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Why did they do that? Variability in routine transactions

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to provide a frank reflection on the authors' journey in applying social theory to understand the routine use of a transaction-processing system in a rich field context. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Inspired by a perplexing initial observation, the program of research moved quickly from one of more traditional positivist methods (experiments and surveys) to case study research. The case study involved observation and comparative analysis of the routine use of a reservation system across a large franchised accommodation chain. Findings ‐ As a reflective essay, the key findings relate to the research process itself. The essence of the findings is that applying social theory is itself a social process. Originality/value ‐ The paper finds that insight can come from understanding the routine use of IT as a social artefact, not just from studying crises or latest innovations.
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Keywords: Research methods; Social theories

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 27, 2009

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