OASIS workshop 2009 in Phoenix AZ, USA

Event date: 
2009-12-15 to 2023-02-08

IFIP 8.2
Organizations and Society in Information Systems (OASIS) 2009 Workshop

ICIS Conference Hotel
Phoenix, AZ United States
9 AM - 4 PM Tuesday 15 December 2009: A Pre-ICIS Workshop

• Is your research concerned with the interaction of information systems, organizations and society?
• Are you ready to present some of your current research ideas and approaches?
• Do you need a forum to discuss some of your concepts and/or findings that have not yet crystallized
into a formal paper?
• Would you like feedback from your peers as you move your current work forward?
• Do you want to meet internationally respected researchers in information systems?

If so, we invite you to present your research-in-progress at OASIS, the IFIP Working Group 8.2 research workshop. The OASIS workshop is open to all interested scholars and professionals who are researching in the area of organizations, information systems, and society.

Come get to know our members and their research interests, issues, and methodologies in a relaxed and supportive setting. The unique and collegial character of the IFIP Working Group 8.2 ensures constructive, helpful and high quality feedback.

To present, please submit a 500-word abstract of your work to ug.caict@cbs.dk by October 25 2009. We anticipate that submitters will be given about 10-15 minutes to present their work to the assembled group, followed by 5-10 minutes for questions from the audience. The exact timing and review process will depend on the number of abstracts received. Proposals will be made available online prior to the meeting. Authors submitting proposals must grant the IFIP WG 8.2 the right to publish them online, but retain all other copyrights.

The registration fee for the workshop is $80 which will be used to cover the cost of coffee breaks, audio-visual equipment, and copying. All attendees and presenters will be required to register. Online pre-registration for the workshop through the ICIS website will become available in September. In addition we will provide registration at the door in cash. Details will be provided on the IFIP WG 8.2 Website.

Time and Place:
The workshop rooms are yet to be determined but will be affiliated with the ICIS 2009 Conference Hotel, Phoenix, AZ United States. The workshop will be held from 9 AM - 4 PM on Tuesday 15 December 2009, immediately prior to the ICIS 2009 conference. Details will be provided on the IFIP WG 8.2 Website and via email.

IFIP WG 8.2 Business Meeting: All workshop attendees and anyone interested in WG 8.2 are encouraged to attend the WG business meeting that will follow the workshop at 4:30 PM. At the business meeting, we will discuss future workshops and working conferences, elect new members to the working group, and conduct other business.

Please email any questions regarding this workshop to the chair at ug.caict@cbs.dk

We look forward to seeing you in Phoenix in December.

Uri Gal, Workshop Chair



Here are my notes for the Oasis workshop. The workshop had two parallel track. I went first to the track on Social and organizational aspects of IS.

The first talk was "A Theory of Constraints Perspective on Organizational Attention" by Nitza Geri. She mentioned recent attention to the "attention economy" but noted that Simon in 1971 had noted that information consumes attention and that a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention. She is applying "theory of constraints"--it focuses attention on bottlenecks in processes (originally in production) (Coldratt & Cox 1986; Goldratt, 1991 and 1994). It poses 7 focusing steps: define goal, determine performance measures, identify constraints, decide how to exploit constraint, subordinate system to constraint, elevate constraint. Goal: increase well-being of stakeholders and value for shareholders. So, how do organizations deal with attention constraint? Give people mobile devices, enable remote access and cultivate a culture of constant availability. But notes it may have negative impacts on work-life balance. Applies TOC to suggest mechanisms to elevate organizational attention while improving work-life balance.


The second was by Gaskin, Schutz, Berente, Lyytinen, Yoo (at Case and Michigan), "Balancing the Virtual and the Physical in Project-based Design Organizations". The project is about virtuality and materiality specifically in the context of innovative and distributed design processes. Noted that projects are "double distributed", with multiple models, with shifting organizational forms. Examples of lots of models for designing a building--which is virtual? Dictionary definition of virtual: existing in essence though not in actual fact. Contrast is not real and virtual; nor material and virtual; but rather digital vs. physical materiality. Virtual also has issues of remoteness. Made a 2x3: continuum from digital to physical with mix in between; vs. co-located vs. remote. Noted that most literature focuses on one cell, but projects move from cell to cell. Trying to formalize representation of processes based on ethnographic work. Have an ERD model of the activities, actors, tools, etc. Want to then look at distances between different processes. Planning four case studies in different organizations that do distributed design. Also hoping to develop a way to incorporate modelling.


