Global practices and local interests : implementing 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.