Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - ECU Access Only


Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Faculty of Business and Law

First Supervisor

Craid Standing


This thesis presents a case study regarding the adoption and use of an eMarketplace in the public sector. It has been has been used to examine the factors which affected the implementation of a major information systems initiative within the Western Australian public sector, the Government Electronic Marketplace (GEM).

Procurement, Purchasing and Supply Management is a complex topic as it interlinks with most areas of business. In order to understand supply management’s impact and implications, a multi-disciplinary approach is essential. The thesis addresses this context by addressing theoretical aspects of Economics, Public Sector Management, Procurement, Management Information Systems and Accounting, developing a model which provides insight into the complex interaction which occurs between these disciplines.

A theoretical dual lens under which to examine institutional/organisational process is embedded within this multidisciplinary meta-theoretical model. The theoretical positioning of this thesis emphasises the complementarity of structuration theory (Giddens, 1979, 1984) and institutional theory. The former is concerned with the process of change in structures through time (Schultze & Orlikowski, 2004) whereas institutional theory examines the implications of the structures. While institutional theory provides insight in to the way institutions are at a particular point, incorporation of aspects of structuration theory provides greater insight for a study which addresses change over time.

The case study examines a number of units of analysis which have a primary role in this framework as either an “institutional constituent” (source of institutional structures) or “subject organisation”. Central agencies which influenced the system are considered primarily as “institutional constituents”, government departments that used the system and suppliers to government are considered as “subject organisations”.

Levels of conformity and non-conformity with information systems decisions are not easy to predict.This case demonstrates that initial acquiescence to a decision can give way to non-conformity when legitimating external forces are not present.

The resulting analysis (using the dual lens) provides insight into causation in addition to outcomes. The study makes a contribution to organisational research in several related areas. It is a study of the use of systems to deliver a public sector agenda that involves a government agency acting as a technology champion. It is also a study of conformity and nonconformity in an institutional environment and the reasons why and how institutional response changes over time. It also establishes an integrated model for the investigation of enacted technology over time which is particularly suited for public sector organisations.

LCSH Subject Headings

Government purchasing -- Western Australia -- Data processing.

Electronic commerce -- Government policy -- Western Australia.

Electronic commerce -- Management.