The third talk was by James Howison on "Materiality and motivation in distributed work". Noted that work on the Internet can be quite motivating. Noted that organizing in this setting is reverse of traditional--not finding optimal use of resources for a problem, but rather attracting resources to a problem. Key issue is motivational, but often thought at very general level. Interested in how material aspects of the work affects motivation to work on particular tasks. Gave example of working on a new feature for BibDesk. Takeaways: substantive work was his, but with assistance; visibility of work prompted contribution from another. Questions: do people spend more or less time than they planned? Often more time. Motivational impact of visible work: unblocking; suggesting new avenues for other's work; reciprocation; audience effects: perfectionism, competence demonstration; simple pro-social experience of company. Suggests that temporal adjacency replaces geographic adjacency. Material requirements of online work: awake, present, attending to project and away from other things. Question for manager: how to get people to pay attention to your project.

Q: In interviews, can get people to talk about motivations for specific tasks. Two additional motivations: challenge, procrastination.

Q: did you consider flow theory? A: no, but should do.

Q: should examine other ways to think about time.


The final talk of the session was by Taline Jadaan, "Studying information infrastructures and organizational transformation". Did a case study of sensor technology use in five companies. Innovations at both automation, information and transformation level. Three inhibitors: insufficient integration, lack of organizational adjustments (e.g., no group to take care of the data generated) and uneven distribution of cost/benefit. Going to do a study of the Swedish Railroad Agencies. Historically the things the SRA takes care of are very big, durable, hard to create and so the organization is slow. But implementing sensor data implies real-time data and innovation. Interested in tension created by this mismatch: how the adoption and implementation of the technology affects the organization's mindset and vice versa. Using "formative context", Ciborra and Lanzara, 1994: set of institutional arrangements and cognitive imageries that inform the actors' practical and reasoning routines in organizations.

Q: in addition to uneven distribution of cost/benefit, there's also uneven distribution of risks. Cost/benefit can be handled with payoffs, but risks are harder. A: pressure from organizations for SRA to implement RFID, but concerns about risk and payoff of the technologies.

The session on Social and organizational aspects of IS continued after a coffee break. I had a conflicting meeting though.


After lunch, I went to a session on "Government, society, and ethics".

The first paper was by Richard Baskerville on "The Ethics of Online Class Privacy". He noted the availability of online social network data that could be useful for computer forensics analysis but there are questions about the ethics and legality of using the data. Some points: OLSN is not equal to SNA. F2F SN data are usually ephemeral while online interactions are usually perpetua. Groups can have different properties than the individuals. Much concern about abuse of privacy in social networks. Individual privacy = right to be let alone; group privacy = right to huddle. Some relations that have rights to privacy: marital, priest-penitent, lawyer-client. Many methods for analyzing data: for forensic feature extraction, network analysis. Chen et al 2003, Haggerty et al 2009 did SNA analysis of networks. Tension between ethical obligations to members and non-members of groups. Questions: does an OLSN have an identity, a right to privacy, etc. Some propositions (made extreme as a starting point): OLSN has no identity beyond identity of members, no right to privacy beyond rights of individuals. Individuals aren't harmed by release of data beyond individuals. Online social networks are public.

Q: aren't some networks private with password protection? A: usually easily broken into; might have a court order to get in. Or you are a member.

Example: if a corporate PC is used to access a network, does the corporation have the right to investigate the network?


The second paper was by Andrea Wiggins and Kevin Crowston: "Designing virtual organizations for citizen science". The motivation for the work is the "tyranny of scale" in scientific research: geographic, temporal or data scale. Many kinds of citizen science: galaxy zoo, butterflies, etc. Developed a conceptual framework to organize different kinds of goals: an input-moderators-outputs-inputs model. Each at individual and group level. Inputs include demographics, skills, motivations; organizational include task design, organizational design. Moderators: joining and contributing processes; scientific research issues, volunteer management, data management. Emergent states: commitment, roles; sustainability (often added late), community (some say it should be input though). Outputs: contributions, satisfaction, learning. Organizational output: knowledge, communication, innovation. Issues: heterogeneity and scope of projects--lots of topics, very different in size. Participation in projects can be in different sorts: crowd sourcing, layered individual work, small group interactions, networks of practice, social movements. Current work: a typology of citizen science projects, guided by framework. Will lead to in-depth case studies. Examine experience design of contributors' participation to optimize for: scientifically valuable outcomes, participant benefit and learning and project sustainability.

