lesser extent, the theory of autopoiesis are the foundations of this investigation. We claim that these theories are paradigmatically consistent and show relevant complementarities, namely in what concerns the issues of action, information, and knowledge. The matching of these two theories provides the ontological and epistemological grounds of the investigation. Within this fundamental setting we argue that IT and Strategy will only essentially show up as long as they are accessed in-the-world in which they are what they are.

The research applies the phenomenological method of investigation in its original form as developed by Edmund Husserl. However we extend the Husserlian formulation in a last phase by using the arguments of Heidegger on the opening up of possible concealed meanings of phenomena. The method sets the boundaries of the research. IT and strategy are phenomenological analysed not as empirical objects, events, or state of affairs, but as intentional objects of consciousness. These are formally indicated from the outset of the investigation as the ITness of IT and the Strategyness of Strategy.

The central conclusions of the investigation are that (1) IT is an ontological phenomenon, substantively penetrating the being-in-the-world we, ourselves, are; and, (2) Strategy, essentially choosing to choose, has been unfolding throughout History guided by the concealed meaning of a striving for an authentic identity. These essential notions uncover a complex set of relationships between the two phenomena. Those relationships are thus described and characterised. We also show that although phenomenology is not empirical its results have many important implications for the empirical world.

Fernando Ilharco is currently a Lecturer in Management in the School of Economics and Business Science at the Catholic University in Lisbon, Portugal

Supervisor: Professor I Angell

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ISLAMOGLU, Mehmet (2000) islamoglumehmet@hotmail.com
Transaction Cost Applications in Information Systems: Explicating Institutions' Influences on Governance
Advances in information technology have brought about significant reductions in measurement costs. This has created incentives for organizations to realign their transactions with more market-oriented governance structures so as to adapt to the changing trade-offs between measurement, enforcement, and asset specificity costs. Williamson's theory on governance of contractual relations, one of the leading analytic tools deployed for this purpose, remains, as noted by Williamson himself, in need of significant refinements regarding the effects, on governance structures' comparative transaction cost efficacies, of institutions on the one hand, and the behavioural attributes of individuals on the other. The institutional shortcomings of Williamson's theory have severely limited the generalizability of case studies on IT-enabled realignments, thereby undermining the extent to which such studies can inform IT-enabled realignment attempts elsewhere.

This research presents an institutional approach which, by overcoming some of the institutional shortcomings of Williamson's theory, extends the generalizability of IT-enabled realignment case studies, thereby increasing the extent to which such studies can provide lessons for other IT-enabled realignment initiatives. The utility of the approach is tested in two case studies. The first case study focuses on the alignment with more marketlike, local pay structures of nurses' employment contracts within the institutional environment of the British National Health Service. The second case study focuses on the sales and employment transactions of Ozkose, a leading Turkish bakery equipment manufacturer, within the institutional environment of Turkey.

Mehmet Islamoglu is currently Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems in the Department of Business Administration at Eastern Mediterranean University in Northern Cyprus

Supervisor: Dr J Liebenau

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JOHNSTONE, Justine (2005) j.johnstone@sussex.ac.uk
Knowledge, Development and Technology: Internet Use among Voluntary-sector AIDS Organisations in KwaZulu-Natal
Knowledge is frequently invoked as an explanatory factor in the relationship between technology and development, yet seldom with reference to an explicit conception of knowledge and almost never with reference to contemporary epistemology. The result is a multiplicity of different and in some cases contradictory ‘knowledge-based’ approaches. At the same time, epistemology is undergoing significant developments that suggest promising directions of enquiry and collaboration with the social and natural sciences. Of particular interest are evolving naturalistic and externalist perspectives in analytic epistemology, where an emerging programme can be discerned aimed at bridging the gap between philosophical and empirical study of the way in which we come to know the world.

This project can be seen as part of such a programme, applying naturalistic epistemology to the field of development and technology as the basis of a more grounded and general theory with a range of empirical applications. It begins with a discussion of the philosophical position, identifying three core dimensions of knowledge, their normative features and the potential of technology to support and extend functioning on each dimension. This theory is shown to have close affinities with the capability approach developed by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum, leading to the articulation of a generic theory of ‘knowledge capability’.

The second half of the project applies the general theory to a case study of Internet use among AIDS NGOs in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, where HIV prevalence rates of 37.5% have been recorded and where response to the epidemic has been left largely to civil society. The knowledge dimensions of NGO AIDS work are explored and conclusions drawn about the interactions between technology use, existing capabilities and wider environmental factors in determining the degree to which technology can in this case be considered a knowledge tool.

