Discussion: Information Systems and Culture

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Discussion: Information Systems and Culture

Discussion: Information Systems and Culture

67 Information Systems and Culture

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and important to the group. Assumptions are unobservable because they reflect organizational values that have become taken for granted to such an extent that they guide organizational behavior without any group members thinking about them.14

Levels of Culture and IT Culture can vary depending upon which group you are studying. Countries, organizations, and subgroups in orga- nizations all have a culture. IS management and use can be impacted by culture at all these levels. IS can even play a role in promoting it. For instance, Cognizant used IT to implement “10/10/10,” a program designed to keep its associates focused on innovation. On the tenth workday of each month at 10 a.m., everyone’s computer screen is frozen, allowing the entire Cognizant workforce to spend 10 minutes thinking about and sharing innovative ideas.15

With the growth of analytics and the availability of large stores of data, many organizations are adopting a data‐ driven culture in which virtually all decisions are made with the support of analytics. In a data‐driven culture, man- agers are typically expected to provide data to support their recommendations and to back up decisions. Information is often freely shared in this culture, and IS take on the important role of collecting, storing, analyzing, and deliver- ing data and information to all levels of the organization. Dell, Procter and Gamble, GE, Google, and Facebook are examples of companies that are known to have a data‐driven culture. Sometimes the employees in these companies are said to “speak the language of data” as part of their culture.

When IS developers have values that differ from the clients in the same organization for whom they are devel- oping systems, cultures can clash. For example, clients may favor computer‐based development practices that encourage reusability of components to enable flexibility and fast turnaround. Developers, on the other hand, may prefer a development approach that favors stability and control but tends to be slower. Both national and organiza- tional cultures can affect IT management and usage and vice versa. National culture may affect IT in a variety of ways, impacting information systems development, technology adoption and diffusion, system use and outcomes, and management and strategy. These relationships are shown in Figure 3.5 and described next. The model and the discussion of the impact of culture on IT issues draws heavily from the work of Leidner and Kayworth.16

14 E. Schein, Organizational Change and Leadership, 4th ed. (San Francisco, CA: Jossey‐Bass, 2010). 15 Cognizant Computer Goods Technology, “Creating a Culture of Innovation,” 1–6. 16 D. Leidner and T. Kayworth, “A Review of Culture in Information Systems Research: Toward a Theory of Information Technology Culture Conflict,” MIS Quarterly 30, no. 2 (2006), 357–99.

Information Systems


IT Adoption and Diffusion

IT Issues

Organizational Values

(Entire Organization and within Organization)

National Values

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