Initial draft for PhD upgrade document.

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UNIVERSIT
Y OF

OSLO

Faculty of Mathematics and Natural
Sciences




INF5220


Qualitative Research
Methods


Spring 2006

Initial draft for PhD upgrade document.
Preliminary title: “Enquiries into the
ideology of quality m
anagement and
process improvement”



Written by:

Petter Øgland


Version 0.5

June 7th
, 2006


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Table of C
ontents

1

Introduction

................................
................................
................................
.................

3

2

Theory

................................
................................
................................
.........................

5

2.1

Knowledge management

................................
................................
.....................

5

2.2

Process improvement

................................
................................
..........................

5

2.3

Information infrastructures

................................
................................
.................

6

2.4

Problem area

................................
................................
................................
.......

7

2.5

Research questions

................................
................................
..............................

8

2.6

Structure of the upgrade document

................................
................................
.....

8

3

Method

................................
................................
................................
......................

10

3.1

Action research and quality improvement

................................
........................

10

4

Results

................................
................................
................................
.......................

11

4.1

The COBOL programmers at NTAX

................................
...............................

11

4.2

The documentation process as NTAX

................................
..............................

11

4.3

The NTAX management information system

................................
...................

11

4.4

Quality management at DNV
................................
................................
............

11

5

Discussion

................................
................................
................................
.................

12

5.1

Two ways of understanding

................................
................................
..............

12

5.2

Knowledge about the current system

................................
................................

12

5.3

Knowle
dge beyond the current system

................................
.............................

13

6

Conclusion

................................
................................
................................
................

15

References

................................
................................
................................
.........................

17



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1

Introduction

This document has

been written as an
assignment for the course INF5220


“Qualitative
Research Methods”. It was suggested by the lecturer that the assignment should be
written as a first draft for the “PhD upgrade document” that all PhD students are required
to write and
present before starting the second year of PhD studies

(UiO, 2006)
.

By
taking the course in research methods early on in the studies, this should prove useful for
planning case studies and thus preventing problems that might arise due to insufficient
unde
rstanding of research methodology before starting empirical research.


The general idea behind the PhD study is that the traditional way of installing quality
management systems (QMS)

often fails. Usually, quality management systems are
implemented accord
ing to some kind of waterfall model, going through stages of
specification, design, implementation and a final stage of continuous improvement.
Some people (e.g.
Seddon, 1997
; Power, 1997) have argued that the introduction of
quality management systems in

this manner may not only have no impact on quality at
all, but may even make reduce quality of performance.


In the 1990’s there emerged a body of literature on complexity theory (e.g. Complex
Adaptive Systems, CAS), providing a framework for understandin
g economies,
organizations, engineering practices and cognitive processes from a perspective of
biological processes. Dooley (1995; 2000) is one researcher who has tried to link CAS
with total quality management (TQM), and thus implying that quality manag
ement could
in some cases benefit from viewing the QMS as a CAS rather than a traditional system.


A QMS consists of processes, people and technology. When it comes to understanding
and applying the principles of CAS for evolving and maintaining managemen
t
information systems (MIS), there is an evolving theory of Information Infrastructures
(Ciborra et al, 2000).
Information Infrastructures (II) consists partly of seeing the
development and maintenance of the Internet as a prime example of how to evolve a
nd
maintain an MIS in complex and unpredictable environments, and partly of applying a
postmodern epistemology (e.g. Actor
-
Network Theory, ANT) for understanding the
interaction between man and machine without becoming biased towards any of the two.


The p
urpose of the research is to contribute to the body of knowledge
for Information
Infrastructures and Management Information Systems by summarizing aspects of what I
have been
part of
as a Quality Manager at the Norwegian Directorat
e

of Taxes
(NTAX)
2000
-
20
05, and
further investigations at NTAX and elsewhere in the period 2006
-
2008.


Systems thinking can perhaps be seen as a standard way of understanding
quality
management systems (Deming, 1993; xxx). In the next chapter I will try to describe how
I see Inf
ormation Infrastructure as a suitable framework for understanding quality
management systems in certain situations.


Action Research (A
R) was developed in the late fo
rties as a method for researching
organizations and stimulating improvement and change (Le
win, 1946). Checkland
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(1981) argues that AR is the natural way of doing science in a systems thinking context.
Goldstein (1992) argues that organizational change through the application of CAS
should follow the principles of Lewin, although certain chang
es in perception need to be
done, a path that paves the foundations for the roadmap suggested by Dooley et al (2000)
,
and thus the research method I’ve chosen to describe in chapter three.


