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doi:10.1111/j.1365-2575.2007.00279.

x Info Systems J (2008) 18, 4572 45

A multi-level, multi-theory perspective of information technology implementation


Benoit A Aubert,* Henri Barki, Michel Patry & Vital Roy
HEC Montral, 3000 Cte-Sainte Catherine Road, Montral, Qubec, H3T 2A7, Canada, *email: benoit.aubert@hec.ca

Abstract. Much of information technology (IT) implementation research has focused on individuals acceptance of IT by examining their behaviour when faced with new IT and the antecedents of these behaviours. As they are frequently undertaken within a project framework, IT implementations also entail the application of project management practices in order to be successful. Based on the premise that antecedents of lower level theories are frequently determined by the outcomes of a higher level theory, the present paper illustrates how organizationallevel decisions, examined from the perspective of economics theories, can help explain the antecedents of project risk management at the project and individual levels. To do so, the paper describes an IT implementation effort which went through three phases; the rst two of which were abandoned versions of the same project. An organizational-level analysis of the case from an economics perspective and its project-level analysis from a risk management perspective show how organizational-level decisions inuenced the antecedents at the project and individual levels, providing a more complete understanding of the IT implementation in question, an understanding which neither a theory approach nor a level perspective could provide on its own. Keywords: case study, organization economics, IS project risk management, IS implementation, user participation

1. INTRODUCTION

The introduction of information technology (IT)-based solutions into organizations, a phenomenon frequently labelled IT implementation, is a core activity in information systems (IS) practice and research. Indeed, in a synthesis of the domains of IT management and use, Zmud (2000) identied the implementation of IT and technology-based solutions as one of the four domains characterizing IT management and research. Five of the books 19 chapters are on IT implementation (i.e. chapters 6 to 10), and three other chapters are closely related (i.e. chapters 13, 15 and 18).

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Much of past research has studied IT implementation at the individual level, and has focused on individuals acceptance of IT by examining their behaviour when faced with new IT, as well as the antecedents of these behaviours (Agarwal, 2000). Examples include Davis et al. (1989), Hartwick & Barki (1994) and Taylor & Todd (1995), which were derived from Ajzen & Fishbeins (1980) theory of reasoned action and its modied form, the theory of planned behavior , as well as Brancheau & Wetherbe (1990) and Agarwal & Prasad (1997), which were derived from the theory of diffusion of innovations (Rogers, 1995). As IT implementations are frequently undertaken within a project framework and entail the application of project management practices in order to be successful, they have also been studied at the project level (Kirsch, 2000). Examples of project-level investigations of the IT implementation phenomenon include assessment of project risk (Barki et al., 1993; Wallace et al., 2004), and the study of different approaches to managing risk (Barki et al., 2001), control (Kirsch, 1996) and coordination (Nidumolu, 1995) in software projects. Researchers adopting one or the other perspective have typically identied salient dependent variables and their antecedents by focusing either on the individual or on the project. While this research has helped improve our understanding of IT implementations, it is also limited by the fact that the antecedent variables of many research models are either taken as given or assumed to be freely determined by management decisions. For example, subjective norms reect a respondents perception of what his or her supervisors, peers or subordinates think he or she should do (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980). In individual-level models of IT implementation, the factors that might impact social inuences such as subjective norms are positioned outside the models boundaries (Agarwal, 2000). Similarly, managerial interventions such as user training (Bostrom et al., 1990) or user participation and involvement (Barki et al., 2001) are modelled as antecedents which are supposedly determined by management at, again without much questioning about the factors that may have inuenced those decisions. Introducing IT solutions into organizations frequently necessitates decisions concerning organizational strategy and the allocation of organizational resources, (e.g. Lacity & Willcocks, 2000; Sambamurthy, 2000). What IT to invest in, how much to invest, whether to outsource, and, if so, what part, etc. are organizational-level decisions which can inuence many IT implementation parameters, as well as constrain the range of possible management actions, both at the project and individual levels. The inuence of such organizational-level choices on subsequent project and individual level outcomes suggests that IT implementation research could greatly benet from more adequately modelling how organizational-level decisions impact antecedents of project- and individual-level models. Such multi-level, multi-theory approaches (e.g. Baskerville & Pries-Heje, 2001) should provide a better understanding of IT implementation phenomena but are currently lacking in the literature. Figure 1 depicts a multi-theory model of IT implementation that links theories from economics and risk management which comprise its two layers. It suggests several associations between organizational and project levels of analysis, as well as linkages between economics and risk management theories. The relationships hypothesized in Figure 1 were developed by examining the theories jointly and the case analysis presented in the paper provides support for several of these links. However, given the models complexity and the fact that the

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Figure 1. Multi-level, multi-theory information technology implementation model.

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numerous relationships depicted are unlikely to all be relevant to a specic case, future research is needed to investigate those links that were not salient to the case study presented here. The rst layer of Figure 1 represents organization economics and encompasses several theories; the contribution of each can be seen by looking at the gures upper level, from left to right. In essence, the resource-based view helps determine the strategic boundary of an organization by assessing whether or not an activity is strategic and worth keeping inside the rm, and whether or not its necessary resources are available internally (Teece, 1998; Barney, 1999; 2001). If outsourcing is considered, transaction cost theory can be used to examine the costs related to the outsourcing transaction, enabling the selection of an optimal governance mode (Williamson, 1985; Milgrom & Roberts, 1992). The decision regarding the governance mode then becomes the input of agency theory which helps specify the appropriate incentives, roles and responsibilities of the contracting parties and the selection of appropriate contractual mechanisms (Eisenhardt, 1989; Sappington, 1991). Note that the theoretical constructs used by these three related theories are both at the organizational (e.g. resource availability and strategic value), as well as the project (e.g. asset specicity, governance mode and contractual mechanisms) levels. The second layer of Figure 1 encompasses project- and individual-level constructs, and in particular, a risk management model. In this model, the characteristics of the project, its participants and the environment determine the appropriate project management mechanisms (integration, planning, etc.). If the mechanisms used match or t the characteristics of a project, success is more likely to ensue. This success is also inuenced by individual variables, namely visions and impacts at the individual level, which can also lead to conicts within the project. Relationships between risk components (namely technical risk and perceived risk), participation, and management support were studied by Yetton et al. (2000) who found support for a combined model of project performance. The model of Figure 1 extends this line of work by formally taking into account the theoretical context of these variables and their links with other theories. It is important to note that many linkages can be hypothesized between different theoretical models and that overlaps exist between these constructs theories. For instance, uncertainty and complexity are related constructs. The expertise of the project team members and of the other participants in a project is a key construct in risk management but can also be viewed as a strategic resource in organization economics. It can also be seen as conceptually close to the resource availability concept in the resource-based view and to the notion of asset specicity in transaction cost theory. Similarly, many contractual mechanisms discussed in agency theory are analogous to the integration mechanisms discussed in risk management and are also closely related to the construct of project team expertise in project risk management theories. The relationships and overlaps that exist between the theories and the constructs examined here are described and discussed in greater depth later in this paper, which has as its main premise the idea that we can gain a better understanding of IT implementations by developing and testing multi-level, multi-theory models, such as the one presented in Figure 1. This paper is structured as follows. First, a description of an IT implementation effort which went through

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three phases, the rst two of which were abandoned versions of the same project, is provided. Next, an organizational-level analysis of the case is presented using organization economics. Then, a project-level analysis of the case is provided based on a project risk management model from the IS literature. The analysis shows how organizational-level decisions inuenced the antecedents of project- and individual-level theories, thus providing a more complete understanding of the IT implementation in the case an understanding which neither theoretical approach on its own nor a single level perspective could provide. Finally, the paper provides suggestions for future research by identifying several multi-level, multi-theoretical linkages that are likely to be found in IT implementations.

