Information systems analysts have typically focused on high technology, often overlooking low-technology communications even though the core of social network load is still essentially low-tech. In this context, the paper argues that while hi-tech offers efficiency gains at the individual level, many shortcomings prevent its complete penetration at the social network level in organizations that operate in hostile environments, requiring them to prioritize fault-tolerance above efficiency. Thus, such fault-intolerant network organizations optimize hi-tech for the individual level and low-tech for the social network level. The general class of such organizations is well represented among business and government structures; however, terrorist organizations provide an especially fitting research case at this time of acute terrorist threats facing the world economy and society at large. Hence, setting aside the prevailing preoccupation with hi-tech and attempting to understand the underlying principles of the high- versus low-tech interplay, particularly as applied to these organizations, is crucial in being able to detect terrorist communications and thwart their activities. Toward this goal, this paper introduces a concept of fault-intolerant network organization (FINO) and develops an analytical framework for addressing the research question of how such organizations use technology.
Drozdova, Ekaterina, "Dealing with Low-Tech Terrorist Communications in the Hi-Tech Age: Toward a Theory of Fault-Intolerant Network Organizations" (2002). ICIS 2002 Proceedings. 68.