The impact of organisational change on the role of the systems analyst
Flynn, Valerie (1996) The impact of organisational change on the role of the systems analyst. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
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Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1403858~S15
A major theme in the IS literature in recent years has been the dramatic
impact of changes in technology and the business environment on the
roles and skills of IS professionals. The British Computer Society (BCS)
and other authorities suggest that roles are becoming broader and that
demand is growing for a new breed of hybrid managers who possess a wide
range of technical, business and organisational competences.
Although it is recognised that there are constraints on developing hybrids,
little research has been carried out on the nature of these constraints or on
the impact of organisational change on IS roles. It was to fill this gap in
the literature, and provide data that would be of value to practising
managers, that the research presented in this thesis was undertaken.
The main aims of the research were: (i) To explore the impact of change on
the roles of a group of systems analysts; (ii) to examine the systems
analysts' perception of the effects of change on their role and (iii) to
determine whether there were any factors impeding the hybridisation of
the analyst's role. Analysts were selected as the focal group for many
reasons but mainly that their role requires hybrid competences and they
would therefore be a good group to examine the strength of the forces
for / against change.
The decision to focus on the analysts' perceptions was to gauge individual
reactions to change. Since the individual's perception of events is likely to
influence their behaviour, it was reasoned that if the analysts' perceived
change to have negative consequences, their attitude may be a constraint
on hybridisation and on organisational change. It would therefore be of practical value to gain a clearer understanding of the analysts' view of the
The case study approach was used to examine the impact of change on the
analyst's role. Although other methods could have been used, the case
study would permit detailed analysis of the process of organisational
change and provide an effective means of accessing the analysts'
perceptions of the impact of change. The research was carried out in five
organisations: three in the financial services sector and two in the retail
sector. The decision to base the research in a number of companies and
different sectors was to examine differences between organisations and to
illuminate the impact of contextual factors.
Financial services and retail organisations were considered an appropriate
choice for the research because they tend to rely heavily on IT and have
been subject to very rapid sectoral change over the last few years. The BCS
maintains that these are the conditions in which hybrid managers are
most likely to emerge. If the organisations selected fulfilled the Society's
criteria and the roles of the analysts were technically defined, this would
point to constraints on hybridisation.
To analyse the impact of organisational change on roles a theoretical
framework was developed which identified the factors that influence roles
and explained the dynamics of the change process. A distinction was
drawn between factors in the outer context (macro-environmental,
sectoral and occupational factors) and the inner context (the organisation
and individual role encumbents). These factors were reconfigured in
terms of Lewin's fields of force model to suggest how organisational
change and change in roles may come about.
Thirty-five systems analysts took part in the research. The impact of
change was examined over a period of six years (1989-1995), the average
length of the analysts' tenure in the participating companies. Data was
collected using a variety of methods, including a self-administered
questionnaire, interviews with analysts and their IS and Personnel
Managers and examination of company documents.
In spite of the dramatic changes that had taken place in the case study
organisations, the findings reveal that three continued to define the
analyst's role in technical terms. Two had broadened the roles of the
analysts but there were still constraints on the extent of change. These
constraints included the structure and culture of the organisation, the
strategies for managing the IS department/division, the emergence of new
occupational groups and the analyst's own orientation to their role.
The research suggests that the impact of change on the analyst's role may
vary between organisations and reflect the influence of contextual factors;
that dramatic organisational change does not necessarily create conditions
that are conducive to developing hybrids and that there may be significant
constraints on bringing about change in the analyst's role.
The thesis provides empirical data on the impact of change on roles and
helps to explain some of the reasons companies may be experiencing
difficulty developing hybrids. Although it helps to fill a gap in the IS
literature, it is suggested that more contextual/interpretive studies are
needed on the constraints on hybridisation in different organisations and
on different occupational groups.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||System analysis, Organizational change -- Case studies, Retail trade -- Employees -- Effect of technological innovations on -- Case studies, Financial institutions -- Employees -- Effect of technological innovations on -- Case studies, Retail trade -- Information technology, Financial institutions -- Information technology|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Warwick Business School|
|Supervisor(s)/Advisor:||Galliers, Robert, 1947- ; Scarbrough, Harry, 1955-|
|Extent:||xiv, 312 p.|
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