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  • 1.
    Adam, A.
    et al.
    University of Salford.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Richardson, H.
    University of Salford.
    A decade of neglect: Reflecting on gender and IS2004In: New technology, work and employment, ISSN 0268-1072, E-ISSN 1468-005X, Vol. 19, no 3, p. 222-240Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper presents the case that research on gender and information systems (IS), from both quantitative and qualitative traditions, is problematic as the concept of gender continues to remain under-theorised. This will be elaborated upon with a critique of some recent qualitative and quantitative research papers that have been published in key IS journals within a ten-year period.

  • 2.
    Bergvall-Kåreborn, Birgitta
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Computer Science.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Manchester Business School.
    Amazon Mechanical Turk and the Commodification of labour2014In: New technology, work and employment, ISSN 0268-1072, E-ISSN 1468-005X, Vol. 29, no 3, p. 213-223Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 3.
    Bergvall-Kåreborn, Birgitta
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Crowdsourcing and ICT work: a study of Apple and Google mobile phone application developers2011Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 4.
    Bergvall-Kåreborn, Birgitta
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Mobile applications development on Apple and Google platforms2011In: Communications of the Association for Information Systems, ISSN 1529-3181, E-ISSN 1529-3181, Vol. 29, no 1, article id 30Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 5.
    Bergvall-Kåreborn, Birgitta
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Persistent problems and practices in information systems development: a study of mobile applications development and distribution2014In: Information Systems Journal, ISSN 1350-1917, E-ISSN 1365-2575, Vol. 24, no 5, p. 425-444Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The widespread uptake of mobile technologies has witnessed a re-structuring of the mobile market with major shifts in the predominance of particular firms and the emergence of new business models. These sociotechnical trends are significant in the ways that they are influencing and shaping the working lives of software professionals. Building on prior research investigating the persistent problems and practices of systems development, this paper examines mobile applications development and distribution. A qualitative study of 60 developers based in Sweden, the UK and the USA was analysed around the interrelated problems of diversity, knowledge and structure. The analysis revealed how platform-based development in an evolving mobile market represents significant changes at the business environment level. These changes ripple through and accentuate ongoing trends and developments, intensifying the persistent problems and challenges facing software developers.

  • 6.
    Bergvall-Kåreborn, Birgitta
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    The Apple business model: Crowdsourcing mobile applications2013In: Accounting Forum, ISSN 0155-9982, E-ISSN 1467-6303, Vol. 37, no 4, p. 280-289Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Much to Apple's chagrin, the ‘suicide express’ at the Foxconn manufacturing complex in China has been widely reported. While outsourcing the manufacture of technology components is neither new nor unique, the external sourcing of digital content is integral to the success of Apple's business model. In 2008, Apple opened up their platform to third-party IT developers, leveraging their expertise for the supply of applications. Apple's rapid dominance of the mobile market led to the emergence of a business model that weaves together Internet-enabled mobile devices with digital content, brought together within a closed proprietary platform or ecosystem. Applying a Global Production Network analysis, this paper reports on fieldwork among Apple mobile application developers in Sweden, the UK, and the US. The analysis shows that although some developers experience success, financial returns remain elusive and many encounter intense pressure to generate and market new products in a competitive and saturated market. Crowdsourcing allows Apple to effectively source development to a global base of software developers, capitalizing on the mass production of digital products while simultaneously managing to sidestep the incurred costs and responsibilities associated with directly employing a high-tech workforce.

  • 7.
    Bergvall-Kåreborn, Birgitta
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    ‘The future’s bright, the future’s mobile’: a study of Apple and Google mobile application developers2013In: Work, Employment and Society, ISSN 0950-0170, E-ISSN 1469-8722, Vol. 27, no 6, p. 964-981Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Software work is often depicted as a ‘sunrise occupation’, consisting of knowledge workers that are able to craft stable careers. The aim of this article is to question this account by analysing the experiences of mobile applications developers, with a focus on Apple and Google platforms. The analysis is situated in the context of wider socioeconomic trends and developments in product and technology markets, since these structures frame the working practices of software developers. Drawing on qualitative fieldwork in Sweden, the UK, and the US, the study reveals how changing market structures have given rise to increasingly precarious working conditions and unstable labour markets.