Q: what's the organizational level? A: sometimes projects are standalone; sometimes they're sponsored by a larger organization.

Q: is there a common technology platform? A: we did have a goal of coming up with some kind of technology platform that would be good for many different projects of a particular type. But sometimes technology is a barrier; people don't want to do data entry or work on line.


The third paper was by Ryan Baxter, "The Influence of Industry Structure on the Development and Deployment of a Personal Health Record System". Studying a small company that's do value-based design for a personal health record system that will motivate people to take better care of themselves. Question, how do they engage in both development and deployment of system. Started with a broad view: van de Ven's industry infrastructure. State of health care: costs increasing, much driven by chronic conditions that could be ameliorated by prevention. Incentives could help people follow doctors' orders and stay healthier. About 50% of the programs are employer funded. Employers pay the costs, but buy reinsurance for stop-loss, hire a plan administrator to run the program and reimbursement. May try to incentivize the individual to be healthier. Personal health record records health information to support decisions. Goal of this system is that individual shouldn't have to gather and enter the data themselves. Data would also be available to company managers to monitor aggregate conditions and reduce costs. Taking an engaged scholarship approach. Following company over 2 years with lead developer as the key informant. Company founded by a doctor who wanted a different way to organize care. van de Ven industry infrastructure: resource endowments; institutional arrangements; market consumption; proprietary activities. Looked at process: strategy, action, learning and feedback. Looked at three phases, before PHR, v1.0, v2.0. Version 1 was to be between the employers and the 3rd party administrators to get the data. Found that it was hard to manage the relationships and it was very hard to gather the data from the different sources. In v2.0 they decided to market to third party administrators. Discovered that the TPA had little incentives to innovate--mostly commodity business. Decided they need to develop relations with employers, disease management companies. What did they learn: TPA is nexus of the data, but no particular incentive to innovate. Development for customers vs. for end-users. Tension: primary vision vs. development vs. deployment.


The fourth talk was by Marie-Claude Trudel, "Participation and resistance to implementation in emerging and complex IS projects". Studying health smart card initiative in Quebec; that project didn't succeed, but it has evolved into the sharable patient record, then the interoperable electronic health record. Smart card was an administrative card that would be mandatory. But optionally it would include a health summary, e.g., vaccinations, allergies, etc. Questions: why was the card abandoned? Not about an organization. Lots of stakeholders. Groups and subgroups with lots of different perspectives. Interorganizational, sort of. But many of the stakeholders aren't organizations per se. Not a project yet--more the project selection decision. Part of National Health Information Infrastructure. Using actor-network theory. She found that there wasn't a single system; stakeholders were supporting or opposing different versions. Couldn't reach alignment on issues like opting-in vs. opting-out (doctors wanted opt-out so most patients would have it; patient groups wanted opt in so it was optional); administrative vs. clinical usage vs. both; incomplete summaries allowed vs. forbidden (e.g., can you hide a procedure or diagnosis that you feel isn't relevant to current situation); centralized vs. decentralized database. People did agree that it is important to share information to improve patient care. Question: what can we do to help more recent similar initiatives progress? Seems like the same issues are arising in design of current systems, e.g., interoperable record.

Q: conflicting interests around the issue seem like they're similar to what arises in a standards problem, so you might look at the standards literature.

Q: must be some system in place now with information about the patients. Or look at other countries that have implemented such systems, e.g., UK. A: yes, have looked, interesting, but there are substantial differences that mean it can't apply directly.


