Seminar with Lars Mathiassen on Politics during Business Process Transformation: A Metatriangulation Analysis
Politics during Business Process Transformation: A Metatriangulation Analysis
Professor Lars Mathiassen
Georgia State University, USA
Numerous approaches to Business Process Transformation (BPT) have played an important role in Information Systems (IS) research and practice for more than 20 years. Although extant theory acknowledges the political nature of BPT initiatives, researchers have yet to empirically investigate and theorize about how organizational politics impacts BPT behaviors and outcomes. Against this backdrop, we apply metatriangulation to analyze and synthesize rich data from a BPT project in four business units within the high-tech firm Terma. First, we draw on four distinct perspectives on organizational politics—pluralist, rationalist, interpretive, and radical—to develop a comprehensive account of BPT implementation politics within each of Terma’s business units. These accounts capture four distinct patterns of BPT politics: applying-the-hammer, struggling-to-engage, walking-the-talk, and keeping-up-appearances. Next, we combine the empirical findings with extant literature to offer a theoretical model for analysis and description of BPT implementation politics. Our model presents constructs and metaconjectures for how political practices are shaped within a particular BPT implementation context through a process of change recipient responses and change agent counterresponses depending upon and impacting stakeholder interest alignment and organizational goal attainment. As an additional contribution, our research is the first within the IS field to apply metatriangulation to theory building based on empirical data.