2. CASE DESCRIPTION

2.1 Method The case data was collected in 19961997 following the implementation of the projects last phase, for the doctoral thesis of one of the authors. First, the CEO of the company (described further) was contacted to obtain entry into the organization as well as the necessary authorizations. Then, semi-structured, face-to-face interviews were conducted with senior managers who were knowledgeable about the project, including the CEO, the VP for Change Management, the CIO, the owner of the new system (VP Communications and Reception Center), the project manager and the IS project leader. The protocol shown in Appendix I served as the interview guide. The data collection process also included the examination of archival documents and eld notes. Generally, each tape-recorded interview lasted from 60 to 90 minutes, and was subsequently transcribed. The transcripts, as well as scans of archive documents were then entered into a database for analysis. The authors then examined all interview transcripts and documents (project documentation, meeting minutes, evaluations, etc.), rst individually then collectively, to identify the presence, as well as the levels of salient model variables and to decide whether the case evidence supported the hypothesized relationships of different theoretical models.

2.2 The Canstar project Canadas life and health insurance industry comprises some 160 rms (1996), including companies incorporated both domestically and abroad. The ve largest companies represent over 54% of the domestic market in terms of premiums and 48% of domestic general assets. Total revenue for the sector in 1999 was around $75 billion, of which approximately one-third came from earnings on investments. The market share of Canadian-controlled companies stood at 69% of total premium income collected. Regulation of Canadas life and health insurance industry is shared between the federal and provincial governments. While there is some market conduct regulation at the federal level, all insurers are subject to regulation by the province in which they do business (Department of Finance, Canada, 2001).

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The Canstar project began in early 1996, following the merger of Grand Life Insurance and Northern to form the Grand-Northern Life Group (GNLG) (note: all names have been disguised to protect the condentiality of the company and the respondents). Grand Life Insurance is a life and health insurance organization created in 1948. Initially selling only individual life insurance, the company rapidly grew to add several group and retirement savings products to its portfolio, including family insurance, loan insurance, accident insurance for school children and savings-life insurance. Over the years, it merged with close to 20 insurance companies and portfolios, culminating with the acquisition of Northern in 1994. During this period, it built a solid reputation for stability and reliability. In 1996, it had total assets of over $8.5 billion and 1650 full-time employees, and with 16% of the market in the province of Qubec, it had a much bigger share than its closest competitor. The company prides itself on being socially responsible and devotes energy, time and money to humanitarian causes. For example, in 2004, GNLG spent more than $1 million to support various organizations and activities across Canada, especially in the area of health. The company is also very protective of its employees. New job openings and promotions are normally lled by in-house staff and as a rule, reorganizations do not lead to lay-offs. Instead, as underlined by the CEO in his 1996 message to investors: Training programs are being provided so that those affected by the reengineering projects can go through this period of change, acquire new competencies and nd satisfaction in their new assignments. Since its creation, the company has mainly operated in the eastern part of Canada, i.e. in Qubec and the Maritime Provinces, and beneted from a somewhat limited competitive environment, as the Qubec insurance market operates under distinctly different sets of codes and regulations as compared to other Canadian provinces, thus raising signicant entry barriers to outside competitors. This may have resulted in some complacency on the part of GNLG. For example, in 1996 its net income/employee ratio was $21 000, a gure well below the $59 900 average of the top performers in the Canadian market. This sub-standard performance was clearly recognized by senior management, but not necessarily by rank and le employees who seemed quite content with their work environments and daily routines. The situation started to change in 1995 when the Qubec government announced that it would proceed with a major revision of the Market Intermediaries Act. The Act deregulated nancial services for companies under Qubecs jurisdiction. It enabled them to offer a complete range of products and services on an individual basis, and not just on a group basis, through nancial security advisors. As it affected the distribution of most nancial services in the province, the new legislation was likely to drastically change the competitive environment by further opening the Qubec market to outside competition. The proposed legislation thus put pressure on GNLG to reorient its strategy, and brought urgency for the overhauling of its customer service procedures. GNLG thus launched a major re-engineering project, a key part of which was the Canstar project. According to the project manager, This [project] could not be more central . . . it touches all three networks: collective, institutional and direct. When I listen to the presidents messages, the rst value he is promoting is the customer: We exist for our customer and primarily for him. Given our customer service orientation, Canstar is a critical project (Note: the

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Collective Network refers to the service distribution branch of the company that markets and administers group insurance policies sold to organizations. The Institutional Network refers to the branch that sells and administers personal loan insurance policies in nancial institutions that offer insurance to their clients who take a loan. The Direct Network is concerned with the sale of insurance policies to individuals through a network of sales representatives). The project was to be delivered in stages, with the rst one to be implemented in the spring of 1997. The total investment for Phase I was $1.7 million, which included $1 million for the information system infrastructure. The projects short-run objective was to completely overhaul customer services, including all the activities of the Collective and Institutional networks, and the Claims operations of the Direct Network. At the beginning of the project, each network was managed autonomously, either by an account manager or by specialized teams dispersed in regional ofces across the country. In the rather stable business environment of the past, where customers expectations were relatively low, this structure provided satisfactory results, but became largely inadequate in the increasingly fast-paced insurance market. As the project manager noted: Formerly, there was a hierarchy at the employee level, another hierarchy at the executive level, and so on. A complaint would have to move through seven or eight levels before arriving to the top. You can imagine the delays that this generates! The problems GNLG was experiencing with its customer services became an important motivation for undertaking the Canstar project. As noted by the VP for Change Management, many of these problems stemmed from a lack of integration among the diverse products and distribution networks of the two merged companies: There are people who are covered by us who we dont recognize. On occasion, our employees will process accounts that dont belong to us and, at other times, they will turn down some of our new customers because they cant nd any insurance records on them in our databases. All of this points to a rather worrying situation. We know we have to revamp our customer services, fast. The frequency with which such incidents were occurring had begun to seriously harm the companys image and a remedy had to be found. Thus, there was a strong need for integrating customer information found in different databases and for developing an integrated interface for customer services that would provide a personalized and rapid service to the customer. GNLG management felt that this would be possible via a cutting-edge call centre technology where customer service employees would have online access to all relevant customer information (e.g. a policyholders identication information, insurance prole, past transactions with the company, risk assessment prole, etc.). Another objective was to save about $4 million a year, mainly by optimizing existing work processes and by reducing the unit cost of insurance claim processing. GNLG hoped to attain these savings by forming teams of employees who performed similar tasks but worked independently in different departments or functions. This restructuring was expected to improve efciency through a 2025% reduction in a workforce of 400; the closing of regional ofces in Vancouver, Halifax and Montral; and a reduction in administrative expenditures. Although management recognized the strategic signicance of the project, they felt that they lacked the requisite expertise to undertake it alone. As explained by the project manager, We