  • 8.
    Bergvall-Kåreborn, Birgitta
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Chincholle, Dider
    Ericsson User Experience Lab.
    Outsourcing creative work: A study of mobile application development2011In: International Conference on Information Systems 2010 (ICIS 2010): St. Louis, Missouri, USA, 12 - 15 December 2010, Red Hook: Curran Associates, Inc., 2011Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    As the mobile phone industry converges with the IT/software industry, the emerging internetenabled multifunctional mobile devices are bringing together many diverse stakeholders. This paper examines the under-researched area of mobile application developers. We frame our study within the wider context of the mobile application industry in order to illustrate how the business models of large IT firms shape the everyday practices of systems developers, specifically those working on iPhone and Android platforms. By broadening out the study in this way we are able to situate seemingly new and distinctive technological artefacts and practices and show how they build on a number of continuing trends within the field. Drawing on qualitative data with developers working in this emerging market, we analyse their practices in order to (a) provide detail on this under-studied area and (b) show the ways in which developers adapt to the turbulent environment of the IT sector.

  • 9.
    Bergvall-Kåreborn, Birgitta
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Ståhlbröst, Anna
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Disregarding history: Contemporary IS contexts and participatory design2014In: Communications of the Association for Information Systems, ISSN 1529-3181, E-ISSN 1529-3181, Vol. 34, no 1, p. 1319-1332, article id 68Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    User participation has long been seen as a core topic of study within the IS field, yet its relevance to contemporary development environments and contexts has recently been brought into question. The aim of this article is to investigate the extent to which this rich history and experience is used to inform contemporary practices. We provide a survey that evaluates the degree to which PD (participatory design) is currently represented in the IS literature, the results of which reveal a low representation. Based on these findings, a number of propositions are offered. © 2014 by the Association for Information Systems.

  • 10.
    Bergvall-Kåreborn, Birgitta
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Ståhlbröst, Anna
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Melander-Wikman, Anita
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Health Sciences, Health and Rehab.
    Participation in living lab: designing systems with users2010In: Human Benefit through the Diffusion of Information Systems Design Science Research: IFIP WG 8.2/8.6 International Working Conference, Perth, Australia, March 30 - April 1, 2010, Proceedings / [ed] Jan Pries-Heje; John J. Veneble; Deborah Bunker; Nancy L. Russo; Janice I. DeGross, Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology/Springer Verlag, 2010, p. 317-326Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Drawing on a case study of a living lab, this paper considers the process of participation during the design stages of a health care project for the elderly in Sweden. While participation has an established history, more recently it has been described as an "old, tired concept" that is in need of revitalization in order to cater for changing IS practices. In this paper, we reflect on how participation materializes in a context that is quite dissimilar from more traditional development settings and report on the kinds of practices that may be used to assist design with users

  • 11.
    Carter, B.
    et al.
    De Montfort University.
    Danford, A.
    University of West England.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Richardson, H.
    University of Salford.
    Smith, A.
    University of Bradford.
    Taylor, P.
    University of Strathclyde.
    'All they lack is a chain': Lean and the new performance management in the British civil service2011In: New technology, work and employment, ISSN 0268-1072, E-ISSN 1468-005X, Vol. 26, no 2, p. 83-97Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The adaptation of lean techniques in public services is viewed as an innovative managerialist response to government demands for more efficient services amidst large reductions in public spending. This paper explores workers' experiences of the impact of lean on work organisation and control and provides new insights into developments within contemporary back office clerical work

  • 12.
    Carter, B.
    et al.
    Leicester Business School.
    Danford, A.
    University of West of England.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Richardson, H.
    University of Salford.
    Smith, A.
    Bradford University.
    Taylor, P.
    University of Strathclyde.
    Lean and mean in the civil service: The case of processing in HMRC2011In: Public Money & Management, ISSN 0954-0962, E-ISSN 1467-9302, Vol. 31, no 2, p. 115-122Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The public sector has been importing private sector methods and practices aimed at generating efficiencies and cost savings. However, the consequences of these changes on the working lives of civil servants are under-researched. This article uses detailed fieldwork to investigate the impact of Lean on labour processes in HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). We argue that Lean has a detrimental effect on employees, their working lives, and the service that is provided to the public. The consequences of Lean on public sector work are highly problematic, which is of serious concern given its progressive impact on other civil service departments in the UK

