Time and information technology: Monochronicity, polychronicity and temporal symmetry

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This paper investigates how information technology affects temporal aspects of organizational work beyond speeding up business processes. It has developed the dimensions of temporality of business processes andapplied them to describe and analyse temporal changes of export-related work in trading companies usingEDI. In the departments studied, information technology transformed temporal profiles of work and alsocreated a temporal symmetry between work groups interacting with each other. This result is compared witha previous study (Barley, 1988. In Making Time, Temple University Press). This temporal transformation ofwork by information technology has rarely been explored in information systems research as well as organizational studies. At this stage of research, it is difficult to decide which temporality, monochronicity orpolychronicity, information technology facilitates, or whether information technology will always createtemporal symmetry. More research on the relationship between time and information technology is required.Whatever temporal consequences of information technology are supported by future research, it is believedthat this temporal consideration has value in information systems development and implementation. Bytaking into account polychronicity, monochronicity and temporal symmetry, we will be able to developinformation systems which better fit users' temporal behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-26
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Information Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Mar

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


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