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Title: Gender and user resistance : the failure to stabilise a nursing information system
Author: Wilson, Melanie
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis is about a group of women working as qualified nurses in an NHS Trust Hospital in the North of England, and their relationship with an information system (IS) introduced onto the wards under the auspices of a major and highly contentious governmental policy of the 1980’s, the Resource Management Initiative. In relating the story of these users’ interaction with information technology (IT) two key issues are explored: the nature of IT failure and the role played by gender in the outcome of new technology adoption. In much of the recent prescriptive IS literature, the relationship of users to IS has come to be conceived as fundamental to the success and failure of technological systems. At the same time, social studies of technology (SST) have problematised the success/failure categories. By suspending disbelief concerning the inherent technological superiority of dominant artefacts, SST has shown how particular options in the developmental period of artefacts become stabilised and are defined as ’successes’ only ’after the fact’. Furthermore, ’success’ may be accomplished by virtue of the increasing adoption of the artefact, its markets created, its attributes flaunted or even because its supporters quite simply ’rewrite history’. Success and failure may thus be considered as social constructions, the result of hindsight, and the victory of one version of the technology over alternative contending accounts. Using the case study of a Nursing Information System (NIS), this thesis demonstrates the applicability of a social shaping approach to IT and software development for deconstructing the success/failure divide and providing a means to understand how failures occur within their social and organisational context. Two areas relevant to the nurse-users’ attitudes and responses are gender and nursing practice. Presenting an argument for the substantial influence of gender on computer usage in organisations, and associating this ’to a gender perspective on nursing, the scene is set for the empirical research into how these complex and sometimes contradictory issues are played out in the local setting.
Supervisor: Walsh, Vivien Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available