Information Systems and Technology (IST) Research Centre
Two main areas have underpinned the Centre's work: the initial formulation of strategy in the development and use of IST by vendors and organisational users, and the unfolding realization of IST-based capabilities and business practices during implementation. Both areas draw using various organisational and social theoretical perspectives in order to inform practitioners and researchers. Much of the work includes an international and a strong organisational focus.
There are strong traditional links between the Centre and the Systems/Soft OR in the areas of problem structuring and methodology, and action research. There are also growing links with the Supply Chain Management and Modelling Centre as the use of proprietary IT in systems in development, such as Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERP), increases. There are also growing links with the Health Systems Research group with an increasing focus on healthcare and professional work.
Ongoing research areas
Action Research Mike Chiasson is currently involved in a mid-career AIM (Advanced Institute of Management) fellowship, to investigate the co-development and shaping of web-based systems to support revised patient and provider practices in diabetes care, within the NHS. This work is linked with projects being conducted in Canada and the United States. This work builds on his extensive action research experience and research in the development of health information systems, and his work with professional users of IT (physicians, lawyers, engineers). He also involved in publishing work on the action research methodology.
Design and Project Management Paul Ralph is currently working on a project to develop theory of and methods for software design and development. Major themes include design process theory, best practices, IT project management, software development methods, project management frameworks, critical success factors for design projects and cognitive biases in design projects.
Patrick Stacey researches the social dynamics of design and innovation processes, particularly in computer game and cancer care contexts. His particular phenomena of interest are: multi-disciplinary collaboration, professional identity, computer game design, sensemaking, structuration theory, emotion, improvisation and well-being. His funded research pertains to worksite well-being in the creative Industries.
E-Business David Brown, in association with Nigel Lockett (Brunel University), have recently completed an investigation into the engagement of SMEs in E-Business, with reference to aggregation and intermediaries. The project was sponsored in-part, by Hewlett-Packard and SAP (UK) and this work continues with international comparisons.
They also hold a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) grant, which uses SSM to inform the development of an implementation methodology for e-business and customer relationship management (CRM) systems in the mail order sector and are currently developing a European collaborative research project investigating the use of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems by SMEs with the University of Applied Sciences, Basel, Switzerland.
Paul Devadoss is examining the implementation and effect of ERP systems in various industrial sectors. He is also working with Mike Chiasson to explore the work involved and the effects of remote business and technical practices (i.e. boundary objects) on call centre work in India.
Social Theory in IS: Mike Chiasson, Paul Devadoss and Paul Dunning-Lewis are exploring various social theories which could inform the furture research and practice of information systems. These include, among others: boundary objects, ethnomethodology, structuration theory, actor network theory, lingustic analysis, discourse analysis, Foucault, deconstruction, and even Chinese guanxi.
Strategy and IST Paul Dunning-Lewis is currently working on the GOLD project, which is a £2.2m EPSRC funded e-Science Pilot Project in collaboration with the departments of Computing and of Chemical Engineering at Newcastle University. The focus is exploring how new very high speed GRID computing technologies may be adopted for commercial uses, by using them to enable highly adaptable, quick to market manufacturing.
In the field of strategy formulation David Brown is near to completing ESRC-funded research on the how large UK plcs (primary limited companies) formulate their IT strategies from a processual perspective.
Mike Chiasson is investigating factors affecting the success and failure of IS outsourcing, and are examining the networked nature of language on vendor strategies.
International studies Funded by the EU’s Asia IT&C Programme, David Brown, in collaboration with Copenhagen Business school, is exploring through two grants the strategic use of IT in technical and vocational education in Laos, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. The IST educational theme has been extended in a new £220,000 grant under the EU’s Asia-Link Programme for institutional development in China and Laos in the area of E-Business and Innovation. The partner is Stockholm Business School. This international study will link directly into the E-Business agenda above. In strategy formulation a research programme by David Brown on strategic practice on China’s enterprises is nearing completion and this has informed the processual perspective in other studies.
The group has a strong PhD programme related to the strands outlined above. Potential students would be welcomed in these areas. The group is also willing to consider other areas of research that fit our theoretical or methodological strengths -- which include a broad range of qualitative and quantitative work.
PhD studies in our department include:
- Three studies of e-Business adoption in SMEs in Jamaica, Thailand and Peru.
- A study examining the influence of government programs on the diffusion of e-business systems in UK SMEs.
- A study of the negotiation and mutual adatpation of partners within industrial clusters, involved in producing mobile television in Tawain
- A study developing around the effect of recommender systems in information search, given the huge content being generated by Web 2.0.
- A study looking at the social construction of practices involved in IS security.
- A PhD study supported by Microsoft which is exploring the role of intermediaries in public sector e-applications.
Centre’s key links
The field of IS is multidisciplinary, and not surprisingly the group has significant links in addition to the departmental links above. Within the Management School the group has complementary teaching and research interests with the Department of Organisation, Work and Technology. It also has links through its international work, especially the EU programmes, with the Lancaster Centre for Management in China, where David Brown is the Director. Within the University the major link is with Computing, and particularly the InfoLab project. InfoLab involves the framing and assessing of proposals from potential start-up organisations and the development of a technology transfer programme focused within the North West region.
If you have any queries you wish to discuss, please contact David Brown (d.brown'at'lancaster.ac.uk or via phone on (01524) 594206) or Mike Chiasson (m.chiasson'at'lancaster.ac.uk or via phone on (01524) 594 255).
If you would like to apply for a PhD, please see our PhD admissions information.