The final presentation of the session was by Isabelle Fagnot, on "Enhancing organizational information security through attitude inoculation". Draws on 2 projects she worked on at Syracuse. Organizational information security is technical and behavioural practices. Need to have an organizational information security culture that balances best security practices with assessment of threats and understanding of users needs and practices. Note that employee's behaviour and attitude impact--lots of unintentional insecurities. E.g., distribution of inappropriate email, unauthorized access to computer systems. E.g., employee taking data home to work on and having laptop stolen. Password sharing, social engineering. Using inoculation theory--weak attack on attitudes can protect individual against subsequent attacks on attitudes. Developing inoculation messages. Planning an experimental study to look at whether the inoculations would help in SMEs.

Q: suggests adding a fourth phase with another attack message to distinguish between inoculation and people who had a negative outcome.

Q: definition of a security breach?

Q: do a qualitative assessment to see what people thought about the attack messages and see how they think differently if they've had the inoculation

Q: could do a critical incident questioning to see if they have had experiences in the past.

Q: do need a manipulation check to be sure the inoculation is being received.


The final session of the day was titled "Social web and open source"

The first presentation was by me, on "Genres in free / libre / open source software development". I didn't take notes while I talked though.

Q: why not talk about ritual and myth? A: analysis of documents is closer to the data.

Q: interesting to look at changes in the genres, e.g., new comers are now more welcomed. A: yes, might be able to trace different lineages of development practices by genre repertoires.


The second presentation was by Yoshiaki Fukami on the "Effect of Openness, Open source and Standardization in Building attractive platform". He is a part of the social web incubation group of the W3C. An incubation group does rapid development of new web-related concepts. They're working on issues related to social web, e.g., open ID, open Auth, etc. Trying to drive standardization. Lots of standard groups and interested organizations. There are many players interested in social web; companies, consortia, grass root standard setters or user groups. Now more semantic data being exchanged. Key issues in developing platforms. Issues in developing an attractive platform: attractive for application developers, open APIs, interoperability. Argues that openness is more attractive than holding a patent. Open used to mean neutral. Now means open interfaces and non-proprietary. E.g., people were attracted to Android not because it was open but because it was sponsored by Google. 3 ways to attract developers: open more APIs, e.g., Yahoo Search Monkey or Google Maps. Make a proprietary technology standard to encourage developers to use it. E.g., google gears has moved into html 5. Open source proprietary technology. E.g., WebKit, Android. Need to analyze both from perspective of standards and of open source.


The third presentation was by Rachael Ip on "Uses of Social Software in Personal and Organizational Settings – The impact of organizational communications policies and communications norms". Question: does use of social software fit organizational environments? Some encourage use and some ban it due to concerns about network security or confidential data. Looking at use in banks, as a domain with considerable concerns. Looking at how and why do individual use social software in the workplace? Considering using TAM. Second, why do individuals start to use social software in the workplace after home use? Using "spill-over" theory. Looking at different kinds of policies: promotion, permission, prohibition and no policy and at objective norms: degree of consensus about the technology in the group. Found some differences between use at different levels of the employee.


The fourth presentation was by Paul Meyer and Jens Dibbern on "Using microblogging in work teams". Drew on definition of awareness in teams: Dourish and Bellotti. Awareness can help support coordination and knowledge sharing. Questions--why do people do it? Role of privacy and cost of time. Looking at use of twitter in a research group working on a group project. Tweets were about availability, activity, process, information sharing or social. Messages evolved over time--added more of later types. Motivations: intrinsic. But also extrinsic motivations: showing effort was made, get feedback or assistance on a task. Reading to get status. Suggest that task interdependencies motivate push for real time information (yammer.com). For similar tasks suggest need more pull technology. Now working on a framework and hoping to study global technology teams using the tools to improve knowledge sharing.

Q: did you see use for social search? A: yes, didn't mention it. Did study with a closed team, but people did mention they wanted to use it to connect to others.


The final presentation of the session was by Humayun Rashid and Lin Zhao on "Can a vibrant open source software industry help Africa get out of the poverty traps?" Noted that he has a colleague at a University in Kenya that serves a poor community. Hoping to help improve innovation to help improve economy and jobs. Noted that Internet penetration in Africa is pretty minimal. Noted several traps that affect Africa: conflict trap, natural resource trap, landlocked with bad neighbours, bad governance; continental challenges: disease, hunger, security. Foreign aid hasn't really helped. Thought that IT could be a good industry in the area. Kenya is reasonably well positioned to start in this area. OSS seemed useful so money doesn't get spent on licenses and code is available for future development. But there is a lack of belief that it can work on the part of the organizations in the region. Starting point for such efforts are often the universities. Has some examples, but nothing very systematic yet.