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didnt have internally the specialists in Notes or for other things like that. Therefore, we had to seek external help to be able to move forward. Our systems people here are conned to the maintenance of our legacy systems. I think that there was a problem at the systems management level. These are our old employees who have aged with our old systems, and when something new comes along, we seek external consultants. This probably frustrates many internal people. However, when you ask them who is ready to help, these same individuals admit that hiring external expertise is necessary. Thus, in January of 1996, GNLG outsourced the project to Harman, an international consulting rm specialized in process redesign, people solutions and implementation, for a xed fee. In March 1996, after carrying out an opportunity analysis, the consultants proposed two alternative solutions: an optimized model and a re-engineered model (cf. Appendix II: Protability projections). The rst would keep the existing support functions currently serving different distribution networks and product divisions, but systematically rationalize and optimize each work process. In contrast, the re-engineered model would restructure all support functions into a two-level centralized support centre: a call centre that would act as a front ofce where all customer calls would be received and all customer interactions would take place, with the customer talking to one agent for all his or her needs; and a claims centre that would act as a back ofce to support the front ofces information and processing needs. GNLG management chose the reengineering option because they felt it would better position the company in its expansion plans; it also had lower operating costs than the optimized model. As they felt the company lacked experience with this type of project, and given the urgency of implementing a viable solution, senior management felt they had opted for the most effective way of obtaining tangible results rapidly. However, the project appeared somewhat ill-advised from the start. The consultants from Harman wanted to implement business models that they deemed to be best practices. Their view was that these models had already been successfully implemented in the United States and could easily be introduced with minimal changes to GNLG, provided its senior management put some effort and determination into the project. The consultants also felt that the projects downsizing targets were too modest and that these could be reached more quickly than GNLGs targets. While the consultants recommendations were well received by GNLG management, their hard and fast approach made many employees uneasy. As summarized by a steering committee member: Obviously, the Harman people arrived here with a much more aggressive approach than our people were used to. They told us that we could do it quicker by almost six months and that we could add some more of this, a little bit of that . . . Of course, senior management liked the idea. Such rashness is not what were used to around here, though. GNLG has a reputation of being, lets say . . . a little paternalistic. With Harman, we passed from a paternalistic culture to a sharp practice culture. As far as they were concerned, they couldnt lose much sleep over our organizational culture. Not that Harmans work was bad, but they obviously misinterpreted GNLGs preoccupations and they misread our needs. Consequently, the contract with Harman was rather short-lived. According to the project owner, They [Harman] came here with the idea of optimizing work production, whereas our

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objectives were rather to make a complete turnaround with our customer services. We were staking as much on service quality as on production improvement. Thats why we terminated Harman. In May 1996, a cost-plus contract was signed with the Iris Group, a consultant rm with strong credentials in the insurance industry that had a more humanitarian approach, and was also well-acquainted with GNLG because Iris president had been an advisor to GNLGs CEO for a long time. Emphasizing transparency and co-operation, Iris presented itself as the projects saviour. Its mandate was to take the lead in the re-engineering project and to develop the IS that would support the new processes. It was also responsible, in collaboration with the human resources and data processing departments, for ensuring the cooperation and coordination of the different employee groups affected by the project. At Iris suggestion, and consistent with the plan of the previous consultants from Harman, the project steering committee approved the creation of a new support centre made up of two distinct subgroups. The rst, the call centre, would be staffed with selected employees from the existing distribution network support groups. The call centre would service all incoming group insurance, institutional insurance and direct network service calls, and would be in charge of all aspects of customer relationships. The second subgroup, the claims centre, would be staffed with support personnel from the former networks who had not been transferred to the call centreand would be responsible for claims assessment and processing for all the networks. As a process re-engineering project, Canstar affected nearly all of GNLGs departments and drastically transformed the companys support structures. The usefulness and relevance of all management positions in every department were examined, from the mail clerks to that of the vice-president in charge of the old distribution networks, and were considered for elimination. In the end, many were eliminated and new positions were created, but the signicant downsizing brought about by the project created a lot of anxiety and concerns, both among managers and clerks. Passive resistance and political manoeuvring became rampant and highly visible. As reported by the project manager: They [GNLG employees] told us to Go ahead with the project. However, the consultants felt that the project wasnt moving forward and said Were giving them [GNLG employees] the deliverables but theyre not delivering back [on the specications] . The ensuing project delays frustrated the consultants and many issues remained unresolved. For example, well into the project in October 1996, a steering committee report stated that requirement changes that had been identied needed 700 person-days of work, resulting in delays. However, even at such a late date, the project manager still did not know whether the three payment systems would be kept separate or be merged into one, which had major implications for the redesign team. Later that year, the members of the steering committee discussed whether the developed system should be harmonized with the existing pension system. They also tried to determine if the developed system ought to include sales from the direct network, whether its two major components should be merged and whether another of its components should be split into two different systems. These and other decisions that had major design implications were not discussed and resolved until much later.

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GNLGs highly politicized environment meant that each stakeholders relative importance and organizational weight had to be taken into account in the re-engineering solutions being proposed. As reported by the project leader: When it came to relationships [management] and the political environment, things got really blocked . . . There were some strong reactions from the support units and the managers being affected. Even from some of the vice-presidents. They didnt want to get involved. In addition, there were also strong disagreements between some key stakeholders: [the VP for Change Management and other managers] each had their own vision. They had expectations which were not very coherent within the project. Iris consultants did not have a keen appreciation of GNLGs history and the strategic alliances that existed within the organization; and were not very knowledgeable about how GNLG functioned and its work processes. As such, it was extremely difcult for them to identify what the stakes of the political landscape were, and how the solutions they proposed would affect the work processes and habits of various GNLG stakeholders. As a result, it became virtually impossible for Iris to make any headway. Following a meeting with senior Iris executives, GNLG decided to terminate the contract in December 1996. Given GNLGs increasing problems with customer service and the situations urgency, all affected departments were invited to a special retreat to discuss potential solutions for the Canstar project. The VP for Change Managements rallying cry to all managers summarizes the solution that was arrived at during this gathering: Enough! Weve had it up to here with external decision-making and other peoples ideas. You all know this company and our customer service quite well. All that we need is a well-organized individual to manage this project. [. . .] We can manage this project from within! After the retreat, the steering committee decided to rely on the companys internal expertise and to modify Canstars management structure so as to directly involve the affected managers and employees (cf. Appendix III, Canstar Steering Committee). Thus, the newly appointed VPs from the call centre and the claims centre, in collaboration with the VP for Change Management, became the projects senior co-directors with special responsibilities in their respective sectors. A new internal project leader, who reported to the VP for Change Management, was named. It was also decided that external consultants would be asked to intervene on an ad hoc basis and only when needed for specic tasks. In January 1997, work resumed on the project under the new governance structure (cf. Appendix IV: The New Canstar Project Structure) with the objective of delivering the basic components (i.e. call centre and the claims centre) by 31 March 1997. The IS group would be responsible for providing the two centres with support personnel and managers, as well as with the IT applications and infrastructures needed. This entailed the acquisition and installation of a network of some 50 workstations; the implementation of a collaborative work management tool that would provide an effective communication system between and within each group; the development and adaptation of IT applications that would link the legacy systems used by the distribution networks; the development of a unied interface for all these systems and the implementation of communication and performance control systems for both centres. The IS department would also be responsible for system modication requests and optimizing the

