Striking the professional pose : professional identity in the development and utilisation of information systems

Burns, BJ 2008, Striking the professional pose : professional identity in the development and utilisation of information systems , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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This thesis explores how professional identity figures in the enactment of IS and focuses on groups of professionals as users and developers of information systems and investigates how they relay their professional knowledge via the system to retain identified aspects, in this case autonomy, of their professional identity. The study looks at how these professional groups of staff control, tailor and maintain important modules within an information system and how this facilitates the appropriation of it into their everyday working practices. It has been argued that the rise of professions in society has been such that they are seen as integral to post-industrial society. Yet, within information systems, minimal research has considered users as professionals and moreover users as developers. Instead, professions, professionalism and users as developers as units of analysis have usually been intertwined with discussions of IT/IS workers/professionals and codes of conduct via systems development. Additionally, many still propose the technologically deterministic route of rolling out information and communications technologies (ICTs) expecting that users will, and indeed can, 'download' what they know into a system. This approach is usually underpinned by the predominant assumption that the system will be developed by one group (developers) and used by another group (users). Therefore this study focuses on two professional developer-user groups within environments populated with skilled professional workers and considers the implications of the deployment of IS in such contexts. In particular, the author attends to the influence of technology on a central feature of professional identity - autonomy. The melding of professional workers, who often enjoy a particularly autonomous status in organisations, with information systems that have the potential to erode this, offers a fruitful site for investigation. This study looks at contact centre and academic environments and therefore, investigates how professional identity figures in situations where it would be expected that officially sanctioned autonomy, is as a rule minimal, within a contact centre environment and typically normal practice within an academic environment. In order to do this, the author draws on case study data, which provides insights into the deployment of a module of an enterprise-wide student information system in a department of a UK university and a scripting module in a HR contact centre.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Light, B (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > Salford Business School
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2012 13:34
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2022 11:27

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