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Title: The socio-technical dynamics of ICT innovation : a social shaping analysis of portals
Author: Gerst, Martina Helga
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2006
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The thesis attempts to expand the understanding of the socio-technical dynamics patterning both the decision making process and the outcomes of complex ICT innovation projects. The thesis seeks to overcome the shortcomings of existing social and economic research on inter-organisational standardisation by redressing the limitations in terms of empirical scope and analytical frameworks of, on the one hand, studies of standard setting processes which neglect the wider and subsequent context of implementation and, on the other, of ‘diffusions of standards’ studies which ignore the way in which standards evolve in their implementation. This study specifically answers theoretical and practical questions of ICT innovation dynamics in a complex multi spaced setting, combining economic, technical and sociological theories. The research draws on the Social Shaping of Technology (SST) perspective by explaining ICT innovations as historical and contexted actor-focussed technological change processes. The thesis develops a Multi-level Space of Innovation Dynamics (MSID) framework to capture the dynamics of standardised portal technology development and its outcomes on two levels: at a micro level focusing on individuals and groups in the adopting organisation (zoom in), and at the meso level, addressing the effects that the dynamics have in the broader context of the sector (zoom out). Jørgensen’s concept of ‘arena’ is used to analyse the way in which the actors involved at the company and the industry level are configured together. The turbulent dynamics are analysed as the outcome of complex processes of change involving the configuration and re-configuration of the various arenas and networks in which the array of involved organisational actors are embedded. The research finds that ICT innovations are shaped by history and context of the adopting organisation and the actors involved. The extremely complex organisational politics of decision making process were patterned by the configuration of the project and the management of expertise. Interactions and realignments amongst this complex set of socio-technical factors led to a drift in the subsequent outcomes. This study supports the evidence in existing literature that supply chains are mutually shaped by technology and the adopting user organisation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available