Spreadsheets applications are often employed to support business decision-making. At a practical level this case study traces the development of a spreadsheet that can be used to support two aspects of small business decision-making: how much they should outlay on a Web site and where they should access the skills to implement the Web site.

While in this case the customized spreadsheet emerged as a knowledge document through a deliberate and reflective process of action research, in many workplaces such tools (whether based on spreadsheets, databases, or word-processing files as their meta-document type) "just grow." People have a need and put together a tool. Others amend it. Although it has arisen spontaneously, it is none the less a "knowledge document"—in Giddens' terms an allocative or even an authoritative resource.

This case study bases its action-research processes on the tenets of structuration theory as manifested in information and knowledge management. It attempts to demonstrate the deep ontological and epistemological roots of a knowledge document as everyday and familiar as a customized spreadsheet tool.

The underlying belief of the authors, which they hope the case study demonstrates, is that the development of analytical tools can benefit through consideration of relevant social theory such as structuration. Such theory provides concepts to guide the designer of a tool through the labyrinths of information and knowledge management, and ensures that the reality reflected in the tool is that which the designers wish to reflect. In this case, the subjective meanings and preferences constructed by experts and stakeholders.

Annals of Cases on Information Technology
SQL Tips & Techniques (Miscellaneous)
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 367 © 2008-2017.
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