  • 13.
    Carter, Bob
    et al.
    De Montfort University.
    Danford, Andy
    University West of England.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Richardson, Helen
    Salford University.
    Smith, Andrew
    Salford University.
    Taylor, Phil
    University of Strathclyde.
    Nothing gets done and no one knows why: PCS and workplace control of lean in HM revenue and customs2012In: Industrial relations journal, ISSN 0019-8692, E-ISSN 1468-2338, Vol. 43, no 5, p. 416-432Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article examines the willingness and capacity of public sector unions to mobilise action against changes in the labour process in order to maintain some measure of control at the point of production. Taking as an instance an extended dispute in Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs over the introduction and impact of Lean processes, it marshals evidence gathered from documentary sources, branch representatives and national lay full-time officers to engage with the notion of a trade union bureaucracy. In taking a union with a left-wing leadership and a section with 80 per cent membership with an expressed willingness to escalate industrial action, the article tests Hyman's 1979 contention that, rather than a concentration on a bureaucratic caste, a much better explanation for conservatism centres on the nature of social relations within the union that encompass a wider layer of representatives.

  • 14.
    Carter, Bob
    et al.
    Leicester Business School, De Montfort University.
    Danford, Andy
    Bristol Business School, University of the West of England.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Richardson, Helen
    Salford Business School, University of Salford.
    Smith, Andrew
    Bradford University School of Management, University of Bradford.
    Taylor, Phil
    Strathclyde Business School, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.
    Taxing times: lean working and the creation of (in)efficiencies in hm revenue and costums2013In: Public Administration, ISSN 0033-3298, E-ISSN 1467-9299, Vol. 91, no 1, p. 83-97Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The prevailing economic and budgetary climate is intensifying the search for methods and practices aimed at generating efficiencies in public sector provision. This paper investigates the increasingly popular bundle of techniques operating under the generic descriptor of lean, which promises to improve operational quality processes while simultaneously reducing cost. It offers a critical appraisal of lean as a fashionable component of public sector reform and challenges the received wisdom that it unambiguously delivers ‘efficiencies’. Quantitative and qualitative research in HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) centred on employees' experiences has indicated the extent to which work has been reorganized along lean principles. However, employees perceive that changes in organizational processes and working practices have unintentionally generated inefficiencies which have impacted on the quality of public service. These suggested outcomes raise wider concerns as lean working is adopted in other public sector organizations.

  • 15.
    Carter, Bob
    et al.
    Leicester Business School, De Montfort University.
    Danford, Andy
    Bristol Business School, University of the West of England.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Richardson, Helen
    Salford Business School, University of Salford.
    Smith, Andrew
    Bradford University School of Management, University of Bradford.
    Taylor, Phil
    Strathclyde Business School, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.
    ‘‘They can’t be a buffer any longer’: Supervisors and class relations under white-collar lean production’2014In: Capital and Class, ISSN 0309-8168, Vol. 38, no 2, p. 323-343Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article reasserts the value of the examination of class relations. It does so via a case study of tax-processing sites within HM Revenue and Customs, focusing on the changes wrought by the alterations to labour and supervisory processes implemented under the banner of ‘lean production’. It concentrates on the transformation of front-line managers, as their tasks moved from those that required tax knowledge and team support to those that narrowed their work towards output monitoring and employee supervision. Following Carchedi, these changes are conceptualised as strengthening the function of capital performed by managers, and weakening their role within the labour process.

  • 16.
    Carter, Bob
    et al.
    Leicester Business School, De Montfort University, De Montfort University.
    Danford, Andy
    University West of England, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Computer Science.
    Richardson, Helen
    University of Salford, Sheffield Hallam University, Salford Business School, Department of Organisation and Management, Sheffield Hallam University.
    Smith, Andrew
    Bradford University School of Management, University of Bradford, Salford University.
    Taylor, Phil
    Strathclyde Business School, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, University of Strathclyde, Department of Human Resource Management, Strathclyde Business School, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.
    Uncomfortable truths: teamworking under lean in the UK2017In: International Journal of Human Resource Management, ISSN 0958-5192, E-ISSN 1466-4399, Vol. 28, no 3, p. 449-467Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A recent contribution in this journal – Procter, S. and Radnor, Z. (2014) ‘Teamworking under Lean in UK public services: lean teams and team targets in Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)’ International Journal of Human Resource Management, 25:21, 2978–2995 – provides an account of teamworking in the UK Civil Service, specifically Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), focused on the relationship between recently implemented lean work organisation and teams and teamworking. Procter and Radnor claim in this work that it delivers a ‘more nuanced’ analysis of lean in this government department and, it follows, of the lean phenomenon more generally. Our riposte critiques their article on several grounds. It suffers from problems of logic and construction, conceptual confusion and definitional imprecision. Methodological difficulties and inconsistent evidence contribute additionally to analytical weakness. Included in our response are empirical findings on teamworking at HMRC that challenge Procter and Radnor’s evidential basis and further reveal the shortcomings of their interpretation