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applications already in use in each distribution network. Given the diversity of the products and distribution networks that were involved, the IS departments task was signicant. As they did not have the requisite expertise for accomplishing all their tasks, the CIO asked Miralex, an IT integrator that offered a diversied range of IS and management consulting services (including system development and implementation), for assistance. This time, however, GNLG decided to enter into a partnership agreement with Miralex, according to which Miralex would partially assume the projects risks and provide performance guarantees. While Miralex would control the technical aspects of the project, some GNLG technical staff would nevertheless be integrated into each development team to facilitate knowledge transfer. Having thus decided that the project would essentially be developed in-house, GNLG management made serious efforts to rally everyone around the project. As reported by the VP for Change Management: We tried to gather everybody . . . and said Were tearing each other apart . . . meanwhile our customers arent happy . . . and if we dont wake up, the whole rm is at risk. [. . .] I want them [employees] to say [about Canstar] Its mine. It belongs to me and we should slowly move towards ownership. People should own the system . However, even with a new vision for the project and a clear policy of employee participation and involvement, there was a marked difference in how the personnel from the two centres reacted to it. The call centre employees were intensively consulted about the changes being brought to work processes, as well as being extensively trained and pampered. As a result, they were all quite enthusiastic about it: For them [Call center employees] it was love at rst sight. We selected them and told them they were our number one assets and that their prole was exactly what the rm needed. We gave them all sorts of training on communication skills, about the company, on system knowledge. We gave them the best ofces with windows. They were in some sort of a cocoon. So, I say yes, they were on a honeymoon. In contrast, the claims centre employees were not very happy. As reported by the call centre VP: Perhaps we effectively did sideline the Claims center. And that is what the people are complaining about. They say: You didnt take care of us in the back. You didnt train us. You didnt make sure that all our systems were updated and powerful enough. You only trained the Call center people. You made sure that their systems would be more user-friendly, etc. So, yes indeed, we did focus on the Call center. It was the new attraction. . . . Since this spring, the Claims center employees have all been complaining. When its not your boss but your colleague who tells you that you made a mistake, people dont like that (i.e., a Call center employee telling a Claims center employee what to do) . . . The Claims center employees are frustrated because they lost contact with their customers. They tell the customers that while they would have liked to continue working with them, they are no longer allowed to do so. So we then get all sorts of calls from the customers. So when I say resistance, I mean they even brought the customers into their resistance. The new call centre went into service in May 1997, on schedule. On a typical day, the call centre agents answered an average of 1000 customer calls. In the rst 2 weeks of operation, 86% of these calls were answered immediately and represented a much higher percentage than before the projects implementation (GNLG was reluctant to disclose the exact prior gures). In addition, call cancellation rates, i.e. the percentage of customers who hung up

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before reaching an agent, decreased considerably. By November 1997, the immediate response rate for incoming calls exceeded 92%, which surpassed the industry average and was also above target for this stage of the project. According to the VP for Change Management, This is an excellent result and is better than what was expected. Along with the deployment of the call centre, the claims centre was also put into operation. The claims centre had approximately 400 employees coming from the support services of the various distribution networks that had been merged. While things ran smoothly in the call centre, right off the bat, the claims centre operations ran into problems, as reported by the call centre VP: The Claims center is where we targeted most of the personnel downsizing and this is where we have yet to achieve efciency improvements. We are still working on it.

3. ANALYSIS OF CANSTAR: A VIEW FROM ORGANIZATION ECONOMICS

This section uses organization economics to analyze the Canstar project. Each project phase involves two parties, the client (GNLG) and a supplier, linked in a governance arrangement. Governance has been extensively studied in Economics and related approaches which view governance mode as a choice, i.e. in essence, managers can choose between internal governance and outsourcing, with the objective of maximizing gains while lowering transaction costs. Depending on the specic theory used, the variables considered may focus more on the gains (e.g. the resource-based view) or on transaction costs (e.g. transaction cost theory). However, the approaches share a common logic in that they explain a governance mode by examining various market deciencies. The main theoretical points are summarized further, followed by an analysis of the case. In a perfect world, clients are able to express their requirements with perfect precision to suppliers, who later deliver systems that are instantly evaluated for conformity with requirements. And both parties have the necessary competencies to perform these activities and there are many competing suppliers, guaranteeing competitive pricing. However, in real life, resources are not perfectly mobile and expertise inside the company cannot be modied at will (Barney, 1999). He (2004) looked at IT investments and how the basic conditions of the resource-based view applied to these investments. For an IT investment to lead to competitive advantage, the technology must be valuable, heterogeneously distributed and imperfectly mobile. Pinpointing what makes a company more protable than another is difcult; a multitude of small details, individual elements and their interactions help create a unique organization with its distinctive strategic advantage. Essentially, this means that organizations will keep in-house activities for which they perceive they require strategic resources (in the long run) and outsource those activities that involve capabilities which are unlikely to lead to the creation of strategic advantage (Barney, 2001). In cases where internal resources are lacking but could, if present, lead to a strategic advantage, organizations should attempt to enter into partnership arrangements with rms possessing the complementary resources. In Figure 1, strategic value and resource availability are directly linked to the strategic boundary of the organization. These variables are measured at the organizational level.

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In real life, many elements limit the potential usage of external suppliers. While suppliers may benet from economies of scale, they also tend to behave opportunistically (Teece, 1998). A client will avoid using external suppliers when the transaction requires specic assets, so as to avoid being locked-in with the supplier (Teece, 1998). The client also realizes that it is not always possible to dene deliverables precisely or to measure their quantity and quality. This is the problem of uncertainty as it increases transaction costs. In a contract, activities have to be predictable to be adequately detailed for the duration of the contract (Williamson, 1985). Incomplete denition can lead to opportunistic behaviour from the parties because they can take advantage of loopholes. Contract completeness issues are also relevant when analyzing internal governance (Wareham et al., 1998). Moreover, the activities need to be measurable because measurement enables the client to assess whether the services rendered match the price paid. In situations of high performance ambiguity, direct monitoring should be used, but is costly (Alchian & Demsetz, 1972). Uncertainty has also been shown to have a signicant effect on post-contractual opportunism in an IS context (Wang, 2002). This is an essential part of contracting. Therefore, some activities, although not highly strategic, might be kept in-house because of their intrinsic characteristics (Milgrom & Roberts, 1992). When relying on external governance for an activity, the client will try to devise efcient contractual agreements, i.e. contractual structures that will minimize supervision costs while motivating the supplier to act in the clients best interest (Eisenhardt, 1989; Sappington, 1991). Consequently, transaction cost variables (asset specicity, uncertainty and performance ambiguity) measured at the project level were linked to the governance mode of the transaction in Figure 1.

3.1 Strategic aspects GNLG considered the Canstar project to be of great strategic value. However, it seems that the managers did not have much condence in the capacity of their internal resources to carry out such a large-scale re-engineering project, at least initially. Instead of seeking a partnership to acquire these strategic resources, GNLG signed a conventional outsourcing agreement. The suppliers of the rst two phases could not provide the required competencies to complete the project. However, in its third attempt, GNLG felt that it could lead the project internally despite its lack of requisite IT expertise for the projects technical aspects. Miralex accepted to participate in the project via a partnership agreement and agreed to jointly develop the needed applications by integrating some of GNLGs IT staff for knowledge transfer purposes. The Miralex phase of the project turned out to be a success insofar as the developed applications met GNLGs requirements and were delivered within the budgetary limits. The resource analysis of the Canstar project reveals a form of sourcing that changed along with the managers understanding of the type of knowledge that was needed and their own capabilities. Ex post, it is clear that the key expertise needed for the project was a thorough knowledge of GNLGs business processes and a clear understanding of the companys political environment. Furthermore, the project affected a wide range of services and systems within the rm. As such, the development team had to be knowledgeable about the work habits and specic needs of all the groups involved. This expertise, which was mostly implicit and

