Our Recent Research Degree Graduates
Understanding the effectiveness of cross-cultural video-mediated communication
In this globalising world, people are increasingly using advanced communication technologies such as videoconferencing to collaborate across geographical boundaries and time zones. This is a challenging task because cultural values, attitudes, and behaviors influence how a given group of people perceives, understands, interprets, and communicates information and knowledge. This study explores how cultural differences of participants, among other factors, affect their perceptions for the effectiveness of cross-cultural communication that occurs during videoconferences. The study identifies factors that influence the effectiveness of cross-cultural video-mediated communication. Knowing these factors will help practitioners to: 1) make efficient use of resources while designing and facilitating videoconferences; and 2) incorporate cultural factors in assessing the effectiveness of cross-cultural distance learning events.
The context of the study is the Global Development Learning Network (GDLN), which spans the world with more than 120 distance learning centers and facilitates communication for development through videoconferencing technology. Research data for this multiple-case cross-cultural study has been collected in six GDLN affiliates located in four countries: Australia, New Zealand, Russia and Selenge's home country -- Mongolia.
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Selenge joined SIM in February 2006 after being awarded a New Zealand Development Scholarship by the New Zealand International Aid and Development agency. She graduated from the National University of Mongolia with a diploma in Marketing, completed her MBA at the Maastricht School of Management in the Netherlands, and worked as a consultant on various development projects in Mongolia before joining the Ulaanbaatar office of the World Bank in 2002. In this office, Selenge acted as a communications liaison between the World Bank and its counterparts in Mongolia's government, civil society and private sector organisations. She also coordinated the activities of the Mongolia Distance Learning Centre, part of the Global Development Learning Network.
Coordination in agile software development projects
Agile software development offers a deceptively simple means to organise complex multi-participant software development, while achieving fast delivery of quality software, meeting customer requirements, and coping effectively with project change. However, there is little understanding of how agile software development projects achieve effective coordination, a critical factor in successful software projects.
Agile software development provides a unique set of practices for organising the work of software projects, and these practices seem to achieve effective coordination. Therefore, this research takes a coordination perspective to explore how agile software projects work, and why they are effective. The outcome of this research is a theory of coordination in co-located agile software development projects.
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Diane has a BSc (Computer Science) from the University of Melbourne, Australia and a MIinfSc (Information Systems) with first class honours from Massey University, New Zealand. She began her study in 2008 and is currently enrolled as a fulltime PhD student in the School. Her interests include information systems development methodologies and techniques, the software development process, software support for software development teams, the differences between small and large systems development, and theoretical and practical models for describing iterative and incremental software development. Diane has experience as a software developer in a multinational company and has taught extensively in the areas of systems analysis and design, and computer programming, for a number of years in the tertiary sector in New Zealand.
An investigation into organisational learning by public officials creating and maintaining multi-channel service delivery information systems in the New Zealand public sector [Repository link here]
Public sector organisations in New Zealand increasingly use multi-channel service delivery strategies to achieve better, faster and cheaper services to citizens. Within these organisations, public sector officials envision, define and implement complex service delivery information systems. This study examines the organisational learning mechanisms that those officials use. This provides a deeper insight into the role that organisational learning plays in multi-channel service delivery systems definition in the context of the New Zealand Public Sector.
A constructionist multiple-case study was undertaken with twenty nine officials from six public sector agencies that explores and characterises the learning mechanisms and knowledge transfer mechanisms that they use to understand and deliver services via physical and virtual channels. In addition, the research led to the development of a candidate conceptual model that integrates organisational learning, information systems and the unique organisational aspects of public sector service delivery.
Supervisors: Dr Beverley Hope & Professor Miriam Lips
A grounded theory of preneurial agency in technology creation
[Repository link here]
In the practitioner community, single individuals or entrepreneurs endeavouring to bring a technology based innovation into being and widespread use realise that they cannot do so by themselves. How these entrepreneurial actors go about securing and using the resources they need, in order to act upon the entrepreneurial opportunity and achieve their aim, is at the core of the phenomena investigated. Technology Innovation research has largely focused on adoption and diffusion issues associated with technology use and acceptance, but there has been no comprehensive investigation into what occurs prior to a technology innovation being created and brought into existence. This research addressed the gap by explaining the vital stages and processes which occur prior to a technology creation first coming into existence. The entrepreneur through his/her actions (or agency, as it is commonly referred to) are located in and participate in social structures such as personal social networks and firms. In these social structures they interact with other people in order to secure and combine the resources required to bring their entrepreneurial vision into being.
