Stephen Morris Blogs

Toward a Theory of Workarounds in Organizations

(University of San Francisco Research Colloquia) Permanent link   All Posts

Steven Alter

When: March 29, Tue, 11:45 AM - 12:45 PM
Where: MH 230

Title: Toward a Theory of Workarounds in Organizations
The purpose of this colloquium is to help me develop a widely applicable and useful theory of workarounds in organizations. Workarounds occur in all organizations. Workarounds occur when specific technologies do not operate as designed, but they also operate in many other situations, such as when cumbersome processes are too slow, when complete information is not available, when artificially imposed constraints make it difficult to do work, and when people collude to bypass or undermine expectations and regulations from legitimate or illegitimate authorities (principals in agency theory) such as management or government.

Topics to be discussed include:
1) proposed definition of workaround (applicable whether or not IT is involved)
2) proposed types of workarounds
3) permanence/ impermanence of workarounds
4) exploring the nature of workarounds by turning agency theory on its head
5) force field model for explaining workarounds
6) taxonomy of workarounds based on principal/agent concepts
7) evaluating the legitimacy/ illegitimacy of workarounds
8) bringing workarounds into the foreground in typical systems analysis and organizational analysis.

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