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experience-based, could not be easily found outside the rm. On the other hand, the necessary technical expertise, while extensive and scarce, could be obtained via a partnership agreement with a consulting rm, and the transfer of the knowledge required to support the new systems. 3.2 Transactional aspects At the outset, the projects perceived uncertainty level was relatively low. In addition, the projects targeted objectives of cost reductions of 20% and increases in the quality of customer service (via an increase in the percentage of calls answered, reduced waiting time, etc.) suggest that performance ambiguity was also low. This should have facilitated a successful outsourcing relationship. However, the Iris phase reveals new insights regarding the level of uncertainty surrounding the project. Evidence from the case suggests that GNLG management underestimated the projects uncertainty level. For instance, system design issues that remained unresolved late into the project at the end of 1996 indicate that project specications were not clear, which is a threat to the success of any outsourcing relationship. Despite their good intentions, it was difcult for the suppliers to provide a system that would meet GNLGs needs. During the rst two phases of the project, GNLG learned a lot about its own requirements and capabilities, the performance targets that mattered, as well as how to manage contracts. This knowledge is likely to have reduced the uncertainty surrounding system requirements. Reduced project uncertainty and the fact that the third contract was limited to technical aspects of the system, contributed to the relative success of the Miralex phase. Throughout the Canstar project, different contractual structures were used, with varying results. Because its contract was at a xed price, Harman had an incentive to nish the work as quickly as possible: the earlier the work was completed, with the least amount of manpower, the higher their prots. Interestingly, the xed-price contract seems to have encouraged Harman to speed things up, which resulted in GNLGs perception that Harman was bullying them. The design of the Iris contract is also likely to have contributed to GNLGs lack of satisfaction with the consultant: Iris was paid for the different services it rendered according to a cost-plus agreement based on a mutually agreed upon daily rate. However, GNLG managers felt that Iris was not working fast enough and that it constantly pushed for more analyses instead of getting on with the work. Iris was acting according to the incentives created by their contract. In the Miralex phase, GNLG retained most of the decision rights with Miralex controlling only the technical aspects of the project. To further motivate the parties, the agreement between GNLG and Miralex called for risk-sharing and bonding devices. This contract partially protected GNLG against supplier opportunism and is likely to have contributed to their successful relationship with Miralex. 3.3 Success criteria Organization economics suggests that rms select the appropriate governance modes to ensure the completion of their activities at the lowest possible cost. The case suggests that

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selecting the appropriate governance structure is not a trivial task. To summarize, Canstar was considered strategic by GNLG, which suggests that the project should have remained within GNLGs boundaries. GNLG also lacked the resources needed to carry out the project, indicating that the transaction had to go on the market, keeping in mind that what was required was not only a system but also a set of skills that had to be brought in-house. The characteristics of the transaction did not initially appear to threaten the success of an outsourcing arrangement. However, in the Iris phase, it became clear that uncertainty was actually much higher than what was initially thought and that much of the project was inadequately specied. Traditional outsourcing (arms-length transaction) is inadequate in such situations. While costly, the learning that took place through the rst two failures helped GNLG to reduce uncertainty and to more clearly see its system requirements, as indicated by its actions in the Miralex phase. Following project implementation, customers (who now dealt with only one GNLG employee, instead of being transferred from one agent to another) calls were answered faster. However, the negative reaction of the back ofce dampened the feeling of success. As reported by the VP for Change Management, having lost the close contact with their clients, back ofce employees felt less important, especially because many of them were accustomed to dealing with the customers. Thus, the expected productivity gains were not realized in the back ofce. Organization economics supposes that appropriate governance can generate expected results. While it provides a convincing explanation for the differences between the results of each phase, it does not explain why mixed results were obtained with the nal system.

4. ANALYSIS OF CANSTAR A PROJECT RISK MANAGEMENT PERSPECTIVE

Researchers tend to agree that managing the risk of software projects is critical, and that it has an important inuence on various outcomes, such as project cost, schedule and user requirements (Kirsch, 1996; Barki et al., 1993; 2001; Wallace et al., 2004). After reviewing different project management practices that have been examined in the literature, Barki et al. (2001) identied three common dimensions underlying the construct of IS project management: formal planning (i.e. reliance on plans, budgets and schedules so that a project can be executed efciently and in a timely fashion), internal integration (i.e. practices that increase the cohesiveness of the project team) and user participation (a key practice that ensures external integration, i.e. the harmony between the project team and the rest of the organization). They proposed project management as a prole multidimensional construct (Law et al., 1998) encompassing these three dimensions, and found that managing project risk according to a projects risk exposure had a contingent impact on project outcomes (Barki et al., 2001). Specically, they found that high-risk exposure projects required greater levels of internal integration and formal planning than low risk exposure projects when success was assessed according to adherence to project budget. However, when system quality, as perceived by the project leader, was used as a measure of success, high-risk exposure projects were found to

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require greater levels of user participation than low-risk exposure projects. The risk management layer presented in Figure 1 depicts these links. The characteristics of the project (team expertise, project size, complexity, technological newness, etc.) are shown to inuence the projects outcome, and the t arrow represents the notion that how a project is managed (in terms of its planning, internal and external integration activities) needs to match the characteristics of the project (Barki et al., 2001).

4.1 Risk exposure of the Canstar project An IT projects initial risk exposure can be determined, at the onset, by project, project team, technology and organizational characteristics. These characteristics remained largely unchanged in all three project phases and their relatively high levels make Canstar a high-risk exposure project (Barki et al., 1993; 2001; Wallace et al., 2004). For example, Canstar (1) had a high level of technological newness (while the hardware requirements were not new, the software to be developed had to be created from scratch); (2) was relatively large (the cost of the Harman phase was $1.7 million, while estimates of the Iris and Miralex phases of the project were not disclosed), both the number and the variety of the people involved, as well as the number of users affected were also relatively high; and (3) had low levels of task expertise on its team in both the Harman and Iris phases, i.e. the consultants were not overly familiar with the insurance industry, and there was considerable lack of user support for the project. In the Miralex Phase, the call centre users were supportive of the project but the claims centre personnel exhibited strong resistance; (4) was complex, as it integrated many different legacy applications developed in two different organizations; (5) had an organizational environment that also contributed to its high-risk exposure in terms of the extent of changes it brought to the rm, the conicts it generated between the claims centre personnel and the rest of the organization, and the lack of clarity of employees role denitions, especially in the rst two phases; and (6) in case of failure, the magnitude of potential loss was large, especially in terms of customer goodwill, lack of organizational efciency, loss of market share and protability.

4.2 Project management proles In assessing the project management prole of an IT implementation project, Barki et al. (2001) examined three constructs: (1) internal integration (i.e. the extent to which the members of the implementation team were coordinated and worked harmoniously with each other), (2) formal planning (i.e. the extent to which the project was managed with reliance on formal plans, procedures and tools), and (3) external integration which refers to the extent of integration between the project team and the rest of the organization {an important component of which was operationalized by Barki et al. (2001) as user participation, i.e. the extent to which future system users take part in system development and implementation}. In general, both the Harman and Iris phases had high levels of internal integration and formal planning (the project teams in both phases were highly cohesive and made intensive use of formal project planning and management tools and mechanisms), but low levels of external

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integration. In both cases, the consultants controlled the project with little participation from GNLGs management and users. In the Harman phase, many users wanted to get involved initially, but decided to pull back because of the consultants approach. In the words of the VP for Change Management, The outsiders came here and told us I have my change management guy. I have my project control guy and so on . . . This attitude from the consultant was strong and resulted in systematic resistance to the project. Then, during the Iris phase, there were disagreements between the main protagonists, as well as interference and negative emotion. As a result of the relatively intense conicts they experienced, many of those involved appear to have stayed away from the project, keeping their participation to a minimum. In the Miralex phase however, a dramatic increase in external integration and user participation was observed, especially from the ofce personnel, while internal integration and formal planning remained strong. This was characterized by intensive efforts on the part of three key project managers to encourage and obtain widespread participation throughout the organization. As the project manager explains, he adopted a policy of . . . continuing commitment to transparency and communication with the system being . . . developed with them [the users] . . . and adapted to . . . their routines. This approach apparently worked, as it lowered resistance and led to the successful implementation of the call centre.