As the thesis is based on a series of papers, the intent of chapte
r four is to present the
insights gained through each of these papers. So far there is only one paper to present, a
study on the process improvement of making COBOL programmers work in a more
homogenous manner in order to reduce the risk of software becom
ing too personalized.


In chapter five there is a short discussion of the results, showing how they seem to add to
the theory of Information Infrastructures and Management Information Systems. The
preliminary conclusions of the thesis so far, and some ide
as on where I want to travel
with my next few papers, is presented in the final chapter.


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2

Theory

As a part of the PhD curriculum, I plan to take courses in qualitative methods (INF5220),
knowledge management (INF5190), process and product improvement (INF
5180) and
information infrastructures (INF5210). So far I’ve almost completed the course on
knowledge management, and this draft version of the upgrade document is written to
fulfill the requirements of the qualitative research course.


This means that I
do not yet have all the theoretical understanding for describing related
research. In fact, one of the major problems since I got introduced to the IS community
in September 2005 and participated on the 9
th

PhD Days Workshop in
September/October has been
to define the problems I want to research in a manner that
will make both to me personally (wanting
to use the PhD to lead to new jobs and
possibilities in quality management), the requirements of the Norwegian Tax
Administration in addressing practical pr
oblems relevant for their current status, and to fit
with the philosophy of the IS group at the Institute of Informatics at the University of
Oslo.


A possible way of structuring the theory section is by summarizing relevant aspects of the
courses I’ve tak
en or plan to take, thus putting Knowledge Management (KM), Process
and product improvement (SPI) and information infrastructures (II) in context with the
problem of designing Management Information Systems.

2.1

Knowledge management

In the reports I made for t
he INF5190 course, I tried to understand the KM concepts from
the perspective of TQM, and thus focusing on explicit knowledge rather than on the tacit
knowledge which was what the course mainly focused on. When addressing the theory
in the context of the
upgrade document, perhaps it would be better to discuss the ideas
with a more clear relevance to the problem of designing Management Information
Systems.

2.2

Process improvement

Although I haven’t taken this course yet, I’ve gone through some of the lectures a
nd read
some of the course literature. Much of it relates to quality management
. It uses CMMI as
a framework for discussing processes improvement, and it seems to place CMMI in the
context of scientific management and total quality management. In other w
ords, this is
the course that corresponds more or less directly to my current way of thinking, and it
uses the same models and methods that I would use for improving processes.


I
t could be interesting to try to contribute something to the theory being dis
cussed here,
but
the way of designing waterfall projects for installing process improvement systems
etc is not the way I prefer to work and neither is it a way I believe is a particularly good
way of working with these issues. Current experience from how
DNV is trying to aid
NTAX in getting certified to the ISO 9001:2000 standard, and my experience with the
Wipro CMM assessment, tells me that the traditional top
-
down way of installing a quality
management system through the use of some great project is not

the best way of doing it.

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It may perhaps be a good way of getting the infrastructure for running the quality
management system, but it doesn’t take into account that it is difficult to know how to
design quality indicators and know what to measure.


My i
mpression is that a much better way of installing quality management systems would
be by growing them through the practice of an evolutionary or what Hanseth describes as
Information Infrastructures (II).


In this section, I might also say something on sys
tems thinking (Checkland, 1981).

2.3

Information infrastructures

This is another course I haven’t taken yet, but as I’ve read some of the literature that is
used, I feel I may be able to
present my current impression of what the theory is all about.
In fact,
some of the most insightful comments I’ve read on II are the review comments
Hanseth and Lyttainen received when trying to have his latest II article published in ISR.


A recent external investigation of the IT function of NTAX concluded that NTAX could
be

interpreted as a Machine Bureaucracy developing in the direction of an Administrative
Adhocracy (Mintzberg, 1983; Statskonsult, 2002). When standardized and repetitive
routines of the tax administration is taken over by computers, the computer department

automatically grows in power, regardless of how power may have been defined according
to the organizational charts.


From a quality management point of view, this is interesting in two aspects. Firstly, the
power relationships defined on the organization
al charts may not be the best way to
understand the operational QMS. Secondly, the IT strategy and the methods of further
computerizing the Machine Bureaucracy could have a major strategic importance for how
the QMS is maintained and improved.


