Modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) have been heralded as a key enabler of more integrated, flexible, network forms of organising. In this paper we critically examine such claims by drawing on evidence from a longitudinal, interpretive study of the strategic use of IT within the Irish credit union movement. While various economic and technological factors had contributed to the emergence of an impetus for organisational reform and modernisation in some quarters, the realisation of such changes was complicated by historically-constituted contradictions and ideological differences. IT, however, appeared to offer a relatively painless solution to such problems by promising the prospect of significant organisational change without substantial reform. Here, we argue that the allure of unproblematic and flexible ITenabled organisational integration encouraged credit unions to embark on a disastrous implementation effort while conveniently ignoring fundamental contradictions within the movement. Interestingly, while the implementation attempt was unanimously regarded as a costly failure, the process associated with its development and demise brought the contentious issue of reform to a head. The result seems likely to be a significant transformation in the organisation of the movement. Paradoxically, the failure of the strategic implementation effort triggered this transformation by accident rather than by design.
Mangan, Anita and Kelly, Seamas, "IS and the Integrated Network Organization: A Cautionary Tale from the Financial Services Sector" (2003). ECIS 2003 Proceedings. 86.