With the growing presence of IT and the WWW, more and more organizations are attempting to gain the benefits of computers and software to improve their efficiency, effectiveness, and profitability. The process of computerizing an organization requires not only the introduction of computers and software, but also training the employees of the organization to be effective users of the computers and software. This change is called organizational transformation (OT). OT is thought to be a systematic process. However, enough failed OT efforts have demonstrated that the main difficulties are behavioral, political, and social. That is, the would-be users do not always cooperate. They resent the changes in their jobs, the fear the loss of their jobs, etc. They sometimes even actively sabatoge the OT effort.
Traditional approaches to requirements elicitation stress systematic and rational analysis and representation of organizational context and system requirements. This joint work with Isabel Ramos and Joao Carvalho at Escola Superior de Tecnologia e Gestao de Viana do Castelo, Portugal attempts to understand why these traditional approaches do not guarantee a successful OT. The work argues that (1) for an organization, a software system implements a shared vision of a future work reality and that (2) understanding the emotions, feelings, values, beliefs, and interests that drive organizational human action is needed in order to invent the requirements of such a software system. The work exposes some myths about how organizations transform themselves through the adoption of Information and Communication Technology; describes the concepts of emotion, feeling, value, and belief; and presents some constructionist guidelines for the process of eliciting requirements for a software system that helps an organization to fundamentally change its work patterns.
Ramos, I., Berry, D.M., and Carvalho, J.A., ``The Role of Emotion, Values, and Beliefs in the Construction of Innovative Work Realities,'' D. Bustard, W. Liu, and R. Sterritt (eds.), Soft-Ware 2002: Computing in an Imperfect World, LNCS 2311, Springer 2002, pp. 300--314, Proceedings of First International Conference, Soft-Ware 2002, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 8--10 April 2002 PDF preprint
Additional studies are needed to see if past OT failures can be understood as failure to deal with emotions, values, and beliefs at RE time. For example, we are reexamining the failure of the deployment of the London Ambulance Service Computer Aided Despatch System in this light.