Facilitating the transformational: An exploration of control in cyberinfrastructure projects and the discovery of field control

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Emerging from rapid advances in digitization and technological capabilities is a new form of information systems development project: cyber projects. Cyber projects are complex, massive, and ambitious, often involving hundreds of academic, government, and industry professionals, requiring years of development, and costing millions of dollars. In our study, we examine how control is exercised in cyber projects. Based on a longitudinal study over eight years, we develop a process theory of the control of cyber projects. Initially we observe that project control is driven by the field, i.e., all of the individual or collective entities that subscribe to the general purpose of the project. This form of control is later replaced by a more bureaucratic form from government-sponsored entities to ensure that traditional project objectives are met. Once construction begins and the field understands the implications and promise of the project, we observe that control is again exerted by the primary project users in the field, complemented by authority-based control exerted by the government-sponsored entisty in the field. © 2016 INFORMS.


Control; Cyberinfrastructure projects; Project management; Strategic action fields

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