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Title: A paradox of progressive saturation: The changing nature of improvisation over time in systems development projects
Authors: Molnar, W.
Stacey, Patrick K.
Nandhakumar, Joe
Keywords: Socio-technical system
Unit of analysis, empirical
Type of research, interpretive
Philosophical approach
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: © Association for Information Systems
Citation: MOLNAR, W., STACEY, P.K. and NANDHAKUMAR, J., 2017. A paradox of progressive saturation: The changing nature of improvisation over time in systems development projects. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, In Press.
Abstract: In this paper, we investigate improvisation in a systems development project within the context of safety-critical, rigid quality management standards. This study took place within a technology company in the automotive industry over a 31-month period and focused on the development of an innovative information system for automobiles. Our analysis traced different forms of improvised practice over the course of a systems development project at the company, along with various triggers of improvisation. We found that as the project progressed, the latitude to improvise became saturated by the increasing structural influences on improvisation. Yet, paradoxically, these structural influences provoked developers to improvise in ways that were progressively more innovative by drawing on accumulated knowledge; we call this phenomenon a ‘paradox of progressive saturation’. The study identifies ten forms of improvisation unfolding across different stages of a systems development project. We offer a conceptualization of the paradox of progressive saturation to represent the changing nature of improvisation over time, which contributes to the literature on improvisation in information systems development.
Description: This paper is closed access until it is published.
Version: Accepted for publication
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/25610
Publisher Link: http://aisel.aisnet.org/jais/
ISSN: 1536-9323
Appears in Collections:Closed Access (Business School)

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