These interactions were a specific focus of the research study, which developed theory associated with entrepreneurial agency and technology creation. By gaining a better understanding of the factors impacting on the social interactions, entrepreneurs and managers within entrepreneurial firms become more skilled, efficient and effective in their activities and processes needed to bring technology creations into being.
Retaining the knowledge of older experts in an organisational context and the role of ICT [Repository link here]
The oldest members of the baby boomer generation are soon nearing retirement or planning to reduce their participation in the workforce. This signals significant implications for the western world, especially for organisations relying on knowledge workers' expertise and experience. The problem is twofold; Generation X is numerically only half the size of the baby boomer cohort, and organisations will lose valuable knowledge if they do not act to remedy the impacts of this demographic phenomenon. Organisations do not necessarily know what is meant by "knowledge". It may not be clear where expertise is located, how it is accessed, or who the experts are. Information and communications technologies exist that support knowledge-related activities such as capture and storage, facilitating access, and sharing and dissemination. This action research study focused on how organisations view the types of knowledge that will be lost when older and more knowledgeable workers leave. This was followed by an exploration of the knowledge transfer processes and methods that can be used to address the problem. Finally, the study addressed the question of how ICT can support knowledge transfer for knowledge sources and seekers.
This research study complements a rise in practitioner efforts to address knowledge loss concerns overseas. The planned contributions to research are a theory that explains the nature of the knowledge that organisations value, how this knowledge can be transferred, and how ICT supports the knowledge transfer imperative. The organisations benefit through an improved knowledge transfer process or model, supported by appropriate ICT. Their participation in the action research project will provide them with the experience to extend their response to the workforce problem, as well as with a robust process for diagnosing and solving other business problems.
Supervisors: Professor Pak Yoong & Dr Brian Harmer
Consumer intentions to use electronic banking channels: the role of task channel fit [Repository link here]
The increase in electronically mediated self-service technologies in the banking industry is changing the way banks service consumers. Despite a large body of research on electronic banking channels, no study has been undertaken to explore the importance of the fit between electronic banking channels and banking tasks. Nor has there been research into how "task-channel fit" and other factors influence consumer intentions to use electronic banking channels. This research proposed a theoretical model addressing these gaps. An exploratory study was first conducted, investigating industry experts' perceptions towards the concept of "task-channel fit" and its relationship to other electronic banking channel variables. The findings demonstrated that the concept was perceived as being highly relevant by bank managers. A research model was then developed drawing on the existing literature.
To evaluate the research model quantitatively, a survey instrument was developed and validated, administered to a sample of consumers, and the resulting data used to test both measurement and structural aspects of the research model.
Inter-organisational knowledge sharing in the public sector: The role of social capital and information and communication technology [Repository link here]
Governments around the world are actively engaged in the concept of Joined Up Government (JUG). In New Zealand, the State Services Commission has introduced six development goals that will support its aim of developing a system of world class State Services. One of these goals focuses on Coordinated State Services, whereby public sector agencies work together, sharing information, resources and responsibilities to achieve defined outcomes. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) initiatives such as the Public Sector Intranet and the development of shared workspaces are seen as significant tools in enabling Co-ordinated State Services.
The purpose of this research was to better understand how information and knowledge is actually shared in interagency projects in the New Zealand public sector, and how this supports the Government's goal of developing Co-ordinated State Services.The study aimed to provide empirical evidence on knowledge sharing behaviours in the sector, and enhance and inform planning of inter-agency projects in an environment where the occurrence of cross-agency projects is on the increase.The findings should also enable funding to be directed to areas where it will provide most benefit.This is particularly important in terms of major investment in ICT which, on many occasions, has been unable to meet the benefits hoped for. Although social capital has been a focus of government in the context of economic growth, communities building and citizenship, there is considerable potential for it to assist in sharing knowledge.
