An interpretive approach to analysing the role and value of information systems in Jordanian financial organisations

  • Rifat O. Shannak

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Analysing investments in ISs in order to maximise benefits has become a prime concern, especially for private corporations. No formula of equilibrium exists that could link the injected amounts and accrued returns. The relationship is simply not straightforward. This thesis is based upon empirical work which involved sketching organisational ethnographies (four organographies and a sectography) into the role and value of information systems in Jordanian financial organisations. Besides deciphering the map of impacts, it explains the attributions of the variations in the impacts of ISs which were found to be related to the internal organisational processes: culturally and politically specific considerations, economically or technically rooted factors and environmental factors. The research serves as an empirical attempt to test out the applicability of adopting the interpretive paradigm to researching organisations in a developing country. The fieldwork comprised an exploratory stage, a detailed investigation of four case studies and a survey stage encompassing 16 organisations. Primary and secondary data were collected from multiple sources using a range of instruments. The evidence highlights the fact that little long term strategic planning was pursued; the emphasis was more focused on short term planning. There was no noticeable adoption of any strategic fit principle linking IS strategy to the corporate strategy. In addition, the benefits obtained were mostly intangible. Although ISs were central to the work of the organisations surveyed as the core technology, they were considered as tools or work enablers rather than weapons for competitive rivalry. The cultural specificity of IS impacts was evident and the cultural and political considerations were key factors in explaining the attributions of the variations in the impacts of ISs in JFOs. The thesis confirms that measuring the benefits of ISs is the problematic. However, in order to gain more insight, the phenomenon of "the use of ISs" has to be studied within its context.
Date of Award1999
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJohn Edwards (Supervisor)


  • role and value of information systems
  • Jordanian financial organisations
  • information technology
  • culture
  • interpretivism
  • organisational change

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