Exploring the use of ICTs in non-profit sector organisations: supporting the third act
Life after retirement from full-time work is known as the third act of an individual. In New Zealand the third act has become longer, resulting in an ageing population. An implication of population ageing is the need for increased support and services for older people who live within the community. Non-profit sector organisations primarily cater to those that are either beyond the reach of state services or are unable to afford services offered by the commercial sector. This study is guided by the central research question: how can non-profit sector organisations use ICTs to support service provision for older people living within the community? Using Lamb and Kling’s social actor model, adapted to the context of non-profit sector, the research project explores how ICT use is influenced by factors that are investigated under four key dimensions: affiliations, environment, identities and technology. Employing a case research method, it studies ICT use in four human services non-profit sector organisations. The analysis of the case studies revealed how external influences are enacted within organisations. The study presents a framework which explains post-adoptive use in non-profit sector organisations incorporating external factors, the organisational view and social actor behaviours. The findings suggest that client and funder information requirements influence organisations to select one of four responses to external cues. Organisations adopt either a complementary perspective, a competing perspective, a compatible view or a negotiated view. These organisational information perspectives craft social actor behaviours within non-profit organisations. Further, this study found information challenges associated with maintaining complex client requirements. Mobility of the work force, deficiencies in data capture and limitations of existing client information systems constrain information flow in these organisations. As a result analysis of service utilisation data fails to communicate the actual value created within communities. This study has extended the understanding of ICT use in non-profit human services organisations in New Zealand and contributed to knowledge in the development of the social actor model within specific contexts. The original contribution of this study is the three-tier typology of social actor- information roles. The study presents social actor behaviour associated with a primary entity and an information role. Five main social actor- information roles were identified across three tiers and have been mapped against a spectrum of information behaviours associated with each role. When responding to external cues social actors engage in task related behaviours associated with their information roles. By contributing to ICT use practices, this research presents new perspectives on the components of value in organisational processes. Identifying value adding and value communicating information flows, information loss and informal ICT support roles this study presents a detailed analysis of the factors that enhance and constrain ICT use within human services non-profit sector organisations.