  • 17.
    Carter, Bob
    et al.
    De Montfort University.
    Danford, Andy
    University of West of England.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Richardson, Helen
    Sheffield Hallam University.
    Taylor, Phil
    University of Strathclyde.
    Smith, Andrew
    Bradford University.
    ‘Stressed out of my box’: employee experience of lean working and occupational ill-health in clerical work in the UK public sector2013In: Work, Employment and Society, ISSN 0950-0170, E-ISSN 1469-8722, Vol. 27, no 5, p. 747-767Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Occupational health and safety (OHS) is under-researched in the sociology of work and employment. This deficit is most pronounced for white-collar occupations. Despite growing awareness of the significance of psychosocial conditions – notably stress – and musculoskeletal disorders, white-collar work is considered by conventional OHS discourse to be ‘safe’. This study’s locus is clerical processing in the UK public sector, specifically Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, in the context of efficiency savings programmes. The key initiative was lean working, which involved redesigned workflow, task fragmentation, standardization and individual targets. Utilizing a holistic model of white-collar OHS and in-depth quantitative and qualitative data, the evidence of widespread self-reported ill-health symptoms is compelling. Statistical tests of association demonstrate that the transformed work organization that accompanied lean working contributed most to employees’, particularly women’s, ill-health complaints

  • 18.
    Gillard, H.
    et al.
    University of London.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Mitey, N.
    University of London.
    Richardson, H.
    University of Salford.
    "Missing women": Gender, ICTs, and the shaping of the global economy2008In: Information Technology for Development, ISSN 0268-1102, E-ISSN 1554-0170, Vol. 14, no 4, p. 262-279Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In a key article (Walsham & Sahay, 2005) outlining research on information systems in developing countries and suggesting potential areas for future research, a notable omission was the issue of gender and gender relations. In this article, we draw on the substantial gender and development literature to demonstrate the centrality of gender to our understanding of information systems (IS) in developing countries. In particular, we consider the relationship among gender, information and communication technologies (ICTs), and globalization to illustrate how changes in the global economy both impact on and are influenced by changing gender identities and roles.

  • 19. Howcroft, Debra
    After the goldrush: Deconstructing the myths of the dot.Com market2001In: JIT. Journal of information technology (Print), ISSN 0268-3962, E-ISSN 1466-4437, Vol. 16, no 4, p. 195-204Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Many would claim that the development of electronic commerce is reshaping almost all industries, even to the extent that we are undergoing a paradigm shift. This enthusiasm represents a speculative bubble, what economists would describe as 'mania', as we witness increasing numbers of firms embracing the need for an on-line presence, despite the absence of both profits and sales. The recent turn of events, which is referred to as the 'dot.com implosion', indicates that the rapid profit growth that was initially projected is unlikely to be achieved by many. As the technology markets have crashed along with a number of high-profile dot.com collapses, numerous investors have almost turned off from funding this sector. This should come as little surprise. What is of interest is why myriad investors were drawn into financially supporting these start-ups in the first instance. This paper aims to focus on the concept of business-to-consumer commerce and uses mythology for providing some explanation as to why so many investors were lured into participating in the dot.com share bubble.

  • 20. Howcroft, Debra
    et al.
    Fitzgerald, B.
    Towards dissolution of the IS research debate: From polarization to polarity1998In: JIT. Journal of information technology (Print), ISSN 0268-3962, E-ISSN 1466-4437, Vol. 13, no 4, p. 313-326Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The debate between 'hard' and 'soft' research approaches continues in the IS field, but with little prospect of resolution. The debate is typically characterized by tendentious arguments as advocates from each approach offer a somewhat one-sided condemnation of the counterpart from the inimical research tradition. This paper begins by relating two fictitious tales which serve to highlight the futility of research conducted at the extremity of each research approach. The dichotomies which characterize these rival factions are also summarized. The debate is then framed in terms of the polarization problem whereby IS researchers are divided geographically and paradigmatically into 'hard' and 'soft' camps. A variety of different strategies have been proposed for resolving the debate and these are discussed in detail. They are grouped into four categories, referred to as supremacism, isolationism, integration, and pluralism. Finally, the paper contends that the debate cannot be resolved, and offers the metaphor of magnetic polarity as a means of reflecting this. The paper concludes by arguing that it would be more appropriate to recast the debate at a macro level in order to accommodate different research agenda and recognize the strengths within each tradition.