As quality

management normally works within the paradigm of viewing the organization
as a cybernetical system to be optimized (Morgan, 1997: chapter 3), the Administrative
Adhocracy produces a challenge in terms of a paradigm of complexity, flow and growth
(ibid: ch
apter 8). Some writers (e.g. Kelly, 1994: 196) have pointed out that the Japanese
quality management practices (for the IT function) follows this new paradigm (see also:
Liker, 2004; Womack & Jones, 2003).


One of the core ideas in complexity theory as ap
plied to management problems, is to let
go of central planning and control, but rather distribute the system into weakly tied units
and let this loosely connected system steer itself bottom
-
up (e.g. Kelly, 1994: 468
-
469).


However, in order to let loose on

the overall control, more control much be put into each
separate unit. Kelly (ibid: 469) describes this as the “Fourth Law of God”, stating that
“the only way to make a complex system work is to begin with a simple system that
works; […an ecology] is cre
ated from assembling it incrementally from simple modules
that can operate independently.”

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If we regard the QMS as a Complex Adaptive System (CAS) (Battram, 1996), the Fourth
Law could be interpreted as controlling and improving the complete QMS by making

sure each weakly tied unit follows a
strictly deterministic logic

like, say, a computer
program. According to the CAS theory, this would constitute a robust strategy for
making the organization “automatically” grow, long
-
term, in the direction of
“organi
zational excellence” (Oakland, 2001).


Without explicitly referring to the theory of CAS, it is my impression that similar ideas
are prevalent in the information systems research environment at UiO. It has, for
instance, been suggested (Hanseth, 2005) tha
t insights from current research on
broadband deployment and development of communication standards (research that
reveal CAS
-
like structures and strategies), should be used for implementing information
systems in health
-
care organizations.


At the moment
there seems to be much interest in applying complexity theory into the
area of organization and management research (Stacey et al, 2000; Urry, 2003), including
the problems of quality management (Dooley et al, 1995). The idea of seeing the quality
manager

as an actor (component) within a CAS seems to be implicit in some of this
research (e.g. Dooley, 2002), but investigations of the role of the quality manager as a
leverage node of the system (and what the programmable logic of this node might be)
appears
to be unexplored territory.

2.4

Problem area

In most guidelines we’ve found on installing quality management systems, there is a
strong focus on top management commitment. Often when TQM and BPR projects fail,
it is common to complain about lack of top manage
ment commitment. However, there
are many issues top management have to focus on, and in many cases it may not be
expected that they are able to be fully committed to the implementation and continuous
improvement of the organizations quality management sys
tem.


Information systems development (ISD) involves risk, and failures remain common
despite advances in development tools and technologies. While the Norwegian Tax
Authorities (NTAX) have generally received positive publicity with respect to their
effor
ts on improving public services, there is a high level of complexity in running
software development projects and maintaining software solutions. There is a high level
of interaction between departments within NTAX and a low tolerance for error. The
orga
nization is constantly being monitored by the Department of Finance (FIN) and the
Auditors General (AG).


As strategy for preventing problems, NTAX use various quality assurance methods, such
as developing and improving technical schemes and management met
hods, certifying
personnel to international standards, and participating in networks for sharing best
practices.


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The current quality assurance approach is developed as a set of policies, strategies and
standards, defined as a part of the information secur
ity management system (NTAX,
1996), and to be used as a part of the general NTAX management system. The Quality
Management System (QMS) was operationally implemented five years later by
appointing a Quality Manager for coordinating the Quality Function (Q
uality
Management Organization) (NTAX, 2001).


There are many challenges in managing the Quality Function, and from the point of view
of NTAX, it is important to understand how to organize and utilize quality management
in a manner that both generates effi
cient quality improvement and fits with corporate
culture (NTAX, 1997; DNV, 2005).

2.5

Research questions

The aim of the research is to gain insights on the following question:


How does one handle the lifecycle of quality management systems given the
scenario

that there is little or no top management commitment?


We want to research this main question by breaking it down into several subquestions
related to the Information Systems framework we use for analysis.

2.6

Structure of the upgrade document

This is what th
e PhD Manual (UiO, 2006) says about the upgrade document:


By the end of the first year, the student shall develop and present a ‘1
st

year report’ that will make their
research visible to the group and assure that they are, or alternatively provide apt sup
port to make
them, on course to successfully complete their PhD. The content of the 1
st

year report should include
the following (8000
-
12.000 words in total):




Thesis title



Introduction


Problem Area Description, and Research questions



The significance o
f the issue to be discussed by the proposed research, and why further
research on the issue is required.



How the research issue related to/draws upon existing research and is discussed in the
relevant literature


which should be critically reviewed.



