A grounded theory study of technology appropriation in anaesthesia

Delaney, Patrick J. (2010) A grounded theory study of technology appropriation in anaesthesia. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


The human-technology nexus is a strong focus of Information Systems (IS) research; however, very few studies have explored this phenomenon in anaesthesia. Anaesthesia has a long history of adoption of technological artifacts, ranging from early apparatus to present-day information systems such as electronic monitoring and pulse oximetry. This prevalence of technology in modern anaesthesia and the rich human-technology relationship provides a fertile empirical setting for IS research.

This study employed a grounded theory approach that began with a broad initial guiding question and, through simultaneous data collection and analysis, uncovered a core category of technology appropriation. This emergent basic social process captures a central activity of anaesthestists and is supported by three major concepts: knowledge-directed medicine, complementary artifacts and culture of anaesthesia. The outcomes of this study are: (1) a substantive theory that integrates the aforementioned concepts and pertains to the research setting of anaesthesia and (2) a formal theory, which further develops the core category of appropriation from anaesthesia-specific to a broader, more general perspective. These outcomes fulfill the objective of a grounded theory study, being the formation of theory that describes and explains observed patterns in the empirical field.

In generalizing the notion of appropriation, the formal theory is developed using the theories of Karl Marx. This Marxian model of technology appropriation is a three-tiered theoretical lens that examines appropriation behaviours at a highly abstract level, connecting the stages of natural, species and social being to the transition of a technology-as-artifact to a technology-in-use via the processes of perception, orientation and realization.

The contributions of this research are two-fold: (1) the substantive model contributes to practice by providing a model that describes and explains the human-technology nexus in anaesthesia, and thereby offers potential predictive capabilities for designers and administrators to optimize future appropriations of new anaesthetic technological artifacts; and (2) the formal model contributes to research by drawing attention to the philosophical foundations of appropriation in the work of Marx, and subsequently expanding the current understanding of contemporary IS theories of adoption and appropriation.

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ID Code: 37268
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Timbrell, Gregory, Chan, Taizan, & Nelson, Karen
Keywords: Anaesthesia, appropriation, artifact, grounded theory, human-technology nexus, marx, theory
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 24 Sep 2010 04:39
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:59

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