  • 21. Howcroft, Debra
    et al.
    Light, B.
    University of Salford.
    IT consultants, salesmanship and the challenges of packaged software selection in SMEs2008In: Journal of Enterprise Information Management, ISSN 1741-0398, E-ISSN 1758-7409, Vol. 21, no 6, p. 597-615Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose - This paper seeks to analyse the process of packaged software selection in a small organization, focussing particularly on the role of IT consultants as intermediaries in the process. Design/methodology/approach - This is based upon a longitudinal, qualitative field study concerning the adoption of a customer relationship management package in an SME management consultancy. Findings - The authors illustrate how the process of "salesmanship", an activity directed by the vendor/consultant and focussed on the interests of senior management, marginalises user needs and ultimately secures the procurement of the software package. Research limitations/implications - Despite the best intentions the authors lose something of the rich detail of the lived experience of technology in presenting the case study as a linear narrative. Specifically, the authors have been unable to do justice to the complexity of the multifarious ways in which individual perceptions of the project were influenced and shaped by the opinions of others. Practical implications - Practitioners, particularly those from within SMEs, should be made aware of the ways in which external parties may have a vested interest in steering projects in a particular direction, which may not necessarily align with their own interests. Originality/value - This study highlights in detail the role of consultants and vendors in software selection processes, an area which has received minimal attention to date. Prior work in this area emphasises the necessary conditions for, and positive outcomes of, appointing external parties in an SME context, with only limited attention being paid to the potential problems such engagements may bring

  • 22. Howcroft, Debra
    et al.
    Light, B.
    University of Salford.
    Reflections on issues of power in packaged software selection2006In: Information Systems Journal, ISSN 1350-1917, E-ISSN 1365-2575, Vol. 16, no 3, p. 215-235Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The adoption of packaged software is becoming increasingly common in a. variety of organizations and much of the packaged software literature presents this as a straightforward, linear process based on rationalistic evaluation. This paper applies the framework of power relations developed by Markus and Bjørn-Andersen to a longitudinal study concerning the adoption of a customer relationship management package in a small organization. This is used to highlight both overt and covert power issues within the selection and procurement of the product and illustrate the interplay of power between senior management, information technology (IT) managers, IT vendors and consultants and end-users. The paper contributes to the growing body of literature on packaged software and also to our understanding of how power is deeply embedded within the surrounding processes.

  • 23. Howcroft, Debra
    et al.
    Light, B.
    University of Salford.
    The social shaping of packaged software selection2010In: Journal of the AIS, ISSN 1536-9323, E-ISSN 1536-9323, Vol. 11, no 3, p. 122-148Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    As organisations increasingly engage in the selection, purchase, and adoption of packaged software products, how these activities are carried out in practice becomes increasingly relevant for researchers and practitioners. Our focus in this paper is to propose a framework for understanding the packaged software selection process. The functionalist literature on this area of study suggests a number of generic recommendations, which are based on rational assumptions about the process and view the decision making that takes place as producing the "best technology solution.'" To explore this, we conducted a longitudinal, in-depth study of packaged software selection in a small organisation. For interpretation of the case, we draw upon the Social Construction of Technology, a theoretical framework arguing that technology is socially constituted and regarding the process of development as contradictory and uncertain. We offer a number of contributions. First, we further our understanding of packaged software selection with the critique that we offer of the functionalist literature, drawing insights from the emerging critical/constructivist literature and expanding our domain of interest to encompass the wider environment. Second, we weave this together with our experiences in the field, drawing on social constructivism for theoretical support, to develop a framework of packaged software selection that shows how various actors shape the process.

  • 24. Howcroft, Debra
    et al.
    McDonald, R.
    University of Salford.
    An ethnographic study of IS investment appraisal2007In: International Journal of Technology and Human Interaction, ISSN 1548-3908, E-ISSN 1548-3916, Vol. 3, no 3, p. 69-102Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Both academics and practitioners have invested considerably in the information systems evaluation arena, yet rewards remain elusive. The aim of this article is to provide rich insights into some particular political and social aspects of evaluation processes. An ethnographic study of a large international financial institution is used to compare the experience of observed practice with the rhetoric of company policy, and also to contrast these observations with the process of IS evaluation as portrayed within the literature. Our study shows that despite increasing acknowledgement within the IS evaluation literature of the limitations and flaws of the positivist approach, typified by quantitative, 'objective' assessments, this shift in focus towards understanding social and organisational issues has had little impact on organisational practice. In addition, our observations within the research site reveal that the veneer of rationality offered by formalised evaluation processes merely obscures issues of power and politics that are enmeshed within these processes.

