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Risk, Complexity and ICT

Edited by Ole Hanseth, Professor of Information Systems, University of Oslo, Norway and the late Claudio Ciborra, was formerly Professor of Information Systems, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
This book explores the challenges regarding risks and risk management related to the growing complexity of ICT solutions.

The main argument of the book is that the complexity of ICT solutions has continued to grow throughout the history of ICT, and that it has now reached a level that goes beyond our current understanding of solutions and our methods of dealing with them. The contributors demonstrate how the complexity of ICT solutions is increased by various integration efforts. Drawing upon theories of risk society and reflexive modernization, various case studies are used to demonstrate efforts aimed at controlling and managing the complexities of various ICT solutions. Paradoxically, these control and management measures are shown to increase rather than decrease complexity and risk.
Extent: 224 pp
Hardback Price: $127.00 Web: $114.30
Publication Date: 2007
ISBN: 978 1 84542 661 3
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This book explores the challenges regarding risks and risk management related to the growing complexity of ICT solutions.

The main argument of the book is that the complexity of ICT solutions has continued to grow throughout the history of ICT, and that it has now reached a level that goes beyond our current understanding of solutions and our methods of dealing with them. The contributors demonstrate how the complexity of ICT solutions is increased by various integration efforts. Drawing upon theories of risk society and reflexive modernization, various case studies are used to demonstrate efforts aimed at controlling and managing the complexities of various ICT solutions. Paradoxically, these control and management measures are shown to increase rather than decrease complexity and risk.

Researchers, academics and students with an interest in information systems management, organization studies, and science and technology will find much to interest them in this illuminating book, as will ICT practitioners and information systems managers.
‘The book benefits from the contributions of the variety and experiences of its authors that provide depth, insight, rigorous argument and research. Also contributing to the effectiveness of the book are the organization of the text and the clarity of its structure. . . I would highly recommend this book for both those who study the management of information systems, and for practitioners, who advise on and make decisions about information systems. The setting of the book in theory and the application of theoretical concepts in the cases, provide knowledge for study and practice as well as a teaching/learning methodology that supports the development of expertise.’
– Anna-May Edwards-Henry, International Journal of Education and Development using ICT

‘This book will provide a refreshing alternative to many of the mainstream approaches to risk, which merely suggest the use of new methodologies. Both academics and practitioners are aware that these new techniques are rarely the panacea that is being suggested, and a book that provides some deeper level of understanding would be welcomed. The authors are well established academically, with a good track record of publishing books. Their names alone will draw attention to this publication. Risk, Complexity and ICT provides an interesting synthesis of ideas, with an engaging mix of theory with illustrative and diverse case studies. This is a book that I would want to purchase, would recommend to colleagues, and would seriously consider using in my teaching.’
– Debra Howcroft, University of Manchester, UK

‘In Risk, Complexity and ICT, Ole Hanseth and Claudio Ciborra compile an important new treatise on socio-technical problems. They and their collaborators lay out an impressive theoretical foundation of risk and complexity grounded in philosophical, sociological, administrative and engineering traditions. Once established, they apply these theoretical perspectives to a set of five empirical studies of ICT in action. This book is required reading for practitioners building complex information systems, particularly in mission-critical applications, and for researchers who study the challenges of system-building and the effects of ICT on organizations and society. This book is a noteworthy tribute, as well, to the insights of Claudio Ciborra, who was taken from our community too soon.’
– John L. King, University of Michigan, US
Contributors: M. Aanestad, J. Blechar, C. Ciborra, M. Grisot, O. Hanseth, E. Jacucci, J. Kallinikos, E. Monteiro, D. Osei-Joehene, K.H. Rolland
Contents:

1. Introduction: Integration–Complexity–Risk – The Making of Information Systems Out-of-Control
Ole Hanseth

PART I: THEORY
2. Digital Technologies and Risk: A Critical Review
Claudio Ciborra

3. Information Technology, Contingency and Risk
Jannis Kallinikos

4. Complexity and Risk
Ole Hanseth

PART II: CASES
4. When ‘Perfect’ Integration Leads to Increasing Risks: The Case of an Integrated Information System in a Global Company
Knut H. Rolland and Eric Monteiro

5. Reflexive Integration in the Development and Implementation of an Electronic Patient Record System
Ole Hanseth, Edoardo Jacucci, Miria Grisot and Margunn Aanestad

6. From Risk Management to ‘Organized Irresponsibility’? Risks and Risk Management in the Mobile Telcom Sector
Jennifer Blechar and Ole Hanseth

7. The Duality of Risk and the Evolution of Danger in Global ICT Integration
Daniel Osei-Joehene and Claudio Ciborra

8. When is an Intranet? The Topsy-Turvy Unfolding of a Web-Based Information System
Claudio Ciborra

Index