Supervisors: Dr David Pauleen & Professor Sid Huff
Investigation of factors affecting the adoption of Information and Communication Technologies for communication of research output in research institutions in Kenya [Repository link here]
The main purpose of this study was to identify factors affecting ICT-enabled research dissemination by and for researchers in research institutions in specific fields within the natural and applied sciences that are Kenya's current key economic recovery focus. Individual face-to-face interviews and document analysis were used to identify, understand and explain key factors affecting ICT-mediated research communication with a view to coming up with a contextual ICT-adoption framework that will assist the Kenyan research community in more effectively adopting ICT-enabled research dissemination practices.
This study should support Kenya’s national development goals and contribute to the existing knowledge base and serve as a useful reference point in research communication debates and policy deliberations.
Supervisors: Professor Gary Gorman & Dr Chern Li Liew
Dr Maria Molina
Digital genre: A mechanism for knowledge sharing and reuse in business clusters [Repository link here]
The purpose of this study was to identify the knowledge transfer mechanisms in project bidding for two clusters in New Zealand and how ICT plays a role in facilitating a "virtual space" for creation, exchange and re-use of knowledge and information. Genre Theory was adopted as the theoretical framework to guide this inquiry because genres are precisely the knowledge transfer mechanisms that communicate information and knowledge to members of the community following specific social rules.
This study followed a qualitative research methodology known as action research to direct the data collection and analysis, and validate how the study was carried out. It comprised of one action research cycle, which was divided in four stages: Diagnosis, Planning, Development, and Evaluation.
Online communities of practice and professional change: A three-tier view of the knowledge embedding process [Repository link here]
This research project identified how online communities of practice (CoPs) facilitate the transfer and embedding of professional knowledge. It aimed to move beyond looking at 'knowledge sharing' in online CoPs to better understand the processes through which knowledge becomes more deeply 'embedded' (or 'sticky'). This project elucidated the nature of the knowledge embedding process, and identified the technologies, roles, and other factors that contribute to this process, and was guided by the question: How can online CoPs facilitate the transfer and embedding of professional knowledge? using interpretive case research strategy.
The context for this study was a nationwide programme for New Zealand schools that aims to integrate ICT into teaching, in order to help build 'effective' teaching practice. The programme exists within a larger climate of transformative change in school education, in which the traditional role of the teacher is being challenged.
Dr Silke Retzer
Inter-organisational knowledge transfer among research and development organisations: Implications for information and communication technology support [Repository link here]
Using a mixed method approach of case research and social network analysis, Silke's research project conducted an in-depth investigation into collaboration around organisations in three research and development networks in the environmental sector in New Zealand with the purpose of identifying potential for the improved use of collaborative information and communication technology (ICT). Therefore, the study analysed structures of knowledge exchange among organisations and from these findings identified where ICT could be utilised for continuous online knowledge exchange and learning.
This study applied Media Synchronicity Theory to identify possible ICT support by study participants' preferred media characteristics such as quick transfer and reprocessability of knowledge. In addition, this research project applied and refined methods of social network analysis (SNA) to investigate knowledge exchange in social networks.
Dr Kate Thornton
Blended action learning: Supporting leadership learning in the New Zealand ECE sector [Repository link here]
The purpose of this research was to explore how ICT can be used to support leadership development in the New Zealand Early Childhood Education sector. A case research approach was used in this qualitative study and the research data generated through action learning groups. Kate's role as an interpretive researcher included facilitating a number of action learning sets using a combination of face-to-face meetings and online interactions, and collecting data in the form of interviews, online reflective journals, emails, forum entries and observations.
The role of the online facilitator and the most appropriate technologies for use in online action learning were of particular interest in this study. Read more >
Supervisors: Professor Pak Yoong and Professor Cedric Hall
Dr Lanthom Jonjoubsong
An integrated knowledge management model for community enterprises: A case study of a rural community enterprise in Thailand [Repository link here]
This study explored the characteristics, organisational culture, and traditional knowledge management practice and capabilities of a community enterprise (CE) in terms of knowledge management (KM), and proposed a plausible model in which KM could enhance traditional KM practice of the CE. The model was based on the enterprise's unique characteristics, culture, and KM limitations. "Pare Pun", an enterprise producing hand weaving products in northeast rural Thailand, was selected as a representative case study.
This was narrative research with three main ethnographic techniques -- document study, narrative inquiry and participant observation -- employed to investigate the characteristics, culture, and abilities in KM of the enterprise.