  • 25. Howcroft, Debra
    et al.
    Mitev, N.
    London School of Economics.
    An empirical study of Internet usage and difficulties among medical practice management in the UK2000In: Internet Research, ISSN 1066-2243, Vol. 10, no 2, p. 170-181Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Considers the use of information technology in the UK National Health Service (NHS) as the government pledges to connect every doctor or general practitioner (GP) to the NHS's information superhighway by the year 2002. This paper uses a case study of a particular UK health authority as a vehicle to illustrate the complexity of the social and technical considerations surrounding this issue. At a grass roots level, the adoption and diffusion of information technology within general practices (surgeries or groups of GPs) is highly varied and there are huge contrasts in the levels of commitment to information management. Within the case study this is evident on an individual level, in that some GPs enthuse about technology, while others are positively "technophobic". On the general practice level, there are other elements to consider, especially in relation to the levels of financial support available. Non-fund holding general practices in socially deprived areas are far less willing to embrace information management and technology. One explanation suggested for this is based on priorities: when faced with the option of "cruising" the information superhighway, as opposed to treating seriously ill patients living in socially deprived areas, the former may simply be relegated as less important.

  • 26. Howcroft, Debra
    et al.
    Newell, S.
    Bentley College.
    Wagner, E.
    Cornell University, Ithaca.
    Understanding the contextual influences on enterprise system design, implementation, use and evaluation2004In: Journal of strategic information systems, ISSN 0963-8687, E-ISSN 1873-1198, Vol. 13, no 4, p. 271-277Article in journal (Other academic)
  • 27. Howcroft, Debra
    et al.
    Richardson, H.
    Salford Business School.
    Gender matters in the global outsourcing of service work2008In: New technology, work and employment, ISSN 0268-1072, E-ISSN 1468-005X, Vol. 23, no 1-2, p. 44-60Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper provides a gendered analysis of the outsourcing of service work to developing economies taking, as illustration, call centres, shared service centres and the general ICT sector. The paper challenges the suggestion that changes in global capitalism, facilitated by ICT-enabled employment, offer new opportunities that benefit women, and suggests a degree of caution is needed before assuming a reduction of gender inequalities.

  • 28.
    Howcroft, Debra
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.
    Richardson, Helen
    University of Salford.
    The back office goes global: exploring connections and contradictions in shared service centres2012In: Work, Employment and Society, ISSN 0950-0170, E-ISSN 1469-8722, Vol. 26, no 1, p. 111-127Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article explores a neglected aspect of IT-enabled service work: the back office. The fieldwork study reveals how back office service work has been identified as suitable for ongoing reorganization and reconfiguration as firms respond to the pressures of contemporary capitalism. The article focuses on standardization as a means of facilitating organizational restructuring into shared service centres as highly skilled back office work is reframed as routine service work. Standardization is the vehicle that drives the commodification of the labour process as tasks are fragmented, quantified and traded in the global sourcing of services, allowing work to be lifted out of traditional organizational structures and placed elsewhere, or outsourced to other service providers. The study shows how this ongoing process is fraught with contradictions, problematically rendering people and place ancillary.

  • 29. Howcroft, Debra
    et al.
    Trauth, E.M.
    Pennsylvania State University.
    The implications of a critical agenda in gender and IS research2008In: Information Systems Journal, ISSN 1350-1917, E-ISSN 1365-2575, Vol. 18, no 2, p. 185-202Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper explores the nature of the critical agenda and endeavours to advance the critical debate by considering a particular case in point: gender and information systems (IS) research. It does so by drawing upon Chua's classic framework of outlining philosophical assumptions underpinning research and also by building upon prior work of the authors on the interconnections amongst research topic, epistemology and methodology. Specifically, it presents an argument for the benefits of adopting a critical perspective when studying gender and IS research, illustrating the additional insights that can be generated. These benefits and insights can also be mined from other areas of IS research.

