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Practitioners, observers and the community of received wisdom: The actor-based approach to technological investment decisions

Practitioners, observers and the community of received wisdom: The actor-based approach to technological investment decisions

Samakovitis, Georgios and Fleck, James (2006) Practitioners, observers and the community of received wisdom: The actor-based approach to technological investment decisions. In: Proceedings of the 13th European Conference on Information Technology Evaluation, Genoa, Italy 28-29 September 2006. Academic Conferences Limited, pp. 413-423. ISBN 978-1-905305-34-6 Cd

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Abstract

This paper addresses the problem of technology valuation in UK financial institutions, specifically concerning the introduction of Internet Banking. The research looked into the prescribed processes and the respective established practices for Technological Investment Decision-Making (TIDM) in banks. Significant disparity between process and practice was found, on the grounds that the actual decisions are determined by experts’ perceptions and are less about the normative assessment of economic value, as defined in academic literature and corporate handbooks. The research suggests that the TIDM problem is socially constructed (rather than externally addressed) by experts who either participate directly in decision-making or, alternatively, contribute to developing relevant methodologies. The TIDM problem is ultimately defined by the disparate perceptions of the problem that these different interested parties, or “actors”, assume. Three classes of actors were identified: (1) Practitioners, namely expert professionals in Financial Institutions, (2) Observers, primarily academic researchers, consultants and government bodies, and (3) the Community of Received Wisdom, reflecting commonly understood views on what TIDM is and how it should be made. According to the Actor-based approach, the shape of the TIDM problem results from continuous negotiations between actors’ viewpoints, in light of expert power positions, political advocacy and fitness to the prevailing TIDM paradigms. These viewpoints are by default informed by experts’ academic and professional backgrounds, which strongly influence both the received understanding of the TIDM problem, and the perceptions of practitioner and research experts. The paper recommends that the Actor-based approach may contribute to improving TIDM: instead of seeking measurement precision as the solution to valuation ambiguities, notoriously characterising technological investment, it is suggested that we take explicit account of the differently-informed perceptions of expert groups, as these are encoded into existing formal methodologies. By mobilising these disparities, newer approaches can combine the socio-political together with the economic factors for technological valuation.

Item Type: Conference Proceedings
Title of Proceedings: Proceedings of the 13th European Conference on Information Technology Evaluation, Genoa, Italy 28-29 September 2006
Uncontrolled Keywords: Decision-making, Internet banking, Investment appraisal, Uncertainty
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities
Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities > Department of Computing & Information Systems
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2017 14:27
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/9781

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