Research Group on Information Systems

The research of this group draws from socio-technical principles of design and use of information systems and technology (IST). 

Key areas of research of this group are: 

  1. Strategic imperatives from IST such as innovation, sourcing, supply chains, inter-organizational relationships/processes
  2. Cognitive, emotional and well-being aspects associated with the design and use of IST such as gamification and stress
  3. Reach/richness-enabled impacts of IST such as online privacy and social influence
  4. IST capabilities and business practices during implementation and use.
  5. International/global and developmental aspects of IST
  6. Sustainability and IST
  7. Industry sectors such as small business enterprises (SME’s) and healthcare
  8. Project Management of ERP implementations
  9. Investigation of the social and technical complexity that is inherent to large multi-vendor ERP programmes

All of these areas draw from various social and technical theoretical perspectives in order to inform researchers and practitioners. Much of the work includes an international focus. The levels of analysis include individual, group and organisational. Specific topics and projects for individual faculty members are listed below.

There is a strong inter-disciplinary focus to this group’s work. Within the department of Management Science, there are links with operations and supply chain management (through the study of intra- and inter- organizational co-ordination and networks), Systems/Soft OR (through problem structuring and methodology, and action research), and to the Health Systems Research group (through a focus on healthcare information systems). Within the Management School, the group has complementary and teaching research interests with the Department of Organisation, Work and Technology. Within the University, there are links with the School of Computing and Communications and the School of Design, through the inter-disciplinary ESRC funded HighWire Doctoral Training Centre, which includes PhD supervision and Centre Co-directorships. The group also has links through its international work, especially the EU programmes, with the Lancaster Centre for Management in China.

Members of the group are actively involved in editorial roles in the leading information systems journals. 

Academic Staff and Current Research Projects

Professor David Brown, in association with Nigel Lockett, have recently completed an investigation into the engagement of SMEs in E-Business, with reference to aggregation and intermediaries. The project was sponsored in-part, by Hewlett-Packard and SAP (UK) and this work continues with international comparisons. In the field of strategy formulation David Brown is near to completing ESRC-funded research on the how large UK plcs (primary limited companies) formulate their IT strategies from a processual perspective. They also hold a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) grant, which uses SSM to inform the development of an implementation methodology for e-business and customer relationship management (CRM) systems in the mail order sector and are currently developing a European collaborative research project investigating the use of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems by SMEs with the University of Applied Sciences, Basel, Switzerland.  Funded by the EU’s Asia IT&C Programme, David Brown, in collaboration with Copenhagen Business school, is exploring through two grants the strategic use of IT in technical and vocational education in Laos, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. The IST educational theme has been extended in a new £220,000 grant under the EU’s Asia-Link Programme for institutional development in China and Laos in the area of E-Business and Innovation. The partner is Stockholm Business School. This international study will link directly into the E-Business agenda. In strategy formulation a research programme by David Brown on strategic practice on China’s enterprises is nearing completion and this has informed the processual perspective in other studies.

Dr Paul Dunning-Lewis is currently working on the GOLD project, which is a £2.2m EPSRC funded e-Science Pilot Project in collaboration with the departments of Computing and of Chemical Engineering at Newcastle University. The focus is exploring how new very high speed GRID computing technologies may be adopted for commercial uses, by using them to enable highly adaptable, quick to market manufacturing.

Professor Juliana Sutanto focuses on artefact design and behavioural analysis in digital communications and interactions. Notwithstanding the promise that an IT artefact holds, the value of the IT artefact depends on how human beings interact either with it or via it. Her research has mainly focused on how user interactions with IT artefacts can capture additional business value. While maintaining this research direction, she is also expanding her research focus to consider how digital user interactions and communications lead to societal benefits, such as environmental sustainability impacts. More recently, we have witnessed how the advancement in networked interactions creates increased participation and transparency, leading to rich information environment. Phenomena such as privacy, attention allocation, users-generated content, online social production/collective intelligence, and online social influence are her research interests. Potential research topics include cross-cultural analysis of mobile commerce, pushing the boundary of online information privacy, towards environmentally friendly consumers, understanding the dynamics of online social influence and its impact on offline actions.

Professor Monideepa Tarafdar researches on several topics within the broad ambit of how information systems impact individuals and organizations. She is examining health and well-being impacts from use of IT such as technostress, addiction and role impacts. She is applying and extending social/organizational approaches such as role, dependency and stress theories to explain these impacts. She is looking at how information systems professionals can contribute to IT-enabled product and process innovation. She has interests in understanding networked/supply chain configurations in informal, emergent, transient or otherwise non-mainstream contexts. She is examining the developmental implications of mass based IT such as mobile phones and internet kiosks in populations severed from the mainstream such as those that live in rural areas or at the margins of financial ability, in under-developed societies.  She also researches on topics of digital health such as operational and financial impacts of electronic health records development. The contexts in which she has worked/is working include healthcare delivery environments, boundary spanning roles, manufacturing and excluded communities. Methodological approaches include positivist and interpretive, and data analysis techniques used include statistical/survey and qualitative.

Her PhD topic area interests include: IT and product and process innovation, Healthcare Information Systems, Digital Health, IT in supply chain management, IT use and, technostress, overload, addiction, well-being.

Dr Richard Alun Williams has extensive experience in project managing ERP implementations, following his previous career with Oracle Consulting. His research interests are varied, but ultimately based on these experiences from industry, with specific focus into: project management of ERP implementations, in particular within the public sector; investigation of the social and technical complexity related to ERP implementations; computational modelling and simulation of the social, spatial and temporal dynamics that emerge during large multi-vendor ERP implementations – this final research theme is part of the well established area called Artificial Life. He has recently completed an ESRC-funded project into the propagation of emotions within the social networks that develop during the implementation phases of large ERP programmes.

Research Opportunities

The group has a strong PhD programme related to the strands outlined above. We welcome PhD and post-doctoral students in these areas. We are also open to other areas of research that fit our theoretical or methodological strengths - which include a broad range of qualitative and quantitative work. If you are interested in a topic not listed above you should write a brief description of the topic and why it may be of interest to a potential supervisor, sending it to the group’s coordinator, listed at the bottom of this page.

Current PhD studies/topics:

Liu Liu : Design Strategies for Intrinsic Gamification in a Learning Difficulty Context.
Supervisors: Professor Monideepa Tarafdar and Dr. Nikos Kourentzes

Aline Fernandes : The role of Information Technology in configuring and managing transient supply networks.
Supervisors: Professor Martin Spring and Professor Monideepa Tarafdar

Jeff Stich : Well-Being and Virtual Interactions at Work.
Supervisors: Dr. Patrick Stacey and Professor Monideepa Tarafdar

Ruis Ramos : ICT and the Formalization of Informal Work.
Supervisors: Dr. Niall Hayes and Professor Monideepa Tarafdar

Rebecca Taylor : Designing Spaces for Critical Design.
Supervisors: Dr. Jen Southern and Professor Monideepa Tarafdar

For informal enquiries please contact: Professor Monideepa Tarafdar (m.tarafdar@lancaster.ac.uk or +44 (0) 1524 594364) or Ms. Gay Bentinck (g.bentinck@lancaster.ac.uk or +44 (0) 1524 592408).