Supervisor: Dr S Madon

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Justine Johnstone is currently a lecturer at the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex


KAKIHARA, Masao(2003) kakihara@kwansei.ac.jp
Emerging Work Practices of ICT-Enabled Mobile Professionals

Currently, mobility is a significantly pervasive term; the concept is being widely used in multiple discussions including social, economic, political, and technological debates. However, the theoretical grounding of the concept is surprisingly unstable. This thesis aims to offer a theoretical foundation for the concept of mobility, particularly in contemporary work contexts. With support of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in general and mobile technology in particular, contemporary work activities are increasingly distributed and dynamically conducted in various locations. In such an emerging work environment, maintaining a highly level of ‘mobility’ is becoming critical for contemporary workers, particularly for mobile professionals. Based on the theoretical considerations on the concept of mobility, this thesis empirically explores the dynamic and heterogeneous nature of mobile professionals’ work practices

In order to appreciate and explain the nature of mobility in contemporary work, this thesis specifically addresses the emerging work practices of mobile professionals. The data collection consisting of in-depth interviews and ad-hoc observations of sixty-two professional workers was conducted in Tokyo, Japan during the summer of 2002. Informed by the results of this qualitative field study, the thesis discusses a distinct mode of mobility in mobile professional work. The mode of mobility is characterised not only by extensive geographical movement but also by operational flexibility and intense interaction in mobile professionals’ dynamic work activities. Based on these theoretical and empirical discussions, this thesis aims: 1) to theoretically underpin our understanding of mobility in contemporary work contexts; 2) to offer empirically grounded implications for the post-bureaucratic, fluid organising of work; and finally 3) to advance the ongoing debate on the dynamic interplay of work, organisation, and technology.

Masao Kakihara is curently an Assistant Professor in Business Information in the School of Business Administration at Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan

Supervisor: Dr C Sørensen

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KHIAONARONG, Tanai (1999) TanaiK@bot.or.th
Banking and Innovation: The Case of Payment Systems Modernisation in Thailand
This thesis examines the role of banks in influencing innovation and analyses their links to payment systems modernisation. The main argument is that banks are a type of technological institution having the potential to promote innovation, although such roles may be implicit or secondary. This role is investigated in eight chapters. The first three chapters review the major innovation models and progress in payment system. An analytical framework, based on evolutionary and resource-based views, is developed to examine how resources and routines, which reflect an organisation's stock of skills, influence innovation, and assist them in sustaining competitive advantage.

The following three chapters present the empirical results. In a survey of innovation in the banking industry, research results suggested that although there were relatively high levels of information technology awareness and application, particularly in payment system automation, there remained a moderate level of innovative capabilities among the banks studied. Further analysis through four mini case studies of the largest commercial banks also suggested similar increases in technological investments, but replication rates were also relatively high. Thus, it is argued that such investments may gain, but not sustain, competitive advantage, whereby the latter requires banks to innovate by acquiring, accumulating, and advancing their stock of skills. In this respect, the role of the central bank in creating a conducive environment for innovation is also important, which may be seen through its involvement in payment systems modernisation.

The final two chapters discuss policy and research implications. It is argued that central bank policies oriented towards payment system reform, along with new payment product and services development by commercial banks, have come to play a progressive part in promoting technological innovation in banking. Such roles in reforming rudimentary payment systems have helped strengthen national information infrastructures, especially in emerging market economies, and moreover, have influenced the set-up of a national innovation system in banking, which underpins economic development.

Tanai Khiaonarong is currently a Senior Analyst in the Financial Institutions Policy Group at the Bank of Thailand in Bangkok, Thailand

Supervisor: Dr J Liebenau

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KLECUN (KLECUN-DABROWSKA), Ela (2001) e.klecun@lse.ac.uk
Telehealth And Information Society: A Critical Study of Emerging Concepts in Policy and Practice
This thesis explores a number of interrelated factors that influence the development of telehealth. Telehealth refers to health-related services that can be provided in electronic form over various telecommunications networks, including applications beyond clinical settings and reaching out to communities and homes. As such this study encompass different disciplines and draws not only on the medical tradition but also on information systems, social policy and ideas of information society.

The study is based on a fundamental claim that technology does not follow a pre-determinate path but is shaped by people, who in turn are constrained by historical conditions and current structures. This research takes into consideration a number of such defining structures, including the organisation of health care in Britain, the health policy process, strategies for the employment of information and communications technologies (ICTs), conflicting ethical traditions and their manifestations in evaluation processes, and visions of an information society.

The theoretical position and research approach is predominantly informed by critical theory. Thus the work focuses on the different, often conflicting interests of varied stakeholders. It also unveils factors constraining social aims to which telehealth could aspire, e.g. reducing social exclusion, and proposes ideas that might encourage such developments. Insights into these concepts and their practical manifestations are explored through a case studies, which investigates a variety of telehealth projects and initiatives in London Borough of Lewisham.

The thesis' contribution is twofold - practical and theoretical. The practical contribution is aimed at those who work in and study telehealth, offering a new approach and focus that is not substantially found in other telehealth studies. In this the thesis makes a contribution to the ongoing debates about telehealth's potential as a means of organizational reform and the means and methods used in its evaluation. The theoretical contribution is found in the thesis' re-affirmation of the applicability of critical theory to the development of ICT based social and organizational innovations, re-conceptualised in the light of post-modern and information society theories.

