A31. Rice, R.E. & Contractor, N. (1990). Conceptual effects of office information systems: A methodology and application for the study of alpha, beta, and gamma change. Decision Sciences, 21(2), 301-317.


This article applies the concepts of alpha, beta, and gamma changes to test whether the implementation of a new office information system with networking capabilities changes the way organizational members conceptualize office work. Traditional approach (t-test) was used to measure alpha change and indicated little change in how effectively the respondents felt they performed eight generic office activities before implementation (T1) and nine months after implementation (T2). However, considerable change was detected between effectiveness reported at T1 and retrospective assessment of T1effectiveness reported at T2 (called "then" assessments). Strong change was also detected between "then" assessments and T2 effectiveness reported at T2, indicating beta change. Multiple hierarchical tests showed that most of the change was actually gamma change; the T2 and the "then" factor structures and convariances differed significantly. This study supports propositions that using computers to accomplish organizational work may be associated with different conceptualizations of work, which may create ambiguity and uncertainty if training and management policies do not respond appropriately. Finally, this study provides an expanded version of a prior solution to detecting alpha, beta, and gamma changes.

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