This page was originally set up to act as temporary placeholder while I changed from one job to another; consequently, most of the information is about research carried out while I was a member of the Management Information Systems Group at the University of York. I will update this page to include the things I am doing now at some point, but for the moment, please interpret terms like " current" and " previous" rather loosely.
A list of my publications (books, journals, conference papers, reports, etc) can be found on my publications page.
At the highest level, my research area is Information Systems / Information Management. My broad approach is socio-technical in the sense that I am interested in how best to 'manage' the fit between technology and the social world. My particular area of interest is the relationship between 'soft' social structures (as an emergent property of social organizations) and the 'hard' reified structures such as those found in information systems. This interest expresses itself both at the micro level (in the relationship between teams / communities and their environment) and at the macro level (in the problems associated with cross-cultural / trans-national distributed working).
During this time, my main concern was with the way in which information systems were used within organizations. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, I examined the relationship between Information Systems and the role of managers through a series of in-depth, semi-structured, interviews with managers. The idea here was to examine validity of the hypothesis that Information Technology de-skills managers against the hypothesis that it leads to the development of new skills.
I later began to develop an interest in the newly emerging field of Knowledge Management and how this could be applied to the problems that arose as organizations became ever more complex and diverse. My interest in this area was stimulated by my earlier work, which had shown how the information provided by Information Systems could shape the way in which the wider organization was seen. During this time, I also worked on Virtual Environments as a framework for sharing knowledge and began exploring the connections between Knowledge Management and Communities of Practice.
Most of my current work remains focused on Communities of Practice and the generation and maintenance of knowledge. I am interested in how technology can support collaborative forms of work such as Communities of Practice when they become more internationalized and geographically distributed. I have a particular interest in the problems associated with cross-cultural/trans-national teams and groupwork. I have also retained my interest in the link between information systems and organizations with the work on the development and management of software-intensive systems.
Although I am not a specialist in the area of formal methods of knowledge representation, I do have an interest in technologically driven forms of Knowledge Management, e.g. ontologies as flexible structures for representing semantics in group or organizational memory systems. Most of the work in this area has been done in collaboration with the Artificial Intelligence Group and with HISE.
I have an interest in the facilitation of virtual groups: both in sense of their 'cultivation' and in the sense of technological support for distributed working. Here I have a particular interest in ways that technology can increase connectedness in distributed forms of working such as highly interactive and closely coupled teams or Communities and more loosely coupled asynchronous communities such as those found in online learning.
The areas I am concerned with here are the problems of dealing with the complexity of large organizations, for example, in the provision of complex software-intensive systems that involve working across several disciplines. Techniques such as social network analysis offer one avenue for dealing with the dense web of social relationships that exist in such settings.