Q: Ubuntu Foundation?

Q: Vodafone Foundation


And that was it for the Oasis workshop.

Here are my notes for the OASIS workshop on 12/15/09, for the sessions that I attended which have not already been reported upon.


Session: Social & Organizational aspects of IS (2)

1. Symbolic roles of the IT field researcher: integrating change, power, and researcher challenges - Kaarst-Brown et al.

Reflective study on researcher involvement in field studies; similarities to consulting: timeline of entry, presence, exit. Links of stages of change in consulting to this series of events - entry triggers the awareness of need for change; exit means organization is done with change efforts and ready to move on to something else.
5 symbolic roles for consultants: change to come, changing norms and roles (consultants brought in just to get attention), power redistribution, "wishing well" (I wish this would happen), exit - organizational empowerment - sense that the work is finished.
Power and change - although researcher is permitted access, interruption of organizational change is not really desired. Symbol of change to come - interpreted as importance of project; alternately, people don't know why the researcher is there. Symbol of the importance of generating ideas and new services.
Power redistribution - worry that people need to consider things differently because researcher is asking about it.
Extant power - at entry/selection stage, researcher is symbol of success of organizational activities.
Many similarities of symbolic roles activated just by researcher presence. These are unintended consequences, outside of researcher control, with unintended exercise of power by researcher. Questionable that these align in the same way to stages as for consultants.
Is this worth pursuing? Can IT field researchers do a better job by understanding their potential symbolism, or does it just complicate things? Potential risks of admitting symbolic roles, e.g. with IRB, and impacts on organization.

2. An exploration of the use of always-on technologies in organizations - Middleton et al.

Started as research on broadband usage in libraries; Canadian and NA-centric, circa 2005, with new data collection around policies, procedures, productivity issues of always-on technologies - specifically Blackberry use.
Impacts - costs, security; contradictions of use - productivity vs distraction, speed vs accuracy, work-life balance; deterministic nature of technology? To what extent are these practices and impacts being shaped by the technology itself?
Issues of costs of unmonitored use of Blackberries: deskbound worker with 2 desk phones, no need to be mobile, but running up 2400 minutes a month, very expensive for organization. 42 people at a consulting firm running over $750 a month each - over $60K for these 42 people. This becomes a big issue, they went to individuals and asked them to change behaviors - people were not aware of costs of usage, they didn't see their bills, etc.
Clearly articulated productivity benefits (difference over several years ago): recordkeeping and tracking; integration and availability of information, calendaring, contacts (rise of smart phones, not PDA plus cell anymore); industry-specific apps especially for camera and video.
Use in meetings: using device is distracting to everyone in the room - the person is no longer an active participant so the meeting takes longer and is also less productive in that instance. More and more organizations starting to push back, have policies about device use in meetings - when it was new, it was permitted, but came to the realization that it wasn't working and needed to change for everyone, not just those who are not executives.
Photos: Signs saying, this room is a cell phone and blackberry free zone: "You have permission to put the world on hold," and "Including underneath the boardroom table. Nice try." Organization changed boardroom table to glass top so this behavior would be visible. Someone takes device from owner and turns it off; owner struggles to figure out how to turn it back on because he has never turned it off before!
To what extent does this adoption have direct impacts on organizational communication practices? To what extent does the device adoption encourage that culture of always-on availability and overwork?
Situation has not changed in 5 years with respect to deterministic aspects: there's expectation of instant accessibility, perception that it's snubbing if you don't respond quickly - takes away time for reflection, shifts expectations and social interpretations. Device influences choice of communication mode - email prevails. Specific technical considerations affecting behavior - e.g. no good way to delay sending a message on Blackberry.
Work-life integration: more integration of personal/professional activities, with organizational sanction - so people can do personal life things on professional time as well (this has actually been shown elsewhere to have a really positive effect overall, but not the converse that goes with it.) Balance is still a struggle: can't separate personal and work use of devices.
Adoption is predictable: distraction and disruption in the name of productivity; perceived freedom comes at costs.
Reflective questions: Who is in control? Social shaping - institutive entanglement? (tight coupling) Is technology influencing organizational practices? What are impacts on employees? What about distraction?
Generational differences - in terms of duration of usage, not age group. Effects of experience using device on device usage.
People leave Blackberry signature on to signal that they are sending messages on the go, perhaps to excuse flaws in messages. Questioning the issue of mobility versus ubiquity, doesn't really have to do with mobility so much as always-on nature of use.
People will attribute change to the devices, may have to disentangle this from poor meeting management.

