A strategic approach to making sense of the “wicked” problem of ERM

McLeod, Julie and Childs, Sue (2013) A strategic approach to making sense of the “wicked” problem of ERM. Records Management Journal, 23 (2). pp. 104-135. ISSN 0956-5698

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/RMJ-04-2013-0009


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide an approach to viewing the “wicked” problem of electronic records management (ERM), using the Cynefin framework, a sense-making tool. It re-conceptualises the ERM challenge by understanding the nature of the people issues. This supports decision making about the most appropriate tactics to adopt to effect positive change.

Design/methodology/approach – Cynefin was used to synthesise qualitative data from an empirical research project that investigated strategies and tactics for improving ERM.

Findings – ERM may be thought of as a dynamic, complex challenge but, viewed through the Cynefin framework, many issues are not complex; they are simple or complicated and can be addressed using best or good practice. The truly complex issues need a different approach, described as emergent practice. Cynefin provides a different lens through which to view, make sense of and re-perceive the ERM challenge and offers a strategic approach to accelerating change.

Research limitations/implications – Since Cynefin has been applied to one data set, the findings are transferrable not generalisable. They, and/or the approach, can be used to further test the propositions.

Practical implications – The resultant ERM framework provides a practical example for information and records managers to exploit or use as a starting point to explore the situation in particular organisational contexts. It could also be used in other practical, teaching and/or research-related records contexts.

Originality/value – This paper provides a new strategic approach to addressing the wicked problem of ERM, which is applicable for any organisational context.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cynefin framework, decision making, digital documents, digital storage, electronic records, records management, strategic approach
Subjects: G500 Information Systems
P900 Others in Mass Communications and Documentation
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering
Depositing User: Sue Childs
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2013 13:41
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2021 01:19
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/12880

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