non-peer-reviewed; The research team is working on the Irish node an international research project entitled 'Employment Practices of Multinational Corporations (MNCs) in Organisational Context: A Large-scale Survey'. This involves a comprehensive representative survey of employment practice in MNCs in seven countries, Canada, Ireland, Spain, UK, Australia, Mexico and Singapore.; Ireland is one of the world's most foreign direct investment (FDI) dependent economies. This research project addresses patterns of influence and control in multinational companies (MNCs) in Ireland, with particular emphasis on policy and practice in the areas of human resource management (HRM) and employment relations (ER). It seeks to establish the degree of influence and the extent of discretion of the Irish operations within the overall corporate framework of multinational corporations (MNCs). Are managers in these foreign-controlled MNCs simply executors of HR and ER strategies conceived and created at higher levels, or do they play a more strategic role, with autonomy to adjust HR and ER strategies and policies to the local context, and to change and develop the mandates for their firms beyond those initially envisaged at corporate level? It also, uniquely...
non-peer-reviewed; In the context of burgeoning research on multinational corporations (MNCs) this paper addresses the issue of the representativeness of databases of multinational corporations (MNCs) in Ireland. It identifies some important deficiencies in existing databases much used by scholars in the field. Drawing on the international literature, it finds that this problem also characterises research on MNCs in many other countries. In the Irish context we find that the extant empirical research has generally excluded two key categories of MNCs, namely, (a) foreign MNCs which are not grant-aided by the main industrial promotions agencies and (b) Irish-owned MNCs. The paper outlines our experience in identifying and addressing these deficiencies in an effort to more precisely define the MNC population in Ireland, and more generally reviews some of the issues and obstacles confronting scholars investigating the MNC sector in Ireland and abroad.
non-peer-reviewed; The extent and nature of collective employee representation in multinational companies (MNCs) in Ireland has been the subject of intense debate over recent decades. Yet despite numerous commentaries on this and other aspects of industrial relations (IR) in MNCs in Ireland, we have no overall, authoritative picture of the ways in which MNCs manage IR (cf. McDonnell et al., 2007). This chapter reports findings from the first large-scale representative survey of employment practice in MNCs in Ireland. Using data from some 260 MNCs, we present findings on key aspects of IR practice, particularly in regard to trade union recognition and avoidance, collective bargaining and European Works Councils (EWCs).
This chapter draws primarily on the results of the first large scale survey of employment practice in multinational companies as reported in Gunnigle, P., Lavelle, J. and McDonnell, A. (2007) 'Human Resource Practices in Multinational Companies in Ireland: A Large-Scale Survey', available: ULIR
peer-reviewed; The focus of this paper is to outline the experience of a European based software organization utilizing the IDEAL model, while implementing a tailored Capability Maturity Model (CMM) software process improvement program. The goal was to achieve process improvement rather than a specific CMM maturity level. In doing this, the IDEAL model was extensively researched and employed. The benefits and limitations of the IDEAL model are presented as experienced. Further details on this research are available in . Research was carried out on a number of software process improvement paradigms prior to the selection of the CMM. A key element of this approach was to see the requirements of the organization as paramount and immediate. It was deemed important to achieve process improvement in specific Key Process Areas regardless of their position in the CMM. This provided the flexibility for future investment in SPI to capitalize on the current work.
peer-reviewed; Small software organizations independently financed and organized companies with fewer than 50 employees are fundamental to many national economies' growth. In the US, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Finland, Ireland, Hungary, and many other countries, small companies represent up to 85 percent of all software organizations. However, to persist and grow, small software companies need efficient, effective software engineering solutions.
peer-reviewed; Conventional methods have been criticized for their positivist philosophy and for either ignoring the organizational context of information systems development (ISD) or using only a simplistic, machine-based conceptual model of organizations. We have developed an approach to enable systems developers to use a richer view of organizations and a more interpretive approach. Multi-Metaphor Method (MMM) supports developers via a range of metaphors as cognitive structuring devices to understand an organization so that developers can learn to move between different ways of ‘reading’ the social context in which ISD occurs. We explain the rationale and theoretical underpinnings of MMM and then discuss our action research to investigate the viability and relevance of MMM during ISD practice. We show how the developers’ use of organizational metaphors via MMM did not just enable rich conceptualizations of the client organizations but also influenced the ISD process and final product. We review the learning outcomes and discuss the implications for systems development practice of our research.