The t
heoretical approach/framework being followed and how this compares with possible
alternative approaches.



Any preliminary fieldwork that has been carried out or previous work done by the student
with is being drawn upon.



Research design and methodology to b
e employed, as well as a justification for this approach.



Intended plan for fieldwork, if relevant, including arrangements for access.



Anticipated outcomes of the proposed research.


As I got my PhD proposal accepted on the 9
th

of March 2006, it feels a bi
t early
presenting an upgrade document, as I have not yet a full overview of related research and
I do not even have a full understanding of the research question I’m trying to answer.


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When I wrote the initial PhD proposal, I had only a superficial unders
tanding of the
culture and ideas of the information systems group at the Institute of Informatics at the
University of Oslo. My ambition for doing a PhD in quality management has been that
of having a background in industrial mathematics from 1991 and wor
king in the field of
quality control and industrial engineering for 15 years.


When working with quality control and process improvement, the mode of working is
similar to that of doing action research. However, unlike the tradition of information
systems

(IS), my approach has not been qualitative. It has been a mixture of qualitative
and quantitative methods, with a focus on applying quantitative methods due to the belief
of “what gets measured gets done”.


However, as I gradually get to know the IS comm
unity, I get the impression that the kind
of problems that I need to address in order to be a part of this community are the socio
-
technical problems that may have implications for design of information systems, or in
my case Management Information Systems

(MIS).


Consequently, in this first attempt to write an upgrade document, I will try to refocus my
research problem from problems related to the role of the quality manager of large public
organizations to the problems of designing and continually redesig
ning Management
Information Systems in compliance with the requirements and guideless of the ISO 9000
series and additional international, regional and de factor standards such as EFQM,
CMMI, TickIT, ITIL and CobiT.


Designing quality management systems is

a non
-
trivial task. My own experience with
the ISO 9001:2000 has showed me that things are not as simple as they seem. There is
also international research showing how and why TQM, Six Sigma and other types of
quality management programs tend to fail.
What we are looking for is robust design. It
doesn’t matter if it should take a bit of time to implement the quality management
system, as long as it gets gradually implemented in compliance with the philosophy of
Deming and general “best practice” philos
ophy of doing quality management.








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3

Method

In terms of methods, I should try to frame what I’m doing as action research. Perhaps I
could even write a paper on this…


As this document is also a part of the research methodology, it should be possible
to
discuss how to apply action research (AR) within the framework of updating this
document. In fact, although the update document is primarily meant as a document for
controlling the first year of output from the research, the upgrade document should be
updated and presented also for the second year, and it should evolve into the “kappa” for
the thesis of the third year.

3.1

Action research and quality improvement

The basis for creating quality improvement by applying the system of ISO 9000



The method will
focus on building a general QMS model based on the CAS point of
view. The model should be sufficiently abstract to fit various organizations, but also
sufficiently detailed to be used for predicting performance (on a simple level) of a
concrete Quality Fu
nction, such as the NTAX Quality Function, and also other
organizations if possible.


For building such a model, literature on organizations, management and complexity need
to be done, emphasizing the dynamics of an organization from a Machine Bureaucracy
to
an Administrative Adhocracy.


Data collection will focus on interviewing and assessing the quality manager and key
personnel within his circle of influence. The assessments will be structured according to
various quality management standards, and will
be based on available documentation.
Interviews will be done partly to validate the assessments and partly as interpretive
investigations in order to understand how the world
-
view of the quality manager is
compliant with the conditions of the CAS model.
If there seems to be a reasonable level
of consistence, then the method will focus on how to use CAS as a language for
discussing management issues.


A typical way of doing assessments of the quality manager could be to ask the questions
in ISO 9004 (ISO,
2000c: Appendix A) and categorize the results according to the ISO
9004 maturity scale from 1 to 5. The parts of the CMM / ISO 15504 and CobiT
assessments standards that relate to quality management could be used in a consistent
manner.


In general the re
search will follow the conventions of Management Research (Easterby
-
Smith et al, 2002; Collis & Hussey, 2003), including aspects of Action Research when
needed, although further details have to be discussed with each of the quality managers
that are to be
used as research subjects in the investigation.



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4

Results

We start by giving a short description of NTAX from the organizational perspective, in
order to identify two major substructures we call the professional bureaucracy and the
machine bureaucracy, an
d thus motivating a more narrow inspection of the software
lifecycle models that are within the machine bureaucracy although bordering on the
professional bureaucracy.

