Electronic information systems and user contexts: emerging social science issues

by Tora K. Bikson

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The introduction of electronic information systems in myriad user settings comprises a trend of long-term national significance. Alternative choices in the management of that process can have substantially different economic and social impacts. With the technological barriers to such change being rapidly eliminated, a number of issues emerge for social research. Most of these issues are policy-oriented and concern the kinds of choices that should be made during the implementation of electronic information systems. There are two ways to look at these issues: from the viewpoint of the user in the work setting and from the viewpoint of consequences (e.g., how to promote positive outcomes). The author discusses the background of these issues and perspectives, looks at current developments in the automated office environment, and discusses some of the research contributions so far. The final section of the paper looks at what should be done in future research.

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