Ela Klecun-Dabrowska is curently a Lecturer in the Department of Information Systems at LSE

Supervisor: Dr T Cornford

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LAWRENCE, Cameron (2005) cameron.lawrence@business.umt.edu
The Transformation of IT Governance: A Neo-Institutional Interpretation
The aim of this thesis is to examine how deeply institutionalized IT governance arrangements change over time. This research project focuses on the transformation journey of the IT organization within one state government in America. This journey witnessed: a historically dominant model of managing the IT function breakdown, and lose organizational legitimacy; and the process that gave rise to a fundamentally different organizational arrangement. This process was captured through a longitudinal case study lasting several years.

It is clear the IS research community has invested considerable energy in, and made progress toward, understanding the different ways to organize an enterprise’s IT activities. However, little research has been directed at the process ‘dynamics’ of IT function transformation. Furthermore, a review of the subset of literature related to the transformation of the IT function takes a predominately one-sided perspective that relies on what Orlikowski calls ‘planned change’ models. These models “…presume that managers are the primary source of organizational change, and that these actors deliberately initiate and implement changes in response to perceived opportunities to improve organizational performance or “fit” with the environment” (Orlikowski 1996).

This research is an attempt to provide an alternative perspective to the planned change models that dominate the literature about the transformation of the IT function. This is accomplished by drawing upon neo-institutional theory and conceptualizing the IT function as an ‘institution’. This perspective suggests that IT governance arrangements within some organizations possess a deeply ingrained, taken-for-granted, status that is resistant to change. We submit that a neo-institutional approach provides us with a well-established body of knowledge that allows us to conceptualize the IT function, and its transformation, in a more meaningful, and theoretically rigorous, manner. The process of institutional change captured in our case study is analyzed and explained by coupling two innovative analytic frameworks found within the larger neo-institutional literature. The coupling of the analytic frameworks enables us to provide an insightful and nuanced interpretation of the IT function transformation process, which has implications for theory and practice alike.

Cameron Lawrence is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Information Systems and Technology at the The University of Montana School of Business Administration in Missoula, Montana, USA

Supervisor: Prof C Avgerou

Cameron Lawrences' homepage

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LEE, Heejin (1997) heejin@unimelb.edu.au
Temporal Implications of Information Systems in Organisational Work: An Exploratory Study
Time is generally considered taken-for-granted and natural. This research begins with the proposition that time is social and cultural. As such, time may interact with, and be affected by anything that makes up the social world. Information technologies have become an essential part of social world. Therefore time is affected by information technologies in organizations.

This research investigates how information technologies, here electronic data interchange (EDI) technology, affect temporal orders in organizational work in trading companies in Korea. It conducted case studies of three companies using Korea Trade Network (KTNET) and analyzed the way information technologies have affected their working processes in terms of time. Although they have sped up the flow of work process and, thereby, allowed us to save time, we do not know what happens other than the speeding -up and the time-saving. This research aims to illuminate more concretely changes in temporal orders of organizational work generated by the new information technology.

The dimensions of temporal order are derived from previous research on time in organizational studies.

This research will contribute by increasing our knowledge of temporal as well as cultural impacts of information systems on organizations.

Heejin Lee is curently a Lecturer in the Department of Information Systems at the University of Melbourne , Australia

Heejin Lee's homepage

Supervisor: Dr J Liebenau

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LIN, Angela (2000) a.lin@sheffield.ac.uk
Initiating System Innovation: a Technological Frames Analysis of the Origins of Groupware Projects

This research explores the origins of information systems innovation through two case studies of groupware projects. The thesis argues that the study of the origins of projects has an important role in explaining the subsequent events during the more formal implementation activity. This is particularly so in the case of groupware, where a substantial literature has emerged describing and analysing the unpredicted outcomes of such projects. The research is based on a model of systems adoption as a continuous process, and with the choices and decisions taken at an early stage with regard to technology having significant effects on the adoption across time. The analysis of the early stages of a project can be significant in explaining subsequent levels and degrees of system use. It is argued that in order to provide a more complete description of the adoption process one needs to go back to the origins of a project and to examine the choices and decisions made during that period. This period of initiation of groupware projects has received little attention in CSCW research and scarcely more in the broader IS field. The purpose of this thesis is both to address this absence of scrutiny and to argue for its significance.

The thesis presents a detailed review of CSCW and related literature, and explores how and to what extent the initiation of projects has been considered and addressed within this field. The thesis then develops a research framework to explore initiation, based on a synthesis of the contextualist approach with a cognitive model based on Orlikowski's notion of technological frames. The thesis then applies the framework in the analysis of two interpretive case studies of the initiation of groupware projects. These case studies were conducted in the British Oxygen Company (BOC) and the Bank for International Settlement (BIS).

These studies produce an account of initiation activity that offers a particular emphasis on how time plays multiple roles in the process, linking content, context and process. These roles include, in addition to conventional 'clock time', time as an indicator, time as an era, and time as measurement and control. The findings also illustrate the duality of individuals' technological frames; that is, individuals' frames are both the basis and the consequence of the choices and decisions made by those same individuals. The analysis explores how and to what extent changes in the organisational or cultural setting (context and process) can have an impact on frames of reference, and how they are shared and communicated.

Supervisor: Dr T Cornford

Angela Lin is currently a lecturer in information systems in the Department of Information Studies at the University of Sheffield

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Authors M-Z

Page last updated 15 January, 2006