4.1

The COBOL programmers at NTAX

I’ve written on IRIS article on the COBOL programmers, but

it’s a problematic paper
because, even though the empirical data may be interesting, the paper is not clear on what
research questions it is trying to solve. As I write this upgrade document, I feel that I
should try to redesign the COBOL paper, as I sti
ll have time, in order to focus more on
the question of how to design Management Information Systems.

4.2

The documentation process as NTAX

The documentation process is another part of the Management Information System.
Although
I plan to focus on technicians
, the methods I apply could be used for the
documentation as a whole, as I did when I worked as quality manager. Perhaps one of
the design problems could relate to the fact that the people got irritated by having to
follow the standards they had made them
selves.

4.3

The NTAX management information system

After these two single cases, it could be interesting to talk to Barbakken in order to try to
understand the NTAX management information system from the perspective of top
management.

4.4

Quality management at DNV

In order to get supplementary insights, it could be interesting to interview the people at
DNV in order to understand how they designed their QMS and how they are continuously
redesigning the system.







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5

Discussion

We would now like to discuss the resu
lts from the case analysis through the perspectives
and theoretical framework presented in chapter two.

We chose to structure the discussion
by first returning to the perspective of the two cultures and types of knowledge, then
discuss the case with respe
ct to the first type of knowledge (knowledge about the system)
and finally discuss the case from the perspective of the second type of knowledge
(knowledge that challenges the current system).

5.1

Two ways of understanding

In this chapter we want to return to
the idea about two epistemologies corresponding to
the two cultural traditions of literary critique and natural sci
ence. As mentioned in
chapter two
, we see the idea behind literary critique and storytelling in general to be an
aid for discussing meaning
and direction, while the idea behind natural science being that
of finding out what is true or not when the direction of research (“paradigm”) is given.


While the distinction between the type of knowledge to be found within the traditions of
literary crit
ique and natural science may to a certain extent correspond to Nonaka’s
distinction between tacit and explicit knowledge, as also pointed out by Kuhn (1962: 44),
but we feel that the distinction between science and meta
-
science is missed in Nonaka’s
argume
nt. On the contrary, what seems to us to be a natural way of reading Nonaka is to
think of tacit and explic
i
t knowledge as
two ways of representing same level knowledge,
like the practice on riding a bike and a manual on how to ride a bike. The way the
c
oncepts are used by Kuhn would, it seems to us, be more like the science of riding a bike
on one hand and the sociology (or history) of scientists studying how to ride a bike on the
other hand.


From out point of view, this distinction between science and
the sociology of scientists
seems to have an interesting parallel in production improvement and customer research.
In public organizations, such as the Norwegian tax administration, the word “customer”
may perhaps not be the most natural way of describing

the tax payer, but in the
terminology of ISO 9000:2000, the receiver of products (or services) from any process is
named the “customer of the process”.


However, before we comment on the analysis of NTAX by applying ANT to the
“customers of the processes”

for challenging the way things are presently being done, we
start by commenting on the “normal science” of the system as it is.

5.2

Knowledge about the current system

As we noticed from the section on knowledge management and total quality
management, viewing

knowledge management as a “normal science” (Kuhn, 1962)
seem
to give clear operational definitions for distinguishing between data, information and
kno
wledge. To make the argument more explicit:


Data, in the software lifecycle model, would correspond to

any sort of fact or information
being recorded by the ISO 9000 quality management system. Information would be data
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that can be attributed to some specific statistical distribution, describing the process.
Knowledge would be the statistical distribution

in itself (Øgland et al, 2006).


In other words, as long as we work within the area of explicit knowledge, and apply the
standard epistemology of quality management (Deming, 1992; Lewis, 1929), then the
concepts of data, information and knowledge are all
possible to define in an operational
manner, using the SPC chart as a way of illustrating the principles.


As all knowledge can be codified as statistical distributions, all the knowledge
management processes can be handled as information management proces
ses (Weaver &
Shannon, 1949), and all other KM concepts seem to fit into the framework of viewing the
organization as a machine. The language of systems thinking and artificial intelligence
seems to be a natural way for describing, analysing and improving

the organization.


We will also argue that this
could
perhaps
be
the best way of approaching knowledge
management in the public sector, as public sector organizations are supposed to be a part
of the national and international infrastructure, and thus to
function predictably as a
machine.