peer-reviewed; This paper reports the findings of a detailed study of Web-based systems design (WBSD) practices in Ireland based on data collected over a 3-year period (2002–2005), the objectives of which were to (1) contribute towards a richer understanding of the current “real-world” context of WBSD by characterising the profile of a typical project (team size, timeframe, nature of requirements, etc.) and identifying the key challenges, constraints, and imperatives (i.e. “mediating factors”) faced by Web-based system designers, and (2) understand how those contextual parameters and mediating factors influence the activity of WBSD as regards the selection and enactment of whatever design practices are therefore engaged (i.e. the use of methods, procedures, etc.). Data was gathered through a survey which yielded 165 usable responses, and later through a series of semi-structured qualitative interviews. Using grounded theory, an explanatory conceptual framework is derived, based on an extension of the “method-in-action” model, the application of which to WBSD has not been previously investigated in depth. It is proposed that this framework of WBSD issues is valuable in a number of ways to educators, researchers, practitioners...
peer-reviewed; The development of information services has always been and remains a volitile environment. Practitioners and researchers within the field of information systems development (ISD) have put forward a number of different ideas over the past thirty years to better monitor and control the process. The use of traditional ISD methods has been one such idea that has not only achieved widespread application but has garnered many criticisms regarding its application. This study seeks to investigate whether these criticisms are supported in terms of how present day organizations utilise traditional ISD methods in light of the increased diversity and sophistication of ISD projects. The findings of the study indicate that whilst methods are considered an integral part of the majority of development projects, they cannot be adopted without a significant amount of modification to suit individual development projects. In addition, traditional ISD methods were considered of limited use within the present ISD environment.
Peer-reviewed; Up to now, most open source software (OSS) deployments have been in invisible infrastructure applications running on back-office servers (GNU/Linux, Apache, and so on). Beaumont Hospital in Ireland recently started developing its overall information systems infrastructure by deploying more visible desktop and front-office OSS applications in addition to GNU/Linux and Apache. In a two-phase OSS implementation, Beaumont will save over 30 million euros over five years. These details are useful in that few studies have thus far quantified the savings from OSS deployment. Also, in many cases, the extra functionality available in OSS systems allows for a richer feature set. Much has been written about the motivation of individual OSS developers; in this case, the primary drivers behind an organization's decision to implement OSS solutions are principle and pragmatism. A company can contribute back to the OSS community in its own unique way, by distributing applications developed from its particular domain of expertise, rather than making contributions to the code base of Gnu/Linux. The former type of contribution can have a significant boot-strapping effect in that it creates OSS applications in many domains that otherwise would have been unlikely candidates.
peer-reviewed; This paper provides a detailed assessment of the current status of the Information Systems (IS) field by tracing its historical evolution. It uses lessons drawn from the history of another social science, sociology, to highlight some of the fundamental choices now facing IS researchers. Firstly, the paper identifies the most important tensions and forces that shaped the evolution of the IS field in the 40 or so years of its history. Secondly, it draw a comparison between IS and sociology and uses some selected fundamental patterns of the history of the latter to explain the main aspects of the evolution of IS. Finally, noting that IS researchers do not seem to have succeeded in developing a core of concepts and definitions to enable the accumulation of knowledge in IS and to significantly contribute to the improvement of the business application of information systems, the paper calls for a debate on the future orientations of the field and identifies some of the choices that can be made at this stage of the evolution of the field.
peer-reviewed; Studying a software process improvement effort over time reveals the factors associated with its success. This case study shows how Motorola's Cellular Infrastructure Group progressed to CMM level 4, and examines what is needed to optimize its software process.
Peer-reviewed; A postal survey was conducted to determine the following: the extent to which systems development methodologies are used in practice; the rating of their contribution to the development process; and the future trend in methodology adoption, whether the trend is toward increased usage or not. Among the main findings of the study were that 60 percent of the respondents were not using methodologies. Also, only six percent of respondents reported following a methodology rigorously. Finally, the forecast is not positive for methodology advocates: 79 percent of those not using a methodology indicated that they did not intend to adopt one.
peer-reviewed; Samples of Mytilus edulis, together with samples of sediment and Fucus vesiculosus, were taken monthly from each of five shores on the south coast of the Shannon Estuary from March 1992 to December 1993 inclusive. Samples were digested individually and the levels of iron, zinc, manganese, cobalt, chromium and copper were determined using atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Levels of metals were lower than previously published values from Irish east coast estuaries, including Dublin, except for a few high levels in M. edulis, which did not persist in the tissues and were probably lost through excretion, spawning or detoxification. Of the metals analysed iron showed the highest levels. This was attributed in part to the background levels of iron in sediment. On some occasions high metal levels in sediment did not lead to higher levels either in F. vesiculosus or in M. edulis, suggesting that metals in M. edulis may come from other sources, including anthropogenic inputs, in the estuary. On an international scale the levels in M. edulis of the six metals studied were relatively low in the Shannon Estuary. The longer-term monthly sampling regime followed in this study is important since it shows that occasional high levels...
