Explaining IT usage in the non-government human service organisation (NGHSO)

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


We-B Centre, Edith Cowan University


Faculty of Business and Law


School of Management




D'Mello, Z.Z., Dobson, P.J. (2007). Explaining IT usage in the non-government human service organisation (NGHSO). In the Proceedings of Conference on Information Management and Internet Research (CIMIR) 2007. (pp. 467 - 480). Joondalup, Australia: Edith Cowan University.


The task of this study is to increase knowledge of why a selection of small NGHSOs based in the Mid West region of Western Australia manage their IT relationships with their vendors the way they currently do, and what factors have and continue to shape this. The study addresses how these factors have affected the rate of the adoption of new IT tools. The process will allow thought toward whether this is an acceptable situation or whether change is needed. The results of the research focus ones attention on what could be done to improve the current practices. The study was conducted within the methodology of critical realism using a case study approach. It was guided particularly by diffusion innovation theory. Three small NGHSOs and three IT vendors were selected as the core study participants for the field work component of the study. The study will be underpinned by the philosophical framework of critical realism. This philosophy is relatively new and has been used sparingly in the study of information systems to date. The potential .for application to the study of information systems has been advocated (Dobson 200/a, 200/b, Mingers, 2002). Its origins lie in social theory and are based heavily on the works o.f Roy Bhaskar in applying the theory of sciences to social situations. This philosophical paradigm bridges the approaches of interpretivism and positivism by applying thinking from a perspective combining understanding (interpretivist approach) with explanation (realist approach). A key critical realist question revolves around "what works for whom in what circumstances" (Fawson, 2002; Myles et al, 2007). Bhaskar ( 1979) argues that the primary worth of a theory is its explanatory power.

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