  • 30. Howcroft, Debra
    et al.
    Wilson, M.
    Paradoxes of participatory practices: The Janus role of the systems developer2003In: Information and organization, ISSN 1471-7727, E-ISSN 1873-7919, Vol. 13, no 1, p. 1-24Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper sets out on a political exploration of the paradoxes of participatory practices which are brought to the fore via the application of a critical framework. In addition, the worker participation literature is used to illuminate some of the contradictions of user participation in Information Systems Development. This approach places emphasis on the fundamentally conflictual nature of organizational relations. The set of resultant paradoxes which this phenomenon engenders is presented. One consequence of the conflictual nature of organizations is the antagonistic relations between end-users (employees) and sponsors of the system (managers). In this paper we highlight the contradictions entailed in the systems developer's role when intervening between the groups, attempting to enrol them into participation as well as develop a system that will deliver on the promises made on its behalf during the enrolment process. The analogy of the two-headed Roman god, Janus, is made in relation to the role of the systems developer, in order to emphasize the incompatibility of needs of organizational members. The paradoxes enumerated in the paper (namely: rhetoric of empowerment, rhetoric of involvement, exclusion of dissent, illusions of compatibility, and outcome of participation) are adjusted to the role of the Janus systems developer, revealing the latter to be a captive of these contradictions. Finally, some conclusions for future academic research and professional practice are drawn

  • 31. Howcroft, Debra
    et al.
    Wilson, M.
    Manchester School of Management.
    Participation: 'Bounded freedom' or hidden constraints on user involvement2003In: New technology, work and employment, ISSN 0268-1072, E-ISSN 1468-005X, Vol. 18, no 1, p. 2-19Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    User participation in information systems development is often surrounded by assumptions that the resultant system will be a success, will reflect user needs, and that the process results in an empowered workforce. This paper argues that underlying these foreground rational assumptions are instrumental, politically motivated justifications driving the need to involve users.

  • 32.
    Pouloudi, N.
    et al.
    Athens University of Economics and Business.
    Andersen, K.V.
    Copenhagen Business School.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Reinig, B.
    San Diego State University.
    Tuunainen, V.K.
    Helsinki School of Economics and Business Adminnistration.
    Professorial hegemony unveiled: Opportunities and challenges in building a career in IS2008In: ICIS 2008 Proceedings: Twenty Ninth International Conference on Information Systems, 2008Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Information Systems (IS) academics who have recently achieved professorial status often confess that their promotion process has been long, sometimes painful, occasionally unfair, and almost invariably political. Also, it is clear that the perceptions about promotion criteria vary across schools, countries and continents. This situation is particularly worrying for 'mid career' academics, i.e., colleagues who are neither junior nor senior, but aspire to a professorial appointment. In response to this concern, this panel brings together professors from both sides of the Atlantic, who will expose this diversity in the practices, opportunities and pitfalls in the promotion process, reflecting on their own experience, but also shaping a debate on what makes a successful academic career in information systems. The panel is an opportunity for the IS community to reflect on current practices, defend or challenge them and discuss lessons that can be learned for the future.

  • 33.
    Richardson, H.J.
    et al.
    University of Salford.
    Howcroft, Debra
    The contradictions of CRM: A critical lens on call centres2006In: Information and organization, ISSN 1471-7727, E-ISSN 1873-7919, Vol. 16, no 2, p. 143-168Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper aims to explore the contradictions of CRM systems and their use in call centres and in doing so contribute to the literature on critical information systems research. By invoking a critical perspective our analysis shows significant contradictions between system objectives and outcomes in practice. With reference to the work of Pierre Bourdieu, a sociologist and critical social theorist, we highlight the powerful theoretical lens that his work can provide for information systems researchers. Using an empirical study which draws upon Bourdieu's key concepts of field, habitus, logic of practice and symbolic violence, we illustrate how these processes of contradiction operate at the local level in the context of the field.

  • 34.
    Trauth, E.M.
    et al.
    Pennsylvania State University.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Critical empirical research in IS: An example of gender and the IT workforce2006In: Information Technology and People, ISSN 0959-3845, E-ISSN 1758-5813, Vol. 19, no 3, p. 272-292Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose - This article aims to add to the growing number of critical empirical studies and to reflect on the process of conducting this type of research, thereby addressing the lack of exemplars for those engaged with critical empirical information systems research. Design/methodology/approach - Applies the critical lens to a multi-year examination of variation in the career narratives of women in the American IT labor force. While an interpretive epistemology was initially chosen for this research project, over time, analysis of interview data took on an increasingly critical orientation. This, in turn, influenced subsequent fieldwork to become critical in nature. Findings - One theoretical contribution is highlighting the role of power dynamics in understanding what sits beneath the surface of observations about these women's experiences in the IT workforce. The second theoretical contribution is helping to shift the focus away from predominantly essentialist theories that dichotomize men and women and toward a recognition of the diversity among women in the IT field. Research limitations/implications - Future research should include additional critical empirical studies of women in the IT field in other countries. Practical implications - This research project can serve as a useful example for other critical IS researchers about to embark on empirical fieldwork. Originality/value - This paper provides a concrete illustration of the way in which empirical research is altered as the epistemological lens shifts from interpretivist to critical.