4.3 Success criteria Barki et al. (2001) used two success criteria to evaluate their contingency model of project risk management: adherence to project budget and system quality as perceived by the project leader. Given that both the Harman and Iris consultants were red, the rst two phases of the Canstar project can be considered failures. Given the companys reluctance to disclose Canstars cost and budget gures for the Miralex phase, it was not possible to assess the projects success in terms of adherence to its budget. However, the interface developed in the Miralex phase for the call centre and the integration of different databases were considered to be of high quality by both the project leaders and the call centre employees. While the claims centres problems stemmed more from political and change management issues than from their concerns with system quality, it was nonetheless the case that, from an overall perspective, the system did not adequately cater to the users needs and concerns. Canstars risk analysis is summarized in Table 1 and suggests that the events which transpired in the project and its outcomes are consistent with Barki et al.s (2001) integrative contingency model of software project risk management. As the outcomes from the project matched the theorys predictions, the case provides empirical support of a qualitative nature for the model. It suggests that analyzing and managing software projects from this models perspective can provide a useful tool for project managers, allowing them to assess their projects risk level and to determine whether the appropriate project management prole is being applied. By doing so, they enhance their ability to anticipate future events associated with the project. However, because it does not examine organization-level decisions which inuence the risk models antecedent variables, a project-level analysis such as this does not

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Table 1. Risk analysis of Canstar Miralex phase Canstar project Risk exposure Risk management prole Internal integration Formal planning External integration Theorys prediction of success Observed level of success Harman phase High High High Low Low Low Iris phase High High High Low Low Low Call centre High High High High High High Claims centre High High High Low Low Low

explain why external integration levels were low in both the Harman and Iris phases, as well as for the claims centre in the Miralex phase. For this, we must turn to the organizational-level analysis conducted from the organizational economics view, as well as to individual-level analyses from a behavioural perspective.

5. AN INTEGRATED ANALYSIS OF CANSTAR

While it is possible to analyze the Canstar case through the lenses of different theoretical models, doing so by focusing only on one model provides a truncated and incomplete explanation of what happened in the case. In both the Harman and Iris phases, the Transaction cost theory analysis indicated that, given the projects considerable system requirements uncertainty, GNLGs decision to completely outsource the project was ill-advised. The xed price contract with Harman and the cost-plus contract with Iris were both poor choices given the low levels of goal alignment between parties. Thus, an organization economics analysis would have predicted failure for both the Harman and Iris cases, and the incentive structure in place enabled us to predict cheating and shirking, respectively. These predictions, while partially validated by the events that transpired at GNLG, do not nor do they pretend to, tell the full story of what happened in the project because they say nothing about the outcomes at the project and individual levels. For these, we must turn to project- and individual-level theories. The risk analysis of Canstar looked at the t between the projects risk exposure and its project management prole (in terms of internal integration, formal planning and external integration) (Barki et al., 2001). This project-level analysis found that external integration was inappropriately low in both phases, indicating a poor t between the projects risk and its management prole, thus providing an explanation for failures in both the Harman and Iris phases. However, examining the Harman and Iris phases of Canstar by looking only at project- or individual-level variables leaves unanswered the question of why both phases had low levels of external integration. Interestingly, possible explanations can be found in the organizational-

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level analysis provided by organization economics. For example, the low level of external integration observed in the Harman phase can be explained by the xed price nature of their outsourcing contract, which partly resulted from GNLGs lack of understanding of its own requirements for the project (i.e. high system requirement uncertainty). The xed price contract is likely to have inuenced Harmans reluctance to invest much effort into integrating GNLGs employees into the project. In addition, GNLGs employees were not too keen on participating in a project with which neither they nor many senior managers, clearly identied. The Harman phase of Canstar also illustrates the close relationship between organizational, project and individual levels of analysis. Harman had little incentive to invest in external integration because of the xed price nature of their contract. But even if they had targeted high levels of external integration, it was unlikely that they would have succeeded because GNLGs employees distanced themselves from Canstar once they realized that it was leading to severe personnel cutbacks. A similar reaction was also exhibited during the Iris phase. Interestingly, the outsourcing contract signed with Iris was not on a xed but on a cost-plus basis, which explains why Iris invested more effort on external integration than Harman. However, Iris external integration efforts were not very effective either, as they were countered by GNLG employees strong resistance. In turn, this resistance can be explained by the initial conditions, threats (in terms of changes to work processes and loss of jobs), and triggers the project represented to GNLGs employees at the individual level, and how these individuallevel responses eventually were transformed into group-level reactions (Lapointe & Rivard, 2005). Thus, organizational-level decisions not only constrained the range of possible project management action in terms of how much external integration Harman wanted to apply to the project, but were also a determining factor in terms of how much external integration was achieved and its potential effectiveness in the Iris phase. The Miralex phase of Canstar also illustrates the power of an integrated approach to analyzing IT implementations. According to the lens provided by economics, the projects salient characteristics were properly aligned in the Miralex phase and should have resulted in a successful outcome. In actual fact, this turned out to be only partially true, with the call centre being a resounding success whereas the claims centre had serious problems. On the surface, the relatively poor project outcomes observed in the Claims centre are difcult to explain with an economics perspective. But they can be relatively easily explained by using a project-level theory, such as project risk, e.g. a lack of t between risk and project management prole as a result of low external integration in the claims centre; or individual-level theories, e.g. Claims centres lack of participation and involvement in the project, (Hartwick & Barki, 1994). Failure could also be attributed to communication lapses in the developeruser communication process in the case of the claims centre (Gallivan & Keil, 2003); the use of inappropriate conict management styles by both the claims centre employees and GNLG management (Barki & Hartwick, 2001); or inadequate change management practices applied to the claims centre employees, (Armenakis et al., 1993), resulting in the lack of success in the back ofce. However, the low external integration levels of claims centre employees may also have been the outcome of an unofcial and unannounced organizational-level decision aimed at restructuring the existing workforce. While the analysis at the individual and project levels cannot

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explain why the claims centre (back ofce) employees were left out of external integration efforts, the organizational level offers a plausible explanation. The call centre employees were seen as a valuable resource. Their prole was perceived by GNLGs management as . . . exactly what the company needed. As well, the project team was organized around this valued expertise (resources available at the organization level), which is also likely to have biased the team toward the call centre processes. In contrast, the strategic value of the back ofces claims-support activities were perceived to be low, which resulted in the claims centre employees being left out of external integration efforts, explaining why this aspect of Canstar was not as successful as the call centre. This further highlights the importance of examining multi-level links in IT implementations.

6. A MULTI-LEVEL, MULTI-THEORY APPROACH TO STUDYING IT IMPLEMENTATION

As the Canstar case illustrates, the outcome of an IT implementation is likely to depend on the decisions and choices made at the organizational, project and individual levels. Making wrong decisions at the organizational level is likely to be detrimental, as illustrated by the Harman and Iris phases. In the third phase of the Canstar case, appropriate choices were nally made. The recognition of past mistakes by the team members, and the readjustments applied, suggest that organizational learning had occurred (Lyytinen & Robey, 1999). However, even when actors are better informed and the right choices are made at the organizational level, as in the Miralex phase, success will not be likely unless appropriate decisions are also made at the project- and individual-level, as illustrated by the contrasting results observed at the call and claims centres. Thus, factors at all three levels need to be simultaneously considered in order to fully understand IT implementations. More importantly, however, the case also illustrates how organizational-level decisions can inuence project-level variables, which can in turn inuence individual-level variables, highlighting the need to develop multi-level, multi-theory models of IT implementation. As mentioned earlier, the model depicted in Figure 1 is provided as a rst step in the development of such a model. In this model, the key constructs of four related economics theories are linked sequentially. While Transaction cost theory considers the characteristics of a transaction (e.g. the software system being built), the Resource-based view looks at an organizations built-in properties (i.e. its know-how). On the other hand, agency theory and incomplete contracts theory examine the contractual arrangement of a transaction and the behaviours it is likely to elicit from the contracting parties. As such, the four theories provide complementary views of the decision to outsource a transaction or to manage it in-house, and can be examined sequentially. The resource-based view helps determine the strategic boundary of an organization by assessing its resources. This boundary is one of the important inputs for decisions concerning the transactions governance mode, as are other transaction cost theory constructs. If a resource-based view analysis suggests that outsourcing needs to be considered, then transaction cost theory can be used to select an appropriate governance

