Re: Organisational learning inherent in IT development

Sun, 6 Nov 94 08:40:31 +1000

Dear members of Organisational Learning List

I want to tell you about a case study that I did that revealed what I think was
an excellent case of a learning situation inherent in an IT development.

It was an HRM application which was managed by a consortium of HR managers from
a number of equivalent organisations - actually different areas of a public
health system. So each had similar jobs to do in different territories. It was
an evolutionary IT development with one contract developer. Now all the HR
managers wanted the system to develop most usefully, so they had an incentive
to work this out with each other. They had considerable common information
power, as they all were using the same system, and were making decisions about
incremental developments which they could handle reasonably well. They were
also on roughly the same level. They also had an incentive to make their
processes similar so that they could share the same system, and thus
innovations were easily migrated. And in all this, they were all learning about
IT and how to make it work for them. What's more, they were building more than
a system, they were building a strong interest group that had an independent
power within the organisation. It was, in effect, a horizontal alliance within
a divisionalised structure.

The system was developed very cheaply and quite quickly, and there was a high
level of satisfaction.

There are limitations to this model, but I feel it might have important

Has anyone else come across this sort of thing?

Gray Southon
Consultant in Health Management Research and Analysis