  • 35.
    Trauth, E.M.
    et al.
    Pennsylvania State University.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Social inclusion and the information systems field: Why now?2006In: Social Inclusion: Societal and Organizational Implications for Information Systems: IFIP TC8 WG8.2 International Working Conference, July 12–15, 2006, Limerick, Ireland / [ed] Eileen M. Trauth, New York: Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology/Springer Verlag, 2006, p. 3-12Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This conference, with its theme of social inclusion, builds upon the debates that have taken place within the IFIP 8.2 community over the past several years. As information and communications technology, and the information systems based upon them, become ever more pervasive, the human impacts - both positive and negative - and the associated societal disparities will continue to arise. It is our hope that the topics discussed at this conference will be considered mainstream in the future

  • 36.
    Wagner, Erica
    et al.
    Cornell University, Ithaca.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Newell, Sue
    Bentley College.
    Special Issue Part II: Understanding the contextual influences on enterprise system design, implementation, use and evaluation2005In: Journal of strategic information systems, ISSN 0963-8687, E-ISSN 1873-1198, Vol. 14, no 2, p. 91-95Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The ways in which enterprise systems (ES) influence and are influenced by the context of adoption, including influences at the individual, group, organizational and societal levels were investigated. Context aware analysis of the influences on the design, implementation, use and evaluation of an ES were also presented. A two dimensions framework was presented for addressing the organizational issues associated with an ES implementation. A qualitative mode of enquiry was adopted to enable discussion of a number of research issues, where the issues were explored and illustrated in the context of a central accounting department of a large multinational firm.

  • 37.
    Wilson, M.
    et al.
    Manchester Business School.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Power, politics and persuasion in IS evaluation: A focus on 'relevant social groups'2005In: Journal of strategic information systems, ISSN 0963-8687, E-ISSN 1873-1198, Vol. 14, no 1, p. 17-43Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The focus of this paper is with the activities associated with evaluations and their role in attaining (or not) stabilisation of the artefact. We aim to achieve two broad objectives: first, to examine some particular political and social aspects of evaluation processes in organisations; and secondly, to show the potential contribution of employing the notion of 'relevant social groups', a concept adopted from the social shaping of technology approach. By using a case study illustration we examine formal evaluations as a mechanism to effect and justify decisions already taken elsewhere and as important resources for supporters of the system to enroll new users and consolidate existing support. The study shows that if enrolment is achieved then the technology will head towards stabilisation and thus 'success'; conversely, an inability to enroll will likely lead to a de-stabilising process, and thus 'failure'. Hence, there is a dialectical process of persuasion by the supporters on the one hand, and a response from the would-be users on the other. Finally, conclusions are drawn as we highlight the contribution of 'relevant social groups' to our understanding of the process of IS evaluation.

  • 38. Wilson, M.
    et al.
    Howcroft, Debra
    Re-conceptualising failure: Social shaping meets IS research2002In: European Journal of Information Systems, ISSN 0960-085X, E-ISSN 1476-9344, Vol. 11, no 4, p. 236-250Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this paper is to illustrate the interplay of the social studies of technology (SST) approach with IS research to further our conceptualisation of failure. It is intended that this cross-fertilisation of disciplinary backgrounds will produce a critique of traditional conceptions of information technology and help to further our understanding of the IS development, implementation and use process. We begin by providing a commentary on the IS failure literature, highlighting the variety of descriptions and noting the lack of consensus regarding how success/failure is constituted. We then go on to delineate the contribution of the SST approach to enlightening our study of failure, since it has as its core concern an understanding of the dynamics of the society technology relationship. This approach is applied to a case study where the intention is to demonstrate the moving line between success and failure among different groups as well as over different periods of time. The study shows how the success/failure factors can be equally applied to construct an account as and when required, depending upon how legitimacy is ascribed to different 'voices'. The SST themes are then revisited to enable a deconstruction of the stages that were undertaken before failure was finally declared. Finally, conclusions are drawn on the contribution of SST for aiding our understanding of how failures occur within their social and organisational context

1 - 38 of 38
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