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mode. Once the mode has been chosen, theories of agency and incomplete contracts can be used to specify the incentives, roles and responsibilities of the contracting parties. Note that the constructs used by these four theories are both at the organizational (e.g. resource availability and strategic value), as well as the project (e.g. asset specicity, governance mode and contractual mechanisms) levels, and can be used as successive links in a theoretical chain that can provide strategic guidelines for IT implementation projects. Figure 1 also depicts the risk management model used to examine Canstar and the links the case helped uncover between different theoretical models. Foremost among these are the relationships between uncertainty and external integration (i.e. the greater the uncertainty surrounding a project, the higher the level of external integration needed to reduce this uncertainty); and those between contractual mechanisms and external integration (i.e. the level of external integration in a project being dependent on the xed, cost plus, or partnership structure of the contract). As well, the resource-based views resource availability and the transaction cost theorys asset specicity notions are related to risk managements project team expertise. In the resource-based view, knowledge is a strategic resource for an organization (Teece, 1998) and project team expertise is a key resource in IT implementations. In addition, knowledge is an organizational asset that is built over time, which cannot be changed easily or on short notice. Thus, knowing what expertise is required for an IT implementation project is not enough because organizational characteristics and history are likely to constrain the available options. Also, Transaction costs asset specicity includes knowledge {e.g., in the case of human asset specicity, as dened by Williamson (1985)} which can be very specic, especially when it pertains to organizational idiosyncrasies, and often translates into unique procedures or languages (Aubert et al., 2004). There are also similarities between uncertainty in transaction cost and in project risk management. The latter assesses the uncertainty surrounding the tasks that will be affected by the system to be developed (Barki et al., 1993) and includes the tasks predictability, structuredness; and the number of steps involved in its completion. This view is similar to the unpredictability of future events in transaction cost theory, which in turn increases the difculty associated with dening precise system requirements (e.g. specifying an outsourcing contract) and increases transaction costs (Williamson, 1985). Task complexity is also a project characteristic in the risk management model (Barki et al., 1993) and is closely related to the uncertainty dened in the transaction cost framework (Aubert et al., 2004). A multi-level, multi-theory approach could also be helpful for identifying new research avenues. When different perspectives are brought together, new associations, inuences or gaps can emerge suggesting new research ideas. For example, a potentially fruitful research avenue would be the investigation of possible links between the theories examined in the present paper and individual-level theories, e.g. Agency theorys incentive structure (Sappington, 1991) could be viewed as a factor encouraging user participation in a given project. The antecedents of user participation could also be better dened thanks to contextual or structural variables identied in agency theory to complement the user participation and involvement perspective of individual technology acceptance models (Agarwal, 2000).

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Another interesting research avenue is the study of possible associations between the goals of the parties assessed in agency theory and the disagreement dimension of conict in IT implementation projects (Barki & Hartwick, 2001). This link could be further developed by extending the external integration activities of the risk management perspective (Barki et al., 2001) to include integration activities with vendors or integrators. Also, information sharing between contracting parties is an important consideration both in the resource-based view, when determining the party that has the required resources; and in incomplete contracts theory, when determining the party that makes the critical investment in a contracting relationship. Thus, in studying IT implementation conicts both at the project and individual levels, parties goals and information exchange activities could be considered as important antecedents. Another potential organizationalindividual level link is the relationship between the origin of a critical investment (Grossman & Hart, 1986) and user involvement (Barki & Hartwick, 1994). According to Grossman & Hart (1986), the party that controls a transaction will over invest in it, i.e. will put greater efforts into the project. This is likely to affect the feelings of involvement (Barki & Hartwick, 1994) of individuals working on the project. Thus, control over a transaction may be an important organizational-level antecedent for individual-level user involvement.

7. CONCLUSION

IT implementations are complex phenomena and typically involve a large number of factors that are linked to multiple theoretical perspectives. When looking at an IT implementation from an economics perspective, governance (structure) is seen as a managers choice where actors, if the appropriate structure (responsibilities and incentives) is put in, will have actions resulting in the completion of the transaction. As economics models assume that individual actions during the project follow the incentive structure, they are silent about the managers individual free will. In turn, project risk management does not consider the antecedents of independent variables such as project management activities. Ignoring the structural elements (including the incentives), they assume that managerial (and individual) actions are free choices. Constraints and incentives that are determined before the beginning of the project are not taken into consideration. Thus, many theoretical perspectives salient to IT implementation, and in particular, those operating at different levels, have been mostly conned to units of analysis and theoretical silos that rarely communicate with each other. As the Canstar case illustrates, integrating multi-level, multi-theory perspectives of IT implementation can provide more than the contributions of each individual theory or their simple sum. The recognition that some antecedents of lower level theories are strongly inuenced by the constructs and outcomes of higher level theories enables the construction of more elaborate and richer theories of IT implementation, providing interesting opportunities for expanding our theoretical understanding of IT implementations. We hope that the present paper might be a step toward the development of multi-level, multi-theoretical models of IT implementations.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

This research was supported by FQRSC (Fonds Qubcois de la Recherche sur la Socit et la Culture) and by HEC Montral (programme ateliers stratgiques).
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Lapointe, L. & Rivard, S. (2005) A multilevel model of resistance to information technology implementation. MIS Quarterly, 29, 461491. Law, K.S., Wong, C.S. & Mobley, W.H. (1998) Toward a taxonomy of multidimensional constructs. Academy of Management Review, 23, 741755. Lyytinen, K. & Robey, D. (1999) Learning failure in information systems development. Information Systems Journal, 9, 85101. Milgrom, P. & Roberts, J. (1992) Economics, Organization & Management. Prentice Hall, New York, NY, USA. Nidumolu, S.R. (1995) The effect of coordination and uncertainty on software project performance: residual performance risk as an intervening variable. Information Systems Research, 6, 191219. Rogers, E.M. (1995) The Diffusion of Innovations, 4th edn. Free Press, New York, NY, USA. Sambamurthy, V. (2000) Business strategy in hypercompetitive environments: rethinking the logic of differentiation. In: Framing the Domains of IT Management, Zmud, R.W. (ed.), pp. 245262. Pinnaex Inc., Cincinnati, OH, USA. Sappington, D. (1991) Incentives in principal-agent relationships. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 5, 4568. Taylor, S. & Todd, P. (1995) Understanding information technology usage: a test of competing models. Information Systems Research, 6, 144176. Teece, D.J. (1998) Capturing value from knowledge assets: the new economy, markets for know-how, and intangible assets. California Management Review, 40, 5579. Wallace, L., Keil, M. & Rai, A. (2004) How software project risk affects project performance: an investigation of the dimensions of risk and an exploratory model. Decision Sciences, 35, 289310. Wang, E. (2002) Transaction attributes and software outsourcing success: an empirical investigation of transaction cost theory. Information Systems Journal, 12, 153 181. Wareham, J., Bjrn-andersen, N. & Neergaard, P. (1998) Reinterpreting the demise of hierarchy: a case study in information technology, empowerment and incomplete contracts. Information Systems Journal, 8, 257272. Williamson, O. (1985) The Economic Institutions of Capitalism. Free Press, New York, NY, USA. Yetton, P., Martin, A., Sharma, R. & Johnston, K. (2000) A model of information systems development project performance. Information Systems Journal, 10, 263289. Zmud, R.W. (ed.) (2000) Framing the Domains of IT Management. Pinnaex Inc., Cincinnati, OH, USA.

