Department of Management

Henrike Konzag

Use of Information Systems Across Tasks and Shifts: An Analysis of Two Hospital Emergency Units

Research output: Book/anthology/dissertation/reportPh.D. thesis

My study investigates how healthcare professionals use an information system to support task execution in shift work. It contributes to existing theories of information system use, in particular the task-technology fit models by Goodhue and Thompson (1995) and the technology-acceptance model by Davis (1989). My contribution to these models revolves around social dependencies that are not yet captured by these two models. Traditionally, the models assume use and acceptance of information systems based on “mechanical fit” as well as people-centric beliefs about the information system. My findings show another important factor in motivating or driving information system use across different work shifts, namely social dependencies. I further contribute with a new type of change in organization design—cyclic change—and outline the difference to the established understanding of what change is.
From a practical perspective, I contribute with insights into the use of an information system to support task execution in a shift work setting and specify implications for practice. In particular, I emphasize the need for information system designers to incorporate and account for social dependencies as motivation or driver of information system use, as well as organizations experiencing cyclic change in their design to incentivize organizational member in using an information system.
Literature on information systems use and its motivating factors or drivers for use has the underlying assumption that the design of an organization is rather static and change follows an incremental path over time. However, factors such as the rapid development of new technologies, as well as changing customer needs and demands, challenge this traditional view of the organization. Scattered evidence shows that organizations in fact change their design swiftly and promptly, challenging the underlying assumptions of established theories and models anticipating and predicting information system use. Møllekær et al. (2014, 2018) show that in several cases, shift working organizations changed their design depending on the work shift. As shift work experiences an increase as a means of organizing work to account for changes in customer needs and demands, the question arises what the implications are for the use of an information system in such settings. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2005), 15 percent of full-time employees engage in this type of work organization. Out of these, almost 55 percent do so as it is “the nature of the job.” In Denmark, 9.3 percent of the workforce works shifts. The large percentage of the population engaged in shift work renders it a topic of interest to scholars. Numerous studies investigated the impacts shift work have on individuals and showed that impacts range from psychological, through physiological, to social impacts. Examples of these impacts include higher risk of acquiring cardiovascular diseases (Bøggild and Knutsson 1999), physiological exhaustion such as burnout (Lindborg and Davidhizar 1993), and impact on social relationships such as marital life (Presser 2000).
I combine the two streams of literature outlined above to answer the research question of how the execution of tasks and the design of shifts are implicated in the use of an information system. In carrying out my project, I rely on a qualitative methodology in which I conduct interviews and observations with main users of the information system of interest. In analyzing my data, I rely on organization design theory. In particular, I am interested in the relationship between four mutually dependent elements, namely Task, Coordination, People, and Information System. My case company is a mid-sized hospital in Central Denmark Region with two emergency department units deploying the same information system.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherAarhus Universitet
Number of pages206
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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