The purpose of this paper is to distill the primary lessons regarding IT systems change that Painter is trying to convey in his paper, determine how one would evaluate those lessons in terms of their correctness and usability, and to discuss any other lessons not part of his conclusions that have been learned by the writer and which he holds the hope of putting into practice in his or her future IT career. In other words, the purpose is to discuss what Bert Painter does and does not tell us regarding information systems technology change.
Painter discusses his experience aiding an insurance company's paper-based system into one that was electronic and was known as E-File. The new process allowed the company to integrate their data and automate their workflow, as well as significantly redesign jobs to be more efficient in the overall process. Painter directly states what he hoped to achieve through sharing the results of this case study (Painter, 2008).
According to Painter in the case study, "A socio-technical approach to organization design can mitigate potentially negative effects of information technology, while maximizing positive potentials to up-skill jobs, and yield an outcome, such as with E-File, where over 90% of the highly skilled employees surveyed in this white-collar organization regard the new system as a substantially positive change" (Painter, 2008, pg. 1).
Throughout his consultation process, Painter relied on surveys that had been developed in key areas. These included effects on work processes, effects on job aspects, the user-friendliness of software and hardware, and competence and knowledge. He likely shared details of these sections as he felt they were very important aspects of socio-technical design. In fact, he probably thought that the information gathered through this information carried the primary lessons that he wished to convey to his audience (Painter, 2008).
Evaluating the Lessons and Looking at Other Lessons
As far as evaluating the lessons that were presented in this case study in terms of correctness and usability, they all seem to be quite useful when perhaps broken down and applied to general management concepts that anybody could use. The reason they seemed rather limited in scope in this particular case was likely because this was, after all, a case study and, therefore, it focused on one company's specific application of the lessons at hand (Painter, 2008).
The general definitions of socio-technical design that are given in the introduction and the conclusion of this paper contain more generalized concepts, which is what one misses when reading Painter's case study. For example, the direct participation that was given in the case study was in the form of interviews and surveys. It could be given in other ways as well, such as through meetings where everyone in the company is made to feel important. The system of socio-technical design was definitely present in the case study and is likely to be very similar for various different firms that are looking to undergo this process. One serious fault that could occur when designing or implementing this process is to not take into account just how serious the opinions and feedback of the end users are. If a