Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Uncovering the network -centric organization
by Abrams, Robert Steven, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine, 2009, 204; 3369629
Abstract (Summary)

In our globalizing world, organizations grapple with an increasingly dynamic and distributed work environment requiring continuous adaptation to a variety of changes in their operations. Historically, organizations have combined a division of labor and a hierarchical management structure to enact such adaptation and have utilized information and communication technology (ICT) systems to conduct distributed work. In recent years, however, organizations have recognized the constraints of their hierarchical practices even as a proliferation of ICT systems have opened up new possibilities for overcoming them. Through the use of ICT systems, organizations have sought to enable their members to accomplish work and to coordinate work activities with others under minimal supervision. Much contemporary work is now mediated, to some degree, by ICT systems, but organizations have generally enacted their existing practices onto the new media rather than adapting them to the affordances of the new media. A "network-centric" organization is one that organizes itself around one such affordance, the capacity of the medium to capture details of current and past work into ICT systems as a resource for future work. This capacity is termed "enmediation," thereby distinguishing network-centric work as both mediated and enmediated. This dissertation reports an ethnographic account of a corporate division developing a network-centric model to accommodate the growing scale and scope of its operations. The cornerstone of this effort is the development and deployment of its Command Media Governance System, a combination of organizational policies and ICT systems oriented around a peer-based, change management approach designed to enable organization members to self-direct their work activities and to self-synchronize their coordination with others. The first fourteen months of deployment and operation of this system is analyzed to identify seventeen types of reputational information used to assess the collaborative appeal of others, a necessary early step towards self-synchronization in their conduct of work. Enmediated details of these work activities and interactions are transformed into metrics that extend existing social networking systems into collaborative networking systems (with privacy protections) as a means of improving operational effectiveness as the division grows to a global scope and increases its operational pace.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mark, Gloria J.
Commitee: Nardi, Bonnie A., Redmiles, David F.
School: University of California, Irvine
Department: Information and Computer Science - Ph.D.
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 70/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Organizational behavior, Information science, Computer science
Keywords: Collaborative networking, Collective sensemaking, Enmediating technologies, Enmediation, Multi-interact methodology, Network-centricity
Publication Number: 3369629
ISBN: 978-1-109-31967-5
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