Even though Nonaka and Tageuchi (1995) point out that Cartesian dualism is
less apparent in oriental philosophical traditions,
Cartesian dualism being the basis for
modernity and scientific thinking,
this does not seem t
o indicate that the way of the
machine bureaucracy would be a less natural way
for the Japanese
. On the contrary, as
has been pointed out by Tsutsui (1998), some of the keys for understanding Japanese
management seems to be work in better harmony with th
e ideas of Taylor and Ford th
an
what has been the case in Europe and the US.


What seems to make a difference, though, is the issue of consumer research.
Understanding consumers from the perspective of designing, producing and marketing
requires sociologi
cal, anthropolical and psychological knowledge, depending on the type
of product and the type of consumer. Although mass production

for mass audiences does
not necessarily require as much sociological or anthrological insight as more specialized
products
or specialized consumer groups would require, the type of knowledge is
different. In the case of process improvement of the software lifecycles at NTAX, we
have looked at the people responsible for the software lifecycles from the perspective of
ANT, in o
rder to see whether this will create knowledge on how to improve the process
improvement strategies.

5.3

Knowledge beyond the current system

When Kuhn talks about scientific revolutions, he talks

about collecting knowledge that

indicate problems with the curre
nt way of thinking or knowledge saying that there may
be a better way of thinking and solving problems, i.e. knowledge about different
paradigms of doing science.


In out NTAX analysis, we tried using ANT as a lens for understanding for this purpose,
focus
ing on the ideas from ANT about inscriptions and translations. Among the various
methods applied by NTAX management in order to control the behavior of the people
working within the software life cycle system, we identified the metrics and statistics as
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i
mportant elements of the socio
-
technical infrastructure.

Furthermore, through the
ANT
concept of translation we suggested a need for changing the culture into a culture more
based on scientific thinking and less based on “rules of the thumb”.


If we regar
d this in the context of the two cultures discussed in section 2.1, we notice that
this corresponds to attempting to change the current paradigm of the organization, or, in
other words, to stimulate double loop learning by challenging the mindless way of
w
orking by applying a more scientific way of working.


In the context of section 2.5, were we mentioned the importance of considering the
culture at large, by reducing communication barriers based on differences in cultural
perceptions, we believe that an o
rganization can enhance knowledge transfer and improve
its own knowledge management system.


By focusing more on metrics and statistical methods, we believe that NTAX can facilitate
the transfer of tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge in its infrastructur
e, thus getting on
step closer to achieving its objectives.



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6

Conclusion

Among the findings, after written several papers for journals and articles, I hope to have
made some contributions on the psychology and sociology on how to improve processes
in larg
e organizations, partly based on my own experience as quality manager at the
Norwegian Directorate of Taxes and partly based on an understanding on the community
of quality managers at large.


What I expect to find, is that most quality managers in large o
rganizations are
incompetent in terms of not understanding even the basic ideas of quality management as
developed by Shewhart, Deming, Juran etc. to be imbedded in the ISO 9000 standards.
In particular, I expect to find that the people responsible for qu
ality management only
have a marginal understanding of statistical process control (SPC)
, if any understanding
at all,

and
that such methods are hardly ever used at all.


If I should find an organi
zation where the quality management people actually seem

to

know anything about quality management, I do not expect
them
to be applying the
process improvement methods upon
their
own processes. In other words, I do not expect
to find anybody with a proper understanding of quality management.


Why do I expect thes
e findings? What would be the conclusion based on such findings?

What kind of story am I trying to tell?


What attracts me very much if Ole Hanseth’s ideas on information infrastructures. These
ideas seem to correlate nicely with Kevin Dooley’s ideas on

quality management systems
from the perspective of complex adaptive systems (CAS).


Although it is important to convince academia that I contribute something new to the
theory of designing quality management systems (management information systems),
what
is most important from a personal point of view is to spend time on convincing
myself on developing a proper philosophy of process improvement that can be used both
personally and on groups.


The lackmus test of the research would be if I could apply the p
rocess improvement on
myself in the process of doing the PhD research, and also if I could apply it on the IS
group, and then finally if I could apply it on NTAX or parts of NTAX. In the case of
NTAX, however, I consider the culture of the organization to

be too politically charged to
really be able to contribute anything at all.


When I was in the position of being quality manager, I put an enormous lot of time and
effort into improving processes by use of measurements, and the methods worked quite
well.

However, rather than getting any credit for my work, I got reorganized. It is a
community of idiots, and if it were not for NTAX sponsoring my PhD research, I would
not have anything to do with those people.


However, I have to think of the positive aspe
cts of process improvement.

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