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Sustainability in IS: the case for an open systems approach

Bednar, Peter LU and Welch, Christine (2011) In Governance and Sustainability in Information Systems. Managing the Transfer and Diffusion of IT 366. p.325-329
Abstract
Common sense tells us that cost cutting leads to saving, and spending should therefore be minimized. However, a little reflection tells us that this sometimes leads to false economies. In an organizational context, these can lead on to a downward spiral of organizational ‘suicide’. Examples of false economies may include: saving on maintenance; saving on research and development expenditure; saving on margins (waste or just-in-time management); and saving on ‘how’ we do things, as opposed to ‘what’ we do. Common sense cost cutting makes ‘how’ invisible, and only recognizes ‘what’. It is vital that we also remember to consider ‘why’ activities are undertaken. Professional competence implies not only skill/knowledge in a particular field,... (More)
Common sense tells us that cost cutting leads to saving, and spending should therefore be minimized. However, a little reflection tells us that this sometimes leads to false economies. In an organizational context, these can lead on to a downward spiral of organizational ‘suicide’. Examples of false economies may include: saving on maintenance; saving on research and development expenditure; saving on margins (waste or just-in-time management); and saving on ‘how’ we do things, as opposed to ‘what’ we do. Common sense cost cutting makes ‘how’ invisible, and only recognizes ‘what’. It is vital that we also remember to consider ‘why’ activities are undertaken. Professional competence implies not only skill/knowledge in a particular field, but also desire to apply that knowledge in accordance with certain values, and engagement with the context of application so that learning through reflection may take place. Professional work therefore includes scope for extra-role behaviour, such as suggesting innovative methods or identifying and developing new opportunities (Bednar and Welch, 2010). We suggest that a naïve pursuit of ‘efficiency’ is likely to constrict and curtail possibilities for extra-role behaviour, with disastrous consequences for the development and growth of the business. Creation of systems experienced as sustainable therefore requires us to focus attention on perceived usefulness, rather than efficiency. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Information Systems Sustainability in IS Open Systems Approach
in
Governance and Sustainability in Information Systems. Managing the Transfer and Diffusion of IT
editor
Nuttgens, Markus; Gadatsch, Andreas; Kautz, Karlheinz; Schirmer, Ingrid and Blinn, Nadine
volume
366
pages
325 - 329
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • Scopus:84951048288
ISBN
978-3-642-24147-5
DOI
10.1007/978-3-642-24148-2_26
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
3a7c3ed5-96ba-49fe-b83c-1ff0e06a9e68 (old id 4318006)
alternative location
http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-642-24148-2_26
date added to LUP
2014-02-24 10:24:26
date last changed
2017-01-01 08:03:26
@inbook{3a7c3ed5-96ba-49fe-b83c-1ff0e06a9e68,
  abstract     = {Common sense tells us that cost cutting leads to saving, and spending should therefore be minimized. However, a little reflection tells us that this sometimes leads to false economies. In an organizational context, these can lead on to a downward spiral of organizational ‘suicide’. Examples of false economies may include: saving on maintenance; saving on research and development expenditure; saving on margins (waste or just-in-time management); and saving on ‘how’ we do things, as opposed to ‘what’ we do. Common sense cost cutting makes ‘how’ invisible, and only recognizes ‘what’. It is vital that we also remember to consider ‘why’ activities are undertaken. Professional competence implies not only skill/knowledge in a particular field, but also desire to apply that knowledge in accordance with certain values, and engagement with the context of application so that learning through reflection may take place. Professional work therefore includes scope for extra-role behaviour, such as suggesting innovative methods or identifying and developing new opportunities (Bednar and Welch, 2010). We suggest that a naïve pursuit of ‘efficiency’ is likely to constrict and curtail possibilities for extra-role behaviour, with disastrous consequences for the development and growth of the business. Creation of systems experienced as sustainable therefore requires us to focus attention on perceived usefulness, rather than efficiency.},
  author       = {Bednar, Peter and Welch, Christine},
  editor       = {Nuttgens, Markus and Gadatsch, Andreas and Kautz, Karlheinz and Schirmer, Ingrid and Blinn, Nadine},
  isbn         = {978-3-642-24147-5},
  keyword      = {Information Systems Sustainability in IS Open Systems Approach},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {325--329},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Governance and Sustainability in Information Systems. Managing the Transfer and Diffusion of IT},
  title        = {Sustainability in IS: the case for an open systems approach},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-24148-2_26},
  volume       = {366},
  year         = {2011},
}