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Organizational Knowledge and Technology

An Action-Oriented Perspective on Organization and Information Systems Rodrigo Magalhães, Consultant in organization and information systems and Guest Professor, Catholic University of Portugal, Lisbon, Portugal
This book attempts to make sense of a new area of integrated study, namely information systems and information technology (IS/IT) and the organization. It also aims to bring this mix into the broader theme of complexity as applied to organization and management and to draw useful conclusions about how to organize and how to manage IS/IT in the knowledge era. The author argues in favour of a more action-oriented – as opposed to planning dominated – approach to information systems management.
Extent: 272 pp
Hardback Price: $146.00 Web: $131.40
Publication Date: 2004
ISBN: 978 1 84376 282 9
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  • Business and Management
  • Organisational Innovation
  • Innovation and Technology
  • Organisational Innovation
This book attempts to make sense of a new area of integrated study, namely information systems and information technology (IS/IT) and the organization. It also aims to bring this mix into the broader theme of complexity as applied to organization and management and to draw useful conclusions about how to organize and how to manage IS/IT in the knowledge era. The author argues in favour of a more action-oriented – as opposed to planning dominated – approach to information systems management.

Key topics discussed include: complexity, enacted cognition and autopoiesis applied to organizations; managerial action as a foil to the prevailing managerial paradigm; managerial action and the formation of cultural knowledge contexts in organizations and an holistic approach to information systems development. The book concludes with consideration of the problems surrounding epistemology.

Organizational Knowledge and Technology will be warmly welcomed by academics and researchers working in the areas of technology, management, information systems and organizational science as well as information systems managers.
‘Rodrigo Magalhães guides us through the history of IS/IT, management theories and organizational concepts. He presents his views on IS/IT implementation, advocating an holistic approach that brings together the organizational culture, the social capital and the dynamics of complex systems. This is a well-structured piece of interpretive research, which certainly provides food for thought. If you want to learn about IS/IT and how it fits in with different management models, buy the book!’
– Ana Neves, portal KMOL (www.kmol.online.pt)

‘If you’re looking for simple solutions and quick fixes, this book isn’t for you. And if you are, you’re going to find that they don’t work anyway. So read this book. Magalhães brings together insights from the fields of information systems, organisation studies, knowledge management, strategy and innovation, and synthesises them into a work designed to make you think and reflect deeply on why it is that information technology’s impacts on organisations are full of opportunity and promise, and yet at the same time, full of surprises and unintended consequences – often leading to failure. Magalhães’s analysis and trans-disciplinary approach unearths the complexity of the topic and provides a thought provoking set of lessons that we would do well to consider and apply.’
– Robert Galliers, Bentley College, US

‘An enjoyable, thought-provoking book. It is a road map to the many disciplines involved with developing contemporary theories of the organisation. More importantly, it is also a serious academic attempt to create a stable conceptual platform upon which information scientists and information technologists can cooperate, to design and implement information systems that truly meet the demands of their users.’
– Ana Maria R. Correia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal

‘Rodrigo Magalhães’s masterly study of the concepts and theories that have been proposed at the junction of information systems, management, and organization theory clears much of the mist on the topic of organizational knowledge and points out one of the most promising avenues for research and practice. The action oriented perspective advocated in this book does take the debate forward with a set of sophisticated theoretical propositions. Remarkable for its clarity of analysis of a complex interdisciplinary area, this book makes an exceptionally informative resource for academics, their students, and intelligent professionals alike.’
– Chrisanthi Avgerou, London School of Economics, UK

‘We are very fortunate in having Rodrigo Magalhães as an “unreasonable man” (G.B. Shaw): this book is an unusual blending of theoretical and working knowledge that comes from a profound study and a deep lived experience. Leading to “organizational holism” through the roads of the “new science”, strongly supported in theory, Rodrigo provides us with a valuable understanding of the organization and its behaviour. This is a clear and useful vision of the IS/IT role in organizations and their management, a scientific area that is still searching for its distinctive nature as a discipline. Although this book is not an easy reading is without any doubt a quite rewarding one.’
– Luis Amaral, University of Minho, Brazil
Contents: 1. Introduction 2. Causes and Consequences of Information Technology 3. Complexity and the New Epistemological Foundations of Organization 4. Organizational Paradigms: Old and New 5. Strategy as Managerial Action 6. Evolving Perspectives on IS/IT Implementation 7. An Action-Based View of IS/IT Strategic Alignment 8. Notes on IS/IT Strategic Development 9. Conclusion Bibliography Index