peer-reviewed; Metal levels (iron, zinc, manganese, cobalt, chromium, copper and nickel) were determined in Cerastoderma edule, Mytilus edulis, Monodonta lineata, Patella vulgata, Nucella lapillus, Littorina obtusata and L. littorea at two sites close to the mouth of the Shannon Estuary (Ireland) in November 1993 and May 1994, using standard atomic absorption spectrophotometer techniques. Samples of seaweeds were included at one shore for comparative purposes only. The best all-round indicators for all the metals studied were C. edule, M. edulis and N. lapillus. Metal levels in the seaweeds were much lower than in the molluscs. No species was a universal indicator of the metals studied when site and season were taken into consideration. High levels of metals accumulated from water and:or sediment were observed in a number of cases. Levels of Zn in N. lapillus were significantly different to those in all other species and C. edule had high levels of Ni. These levels were dependent on site and season. A detrended correspondence ordination showed that the two species of bivalve mollusc and P. vulgata formed one cluster and that the remaining gastropod species formed a second cluster. This study shows that species-specific bioaccumulation occurs and is seasonally specific in certain species. This needs to be taken into account when choosing a bioaccumulator model and when comparing data from different studies.
peer-reviewed; Drawing on texts written by young people aged 14-17 years in a school context in response to an invitation to write a page describing themselves and their vision of Ireland and to use the reverse side creatively for drawings, poems or songs, this article illustrates the methodological difficulties of exploring globalization and individualization in such texts. The indicators of globalization were global entertainment and consumer culture, global technology, references to international travel, and global concerns. The indicators of individualization were the absence of references to structural location, or the presence of references to choices, hopes or plans and related images. There were insurmountable methodological difficulties in differentiating between individualization in these terms and stereotypical ways of 'doing boy/girl'. Hence, the typology that was created focussed on the global content of the main texts and back pages and their gendered content.
peer-reviewed; This article looks at the ways in which young people reflexively construct their self within a rapidly changing society. Drawing on texts written by young people aged 14–17 years, it explores the existence of patterns identified by theorists of late modernity as regards relationships, fateful moments, a search for authenticity, life plans and life styles and looks at gender-differentiated trends in these areas drawing on a ‘weak cultural feminist tradition’ (Evans, 1995: 91).These texts are part of a sub-sample of approximately 34,000 texts written by young people in a school context in response to an invitation to ‘tell their life stories’ by writing a page ‘describing themselves and the Ireland they inhabit’.The article suggests that gender is a repressed but crucially important framework in the construction of young people's sense of self, while also identifying areas where consumer society is eroding gender difference.
peer-reviewed; This article describes a community support programme which implicitly challenges the assumption that the existence of a partner and local kin obviates the need to support women when they come home from hospital with a new baby. Implicit in the programme is the idea that support by mothers, of mothers, validates the activity of child care and is one way of facilitating the child's development. This programme was successful in terms of its perceived impact on both the providers and the recipients' ability to parent, in terms of providing training and support for providers, and in terms of strengthening links within the community and between the providers and the statutory and voluntary sectors. However, since the very model of care was a 'paid volunteering' one which perpetuated women's economic dependency it is a moot point whether it also perpetuated the devaluing of women's work. The subsequent mainstreaming of the programme and its inclusion of teenage lone mothers, who are likely to be co-parenting with their own mothers, raises still further questions about the complex and ambiguous nature of support for women.
peer-reviewed; This paper is concerned with exploring issues related to local embeddedness. It is based on material provided by a national sample of young people aged 10-12 years and 14-17 years who were invited to write a single page about their lives and the future. Approximately 34,000 young people did so within a school context. The paper is based on a quantitative and qualitative content analysis of a stratified random sample of 4100 of these texts. Firstly it looks at the significance and meaning of the local area. Secondly it looks at their life styles as contexts for the relationship between the global and the local, focusing particularly on those related to media and to sporting activities. The paper concludes by noting that although many aspects of young people’s lives draw on global products, the young people remain deeply embedded within local contexts structured by age and gender