Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems


The objective of this paper is to discuss how to use Information Technology to enable the staff at a mission-critical order packaging department to cope with a drastically increasing scale of operation. To reduce the risk of interrupting the production, a cultivation approach is adopted. We use co-ordination theory to analyse the current work setting and present a design proposal. The basic building blocks of the analysis and the design are co-ordination mechanisms. This facilitates the understanding of today's way of working, as well as the design of a new setting, enabling the department to cope with the larger scale of operation. The underlying approach for the change process is cultivation, which is a softer, less disruptive approach compared to more radical methods for organisational change. Based on the results, we argue that it is the co-ordination work that is lacking, not the actual productive work performed. Even though co-ordination theory has been criticised for being difficult to apply in practice, we find that it is indeed fruitful to use in this real-world case. The cultivation approach facilitates a design that allows implementation of changes without disrupting the throughput at the department.