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.