The earlier search for some materials part of a 1996 Master’s thesis also brought forward some writing that continues to make sense after years of intervening work and reflection. These guidelines represent the core arguments of the the thesis. They focus on necessary conditions for the development setting, resourcing implications and organizational impact. The thesis focuses on voluntary sector organizations, however, I expect they apply to other types of inter-organizational networks as well.
The thesis analyzes the theoretical and practical application of participatory design and community development approaches. Organizational participants actively designed each of the elements of a socio-technical framework. A friend recently asked about my thoughts on the S-T framework after so many years. The full reply will take additional time and thought. The brief reply is that this framework still provides a sound basis for discussion, design and broad engagement. By focusing on the foundations of a system, it clarifies the contribution of various elements to the whole. What the model does not do well enough is explain the interacting effects of a highly complex, dynamic system.
(note: the numbering refers to section headings in the original document from which these come.)
6 . Identifying the development setting
6.1.1. Guideline 1. Organizations prepared to participate in inter-organizational information systems currently engage in joint programs, are explicit about their services, and demonstrate willingness to engage in both informal and formal resource exchanges.
6.1.2. Guideline 2. Organizations most likely to initially participate in a computer mediated inter-organizational information system occupy central positions within the current communication network of inter-organizational relations and make some use of communication technology to maintain positions of prominence.
6.2. Resource and planning implications
6.2.1. Guideline 3. Organizations most likely to commit resources to the development of a shared system are comparatively secure in their existing funder and resource fulfillment relationships and share some level of interdependence.
6.2.2. Guideline 4. Planning for an inter-organizational network anticipated to serve an expanding number of organizations across a large geographic area must assume that, if successful, the system will be relatively large and complex.
6.3. Organizational and inter-organizational impact
6.3.1. Guideline 5. Ubiquitous availability of human and electronic resources will create new organizations. In the process it will alter the internal structure of organizational actors, their relationships with others and the networks which are a composite of those relationships.