Biographies
Benoit A. Aubert is currently President and Chief Executive Ofcer of the CIRANO (Centre inter-universitaire de recherche en analyse des organisations) and Professor at HEC Montral. He was Director of Research at HEC Montral from 2004 to 2007. Dr. Aubert was awarded the professorship in Governance and IT at HEC Montral in 2003. His main research areas are outsourcing, risk management, and new organization forms (virtual, network, alliances, etc.). He published several articles, book chapters, conference proceedings, and reports on these topics. He also published papers on trust, ontology, and health care IS. He is currently on the editorial board of Database. Dr. Aubert has a long record of collaborations with both private and public organizations. He frequently acts as expert consultant on outsourcing decisions, IT strategy and enterprise reorganizations. Henri Barki is Canada Research Chair in IT Implementation and Management at HEC Montral. A member of the Royal Society of Canada since 2003, he was the Research Director of HEC Montral from 1998 to 2001 and has been on the editorial boards of MIS Quarterly, Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, Gestion, and Management International. His main research interests focus on the development, introduction and use of information technologies in organizations and journals where his research has been published include Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, Information Systems Research, Information & Management, INFOR, International Journal of Conict Management, International Journal of e-Collaboration, International Journal of e-Government Research, Journal of the AIS, Journal of MIS, Management Science, MIS Quarterly, Organization Science, and Small Group Research. Michel Patry is a holder of a PhD in Economics from the University of British Columbia and a masters degree in Business Administration (MSc) from HEC Montral, Michel Patry is currently Professor at the Institut dconomie applique of HEC Montral and Director of HEC Montral, a major international business school. Michel Patry is an expert in the economics of organizations and regulation. At the moment, his teaching and research deal with the economic analysis of organizations, the economics and strategic analysis of outsourcing and privatepublic partnerships, the economic analysis of regulation, as well as the economics of IT and e-commerce. Professor Patry has published articles in academic and professional publications, book sections, monographs, research reports, etc.,

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as well as many transfer and public education articles. He also serves as a consultant to many private and public organizations. Vital Roy is an Associate Professor at the Department of Information Technologies, HEC Montral. His research focuses on IS sourcing, project management and the orga-

nization of the information system. His work has appeared in journals including Database for Advances in Information Systems, Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, Gestion Revue Internationale de gestion, SIM, Annals of Cases on Information Technology, and the International Journal of Case Studies in Management.

APPENDIX I INTERVIEW GUIDE

Senior Managers IDENTIFICATION OF THE RESPONDENT: COMPANY, NAME, ADDRESS, FUNCTION, TELEPHONE. CAN YOU IDENTIFY AT LEAST ONE SPECIFIC PROJECT IN YOUR ORGANIZATION FOR EACH SOURCING MODE (PARTNERSHIP, CONSERVATION, ALLIANCE, OUTSOURCING)?

Project leader Start of project Implementation date Main users


FOR EACH PROJECT, WHAT LEVELS OF DECISION-MAKING ARE MAINLY AFFECTED (AND HOW)? STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT, TACTICAL MANAGEMENT, OPERATIONAL MANAGEMENT, OPERATIONS, DECISION SUPPORT HOW WOULD YOU EVALUATE THE STRATEGIC VALUE OF THIS PROJECT FOR THE COMPANY? (PERIPHERAL, IMPORTANT, CRITICAL, IMPACTS ON PERFORMANCE, BETTER COMPETITIVE POSITION) FOR THE COMPANY, WHAT IS THE RELATIVE CONTRIBUTION OF THIS PROJECT IN TERMS OF:

Deliverable goods / services Support for the other activities of the company
WHAT ARE THE MAJOR CHARACTERISTICS OF THIS PROJECT THAT CONFER IT STRATEGIC VALUE?

Better effectiveness of management Contributes to the development of customers loyalty Redenes and improves services Creation of new products Contributes to the operational effectiveness Contributes to costs economies Recovers the expertise of the employees Changes the manner in which the business competes
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Integrates new IT in the products/services Others


GLOBAL EVALUATION OF THE SUCCESS LEVEL OF THE PROJECT FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF THE OWNER: Failure Mitigated success Acceptable success Complete Success

ATTAINMENT OF PROJECT OBJECTIVES:

Financial objectives of the project Improvements in the quality of work Needs and requirements of users are supported Competitive advantage realized (Efciency gains) Resilience of the competitive advantages Reduction of errors Reduction in operational costs Increase of synergies (Personnel reductions) Increase in the quality of products/services Respect of time and cost constraints
Project Leader Identication of the respondent: Company, Name, Address, Function, Tel. DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT

How do you dene your role in this project? (Person in charge, coordinator, facilitator) Characteristics and context of the project Departments affected by project Names of the functional managers What levels of management decision making are mainly affected by this activity? (Strategic management, Tactical management, Operational management, Operations, Decision support) Importance in nancial terms Number of people affected Duration of the project (Beginning, End) No. of suppliers implied No. of person-days What triggered the project? (Change in the environment, top management decision, business imperatives, etc.) Objectives being pursued (Cost reduction, functional effectiveness, reorganization of the IS function, downsizing, political solution . . .) What phases of the information systems development cycle are relevant to this project?
SOURCING MODE Responsibility sharing clauses a) Benet sharing clauses

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Statement of a shared perspective Statements of the objectives specic to each partner Expertise transfer mechanisms (mixed teams, exchange of information, exchange of personnel) Absence of formal contract with suppliers b) Composition of the committees (personnel of the company) The company is the primary contractor Low presence of external resources Outsourcing of all development activities to external integrator c) Personnel transfer to outsourcer Acquisition of existing systems Acquisition of development services from an external consultant d) Transfer of development responsibilities Transfer of major activities of the development cycle Purchase of a turn-key system HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE SKILLS REQUIRED FOR THE PROJECT? (TECHNICAL TRAINING, IT MANAGEMENT SKILLS, GENERAL MANAGEMENT SKILLS, COMMUNICATION SKILLS) THESE SKILLS HAVE A LINK WITH . . .

The comprehension of the business needs of the company Ability to work with other functional managers of the company Ability to anticipate the future needs of other functional managers of the company Ability to anticipate the future needs of the companys customers Skill in coordinating the IT activities that will support the other functions of the company
APPENDIX II

Protability projections: preliminary evaluation Basic hypothesis: Optimized model Costs: $1 320 000 Recurring gains: $2 400 000 Reengineered model Costs: 1 680 000 Recurring gains: $2 900 000
Implementation costs Optimized model 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 $660 $660 $0 $0 $0 Reengineered model $840 $840 $0 $0 $0 Projected gains Optimized model $600 $1,800 $2,400 $2,400 $2,400 Reengineered model $600 $1,800 $2,900 $2,900 $2,900 Net benets Optimized model -$60 $1,140 $2,400 $2,400 $2,400 Reengineered model -$240 $960 $2,900 $2,900 $2,900

Note: Expressed in thousands of dollars ($,000)

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APPENDIX III THE CANSTAR STEERING COMMITTEE

Steering Committee CANSTAR

V.P. Change Management

V.P. Communication and Reception Center

V.P. Center for Expertise and Insurance Claims

Outside Quebec

Project Manager

Performance Indicators

Finance

Reengineering

Systems

Human Resources

Physical Resources

APPENDIX IV THE NEW CANSTAR PROJECT STRUCTURE

V.P. Change Management

V.P. Communication and Reception Center

V.P. Center for Expertise and Insurance Claims

Project Manager

Reenginee
ring

Systems

H.R.

R.M. &
Finances

Relations 1

Relations 2

Relations 3

Tech. & Exp 1

Tech. & Exp 2

Tech. & Exp 3

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