The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $2.8 million to the Center for Research on Information Technology and Organizations (CRITO) at UC Irvine for a project that evaluates the impacts of information technologies on people and their organizations. These technologies include the Internet, personal computers and hand-held devices such as cell phones and personal data assistants.
"This study will ask to what extent and in what ways does information technology, particularly the Internet, transform people's lives," said James Danziger, the project coordinator and a professor of political science in the School of Social Sciences. "While there is research and considerable theorizing about the emerging impacts of information technology in different contexts of peoples' lives, no large-scale study has attempted to investigate such impacts simultaneously."
The five-year project will analyze current and potential impacts of information technology on people's social and work lives in four institutional contexts--households, workplaces, schools and governments--and on the organizations themselves. The investigators are interested in the ways in which new information and communications technologies create information networks that enable individuals to engage in multiple functions from a particular location and that might link these functions and social institutions in novel ways.
The investigators have backgrounds in computer science, information systems, management, political science and sociology. Assisting with the project are Henry Becker, professor in the Department of Education, and Alladi Venkatesh, professor of management in the Graduate School of Management.
The NSF granted a total of $156 million in awards for information technology research with the goal of augmenting the nation's IT knowledge base and strengthening the IT workforce. The CRITO project is one of 113 mid-sized projects across the nation that received funding.
"NSF is proud to be a leader with these bold information technology research projects," said NSF Director Rita Colwell. "Through long-term, high-risk research, we expect a wide range of positive results that will benefit the nation as a whole. Our objective is to support the development of software and IT services that will help scientists and engineers make the kind of discoveries that eventually will be applied by industry."
CRITO, a multidisciplinary research unit, conducts theoretical and empirical research to answer a broad array of questions related to the use, impact and management of information technology in organizations and society. The center's core group of investigators at UCI is composed of faculty from several disciplines including the Graduate School of Management, the Department of Information and Computer Science, the School of Social Sciences and the Department of Education. CRITO researchers pursue studies of the organizational implications of information technology, management of information technology and technology policy and societal issues.
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