Sociotechnical Dynamics in IS Development in Organizations: The Case of a Resource-Constrained and Competitive Context

Nigussie Tadasse Mengesha


The literature on IS development in developing countries mainly deals with the interplay between ISs, often brought from abroad, and use contexts. This research, however, considers a locally developed IS, primarily examining the interests and strategies of human and nonhuman actors embedded in an IS and the wider sociotechnical network, as well as their respective implications for implementation contexts. Focusing on the public health sector of Ethiopia, the study examines the design dynamics of an IS over time and space vis-†-vis the use context by adopting an interpretative, qualitative case study approach. The findings reveal that the resulting IS and sociotechnical network embed mainly the interests, strategies, and ideologies of the dominant actor (the actor that defines both problems and solutions), regardless of realities in implementation contexts, and at the expense of organizational performance and effectiveness. The research reveals that IS development and implementation is a complex sociotechnical process where data quality, performance, and sustainability are negotiated orders. The study also shows the relevance of actor-network theory for explicating the development of ISs in organizations and identifying both human and nonhuman actors and their associations.


IS development; developing countries; Ethiopia; sociotechnical network

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