Project Summary (English)

Cycles of ICT Innovation and Organisational Structure.
A Historical and Sociomaterial Perspective

types-of-computer-mainframesThe project cooperation aims to develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between the cycles of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) adoption and innovation on the one hand and the organizational (re)structuring on the other. It draws on a case study of the Australian and German banking sector between 1930 (pre computing age) and 2000 (after introduction of the WWW). The results from this research will facilitate organizations in better understanding the processes of ICT adoption and organizational innovation and their implications for organizational structure.

Organizations both in the public and private sector are involved in a continuous process of change and over the last decades considerable adaptation processes have taken place. These organizational changes are largely driven by the gradual adoption of ever more advanced ICT and resulting innovation processes. Current research either addresses the role of ICT and organizational change in the form of technical determinism that assumes that a particular technology results in a specific organizational outcome that can be predetermined; or social determinism that understands organizational change as predominantly socially driven. What is needed, however, is an integrative understanding of the interplay between ICT and organizational restructuring.

The general assumption of this project is that ICT deployment and organizational change can be understood in the form of cycles. The aim of this project is to identify such cycles as part of a long-term analysis of changes in both managerial and organizational structure as well as the use of ICT in the German and the Australian banking sector. This will allow us to identify changes in organizational structure and ICT use over a longer time period and thus has the potential to reveal a possible interactional relationship between both changes (cycles) in organizational structure and ICT use, and the way in which ICT in turn facilitates change in organizational structure.