Development of performance models for co-operative information systems in an organisational context
The thesis reports of a study into the effect upon organisations of co-operative information systems (CIS) incorporating flexible communications, group support and group working technologies. A review of the literature leads to the development of a model of effect based upon co-operative business tasks. CIS have the potential to change how co-operative business tasks are carried out and their principal effect (or performance) may therefore be evaluated by determining to what extent they are being employed to perform these tasks. A significant feature of CIS use identified is the extent to which they may be designed to fulfil particular tasks, or by contrast, may be applied creatively by users in an emergent fashion to perform tasks. A research instrument is developed using a survey questionnaire to elicit users judgements of the extent to which a CIS is employed to fulfil a range of co-operative tasks. This research instrument is applied to a longitudinal study of Novell GroupWise introduction at Northamptonshire County Council during which qualitative as well as quantitative data were gathered. A method of analysis of questionnaire results using principles from fuzzy mathematics and artificial intelligence is developed and demonstrated. Conclusions from the longitudinal study include the importance of early experiences in setting patterns for use for CIS, the persistence of patterns of use over time and the dominance of designed usage of the technology over emergent use.