The implementation of electronic services: planned or organic growth?

John Cole, Malcolm Colledge, Tony Megaw, Martin Powls, Seth Bullock, Justin Keen


The literature on innovation suggests that projects are successful when rigorous project management is mixed judiciously with 'organic' development. This paper argues that organic growth can play a substantial role in the implementation of electronic services in healthcare settings. Evidence for organic growth is presented, based on a study of email use. Methods are presented for investigating email use in health service settings in the National Health Service (NHS) in Bradford, England. Geographical information systems (GIS) outputs and social network analyses are presented. The results demonstrate a fivefold increase in the use of email over a 13-month period, which is shown to be largely independent of the growth in the number of organisations using the network. They also demonstrate a marked increase in the complexity of the patterns of email use over the period.


email; innovation; network

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