CEC Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Gertrude Abramson

Committee Member

Helen St. Aubin

Committee Member

David T Mylott

Abstract

Virtual work environments (VWEs) have been used in the private sector for more than a decade, but the United States Marine Corps (USMC), as a whole, has not yet taken advantage of associated benefits. The USMC construct parallels the bureaucratic organizational culture and uses an antiquated information technology (IT) infrastructure. During an effort to upgrade the Marine Corps Combat Development Command's infrastructure to a VWE, the change-agent noticed an immediate resistance towards the VWE and new work methodology. The problem identified for investigation was to discover why a bureaucratic organizational culture, matured through IT savvy and cognitively adept personnel, resists the VWE and new work methodology introduced by the evolution of IT. The explanatory, single case study documented the resistance towards the VWE and new work methodology and recommended a solution to the problem.

Due to a noticeable resistance geared towards the adoption of the VWE, the case study and pre-trial preparation began in Fall, 2009 and the data-collection period occurred in the Spring of 2010. The preparation phase entailed developing extensive instruments that burrowed into the participants' technical expertise and willingness to accept change on an individual level. The instruments were validated by an expert panel from the following disciplines: knowledge management, information technology, and psychology, as part of the groundwork. Analysis of the data showed resistance towards the VWE, both collectively as a group and on the individual level. The final report articulates that the data proves the study successfully accomplished the goal.

Resistance was found at the user level in the work environment. It stemmed from several key areas: lack of user input, lack of training, user ignorance, and absence of a vision statement. Leadership should review the implementation methodology and decide upon a new course of action. Training in the use of the VWE at entry and advanced levels should be offered to newcomers and be available on a continuous basis. Future change agents must examine the outcomes of similar, previous work in order to gain a better understanding of what makes an initiative fail or succeed.

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