Supervisors: Professor Gary Gorman and Dr Brian Harmer
Dr Hong Sinh Nguyen
A contextual model for planning continuing education programmes for university library practitioners in Vietnam [Repository link here]
Continuing education (CE) for Library and Information Management (LIM) practitioners is not a new phenomenon but an ongoing issue in the profession. CE is a priority for enhancing the ability of practitioners and upgrading the capability of libraries to meet the demands of higher education as well as to meet the demands of socio-economic development of the country.
The purposes of the study were (1) to identify factors affecting CE in order to develop a contextual model for CE for university library practitioners in Vietnam and (2) to identify and prioritise CE needs for the practitioners that will assist CE providers in designing and implementing more effective CE programs for the practitioners in Vietnam. To achieve these purposes this study employed a preliminary model for CE developed specifically for the Vietnamese context. The study also prioritised the learning needs for university library practitioners in Vietnam.
Supervisors: Professor Gary Gorman and Dr Dan Dorner
Masters by Thesis (MCA/MA) Graduates
Community Archives: Factors in sustainability
Throughout New Zealand there are collections of community or local archives. These archives are part of the heritage of all New Zealanders and therefore essential to our culture and identity. Without them, or without appropriate management of them, New Zealanders lose the ability to understand where they have come from. Regimes for their management and preservation must therefore be enduring and sustainable. Archives held within structures or environments that are not sustainable are potentially as much at risk as those which are never identified and preserved. Small community archives, often run by volunteers with little knowledge, few resources and inadequate facilities, are particularly at risk.
This research looked at what factors, such as funding, governance, skill/expertise, are most likely to ensure sustainability of community archives.
MA degree; Supervisor: Dr Gillian Oliver
"It isn't all about you": The management of ICT and non-ICT information resources via human information behaviour
This study evaluated the performance of the World Wide Web as an information resource in the domain of international travel. The theoretical framework underpinning our approach recognizes the contribution of models of information seeking behavior and of information systems in explaining World Wide Web usage as an information resource. Specifically, a model integrating the construct of uncertainty in information seeking and the task-technology fit model is presented. To test the integrated model, 217 travelers participated in a questionnaire-based empirical study.
Results confirmed that richer (or enhanced) models are required to evaluate the broad context of World Wide Web (the Web) usage as an information resource. Use of the Web for travel tasks, for uncertainty reduction, as an information resource, and for mediation all have a significant impact on users' perception of performance, explaining 46% of the variance. Additionally, the study contributed to the testing and validation of metrics for use of the Web as an information resource in a specific domain.
MCA degree awarded with Merit; Supervisor: Dr Mary Tate
Measuring e-learning readiness across the Forestry Research and Development Agency (FORDA) of Indonesia
E-learning is seen as an efficient and effective tool to allow swift information and knowledge sharing throughout the organisation in real-time. The systems can support collaboration, training delivery, and dissemination in a research and development (R&D) organisation involving a large number of participants across dispersed areas. Several studies have developed instruments to assess e-learning readiness for target respondents including policy makers (managers, CIOs), providers (e-learning providers), enablers (lecturers, tutors, facilitators), and receivers (individual learners or trainees).
Since most instruments were developed to only assess specific target respondents and/or for developed countries, this study proposes a comprehensive organisational e-learning readiness instrument (COERI) which can be used to assess all target respondents by combining several existing instruments.
MCA degree awarded with Merit; Supervisor: Professor Pak Yoong
Developing ontological evaluation methodology: Cognitive measure of quality
Ontologies are formal explicit specifications of shared conceptualizations. They provide a common vocabulary to share information in a domain, and provide concepts to structure and represent knowledge about a domain. Developing good ontologies is becoming very important for Information Systems (IS) researchers and developers, since recent software applications require a more complete set of precise concepts for enabling progress in e-commerce and software integration.
Two experiments were conducted, each evaluating SUMO ontology and WordNet with an experimental method, as demonstrations of the multi-method evaluation methodology. The motivation of the multi-method technique is that it allows us to add more confidence in the findings, assuming the results from both evaluation techniques converge. The research will contribute to practitioners such as Web developers and system integrators with a more adequate tool for the development and deployment of the applications, by ensuring the quality of the ontologies adopted.
MCA degree awarded with Distinction; Supervisor: Dr Joerg Evermann