3. Practices for deinstitutionalization of an enterprise system: a case study - Svejvig and Carugati

RQs: What are intended and unintended practices involved in replacing enterprise systems with new ones?
ES are institutionalized, must be deinstitutionalized in order to migrate systems. Have not developed techniques for this process; decommissioning considered similar to implementation.
Influences of political, functional and social pressures on discontinuation of organizational practices - both entropy and inertia expected to contribute to dissipation/rejection of "old ways" of doing things.
Case study - Scandia, high tech company in Scandinavia which recently reimplemented their ES; 2 year longitudinal case study of implementation process. Using traditional institutional theory framework for analysis, examining different levels of social aggregation (organizational field, organization, project, subgroup) against various pressures (financial, political/strategic, functional, social) that are similar to those from Oliver.
Some practices accelerate deinstitutionalization while others affect institutional capabilities; some affect both sides, e.g. reduction of IT costs. Institutionalization is not just the mirror of deinstitutionalization.
Issue of how to measure the practices - not seeing that much change in practices in some areas; like replacing a car, you still drive the same way.

4. Exploring the Decision Process for Evaluating and Configuring Supply Chain Management Information Systems - McLaren and Manatsa

Thinking about fuzzy logic and design science. Challenges in enterprise systems (e.g. SCM software) selection - less rational than it seems. Detail of features extensive, how do you choose which one? What makes Oracle better than SAP?
Traditional software selection: pick that which matches requirements within cost constraints - issue is functionality overlap and info overload for decision. Optimize utility of software - diminishing returns of cost of searching, essentially leads to satisficing because it's hard to know if requirements are good. Instead, tendency of going to mimicry (institutional isomorphism) - WalMart uses this so we should too.
Fuzzy logic is about making decision information out of vague concepts. Continuous rather than binary categorizations of characteristics like "tall" - are you a little bit tall? 3% or so?
Challenges in procurement in Canada for government systems - if vendors feel procurement is not fairly done, they will sue. So they have to more adequately defend their choices, cannot make choices just because SAP has a good presentation and treated them to nice meals.
Design science research as a good way to incorporate qualitative and quantitative methods. Based on prior theories to come up with design principles that are prototyped and evaluated, e.g. with interviews/documents (qual) and questionnaires/experiments (quant). These can lead to exploratory research that assesses the theories for application according to verifiability, descriptive utility, and prescriptive utility; then it moves into more confirmatory research mode for evaluating predictive utility.


Session: Social Web & Open Source

1. Genres in FLOSS development - Crowston

How is IT changing organizations and organizational practices? FLOSS as extreme case of virtual work.
Genres: socially recognized regularities of form and purpose. Looking at collections of genres tells us something about the community. We understand how it was created, who created it, and how we might use it.
Patterns of use reveal organizational practices: as a whole, in specific roles. Evolving over time to reflect organizational change.
Open source: much is publicly available, this allows us to ask about what they are doing and how they work.
By looking at genres we can get some insight into team structure. Genres include code; looking at CVS helps us know who is "core" and information about their activities, so patterns of use tell us about roles.
Common sources of information include email archives, which tell us who is active and what kinds of things they are doing. Email isn't the genre, it's the medium, but will be used to instantiate different genres, e.g. patch messages, user requests, bug reports.
Bug reports also have genres - knowledge of this genre is part of knowing membership. Attempts to write bug reports get swatted down if you don't do it right. So learning to do a bug report the right way is a step in membership. Typical bug report messages: "I think this has been fixed already" and "It works for me."
Genre is useful for understanding role differences - document genres are more important because almost all communications are written.

Steve: why genres and not rituals and myths? A: analysis goes down a level closer to the data. The words are the performances.
Genres across projects; how are they recreated? Could identify three or four flavors of open source by their documents that reveal roots.