Two opposing views prevail regarding how information infrastructures develop over time. A top-down view asserts that organisations define the level of integration of data and standardisation of processes required for their optimal operation, and use management and goverance methodologies to ensure the appropriate infrastructure is developed and controlled. An opposing view asserts that infrastructures are built on, and become part, of an installed based, influenced by the complex, situated activities of human, technological and organisational actants. They cannot be controlled, indeed, they ”drift” as a result of human tinkering with technologies. The question then arises: what place, if any, does the notion of “control” have in this situated, dynamic world view? As an infrastructure drifts, do actors embrace the notions of data integration and process standardisation, and if so, how, and in what situations? This paper investigates developments within a University information systems infrastructure and finds that actors make choices that could be described as the exercise of “good-enough control”: they do not represent rigid enactment of formal plans or governance mechanisms, but they do ensure that in certain situations integration of data or standardisation of processes is privileged over other benefits as the infrastructure drifts.
Leonard, Jenny and Carroll, Jennie, "Drift and Good-Enough Control in A Complex Information Systems Infrastructure" (2010). PACIS 2010 Proceedings. 197.