IT/Web Article Summary

IT/Web Article Summary


            In the article, Arvidsson, Holmstrom and Lyytinen have endeavored to examine the use of information systems within organizations as a strategy practice by focusing on PaperMill, a Swedish paper mill as a case study.  The researcher relies on longitudinal study design of the organization whereby they use interviews, observation techniques and a review of such documents of the organization as project documentation and internal reports to gather the relevant data. In April 2011, PaperMill started installed a mill execution-system (MES) and although the implementation was regarded as a success at the mill, nonetheless, the mill, operates, by and large, as it did before the MES was installed.  Thus, this longitudinal case study was aimed at enabling the researchers to examine how the execution of the new production system at PaperMill had been impacted on by interrelated, fixed practices and cognitive inadaptability of crucial actors at the firm.

            Arvidsson et al. (46) have also identified fundamental dynamics and elements that gives a more entrenched multi-dimensional perspective of the alignment process of the information system (IS) strategy. Specifically, they indentify three striking elements that play a key role in strategy blindness-flexibility of IT the unit, mistranslation of intenet, as well as cognitive entrenchment.  This indicates an evolutionary departure in the conceptualization of IS strategy. The researchers have provided two explanations to explain this departure. To start with, they identify a conflict between the developing viewpoint of “strategy-as-practice” with IS strategy proper. According to Arvidsson et al. (55), this requires us to start viewing IS strategy from a multi-dimensional context. The study by Arvidsson et al also points at a rich opportunity in the field of IS for future research, especially carrying out longitudinal studies that seek to explore the IS “strategy-as-practice”.  


            The article in question makes a huge contribution in the field of IS by demonstrating how an organization can optimize its production through production process support. This includes offering such functionalities as production execution, production planning, warehousing, shipping, quality management, as well as process monitoring. According to Pearlson and Saunders (136), IS is crucial in simplifying organizational processes and activities. Effective use of IS also give an organization a competitive advantage over its rivals in the industry.  

Illustrations provided by Arvidsson et al in their article would also be of immense help to researchers in the field of IS strategy in developing interesting and novel insights on the integration of IS with business operations to optimize production.  Also, the authors have made a huge contribution to IS strategy practice through the categorization of IS strategy into multi-dimensional elements, in addition to providing valuable suggestions on how organizations ought to take into account all dimensions while implementing the IS strategy.


            The article under review here has deftly tackled important issues relevant to the course material on the management and application of Information Systems (IS). Specifically, the article utilizes a longitudinal case study design of PaperMill to reveal how the application of information system as strategy practice in a firm can enable it to optimize its production.


            Arvidsson et al have done well to develop a concept of the fundamental challenges often encountered by organizations when implementing strategic IS.  They have also proposed a multi-dimensional assessment of the IS strategy as applied in IS strategy process evaluation.  The article is well written with strong arguments that the authors have backed with diverse credible sources. However, the researchers of the article have not reported on the reliability and validity of their measures, two parameters that Henson (18) claims are crucial for the credibility of a research study.  We are also not told of the ethical issues that the researchers considered while conducting interviews with employees and staff of PaperMill. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Task Force on Research Ethics (553), any research that involves human subjects must consider the ethics of including them in the study.


            One of the key lessons learned from this article is that whereas we expect the use of IS strategy practice in the organization to always succeed, this may not always be the case due to the strategy blindness outcome. Another lesson learnt is that in order to achieve the desired results of an IS use in practice, the system should be used creatively in such a manner as to facilitate the desired new strategic intent (Robey, Ross and Boudreau 37). Otherwise, an organization might find it extremely difficult to adapt to the strategic change. 

Why are some successful and othersnot?

            Some of the lessons learnt from this article are successful while others are not because different organizations are government by different organization structure. This structure, along with the existing policies and practices will play a key role when it comes to the implementation of IS strategy within the organizations.  For organization with a risk-averse culture ingrain in their DNA, it may prove especially hard to execute a strategy that calls for changes in the organizations, coherent and interdependent processes, thereby resulting in strategy blindness and eventually, failure.

Works Cited

American Psychiatric Association’s Task Force on Research Ethics.  Ethical Principles and

Practices for Research Involving Human Participants With Mental Illness. Psychiatric

Services, 57.4 (2006):552-7.

Arvidsson, Victor, Jonny, Holmstrom and Kalle, Lyytinen. Information systems use as strategy

practice: a multidimensional view of strategic information system implementation and

use. Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 23.1 (2014): 43-61.

Henson, Robin. Understanding internal consistency reliability estimates: a conceptual primers on

coefficient alpha. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development,

34(2001): 177-188.

Robey, Daniel, Jeanne, Ross and Marie-Claude, Boudreau.  Learning to implement enterprise

systems: an exploratory study of the dialectics of change. J. Manage. Inform.

 Syst., 19.1(2002):17-46.