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Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson

University Senior Lecturer in Information Systems
Deputy Director of the MPhil in Innovation, Strategy & Organisation and MPhil in Management Science & Operations Programmes

BA (University of Oxford), MSc (SOAS, University of London), PhD (University of Cambridge)

Research interests

The implications of a process-oriented perspective for understanding people, social organisation, technology, and markets; open platform architectures for radical service redesign in the public sector.

Subject group: Organisational Behaviour & Information Systems

Professional experience

Mark has 22 years of information and systems and change management experience and is currently Strategy Director & Co-owner, Methods Group, where he has created two thriving startups since 2011 (Methods Advisory and Methods Digital). He is a member of the National Audit Office's Digital Advisory Panel, and was until recently a Main Board Member, Intellect UK (now TechUK), and is also a member of the CBI 21st Century Public Services Task and Finish Group. Prior to Methods, Mark was a Change Management Consultant at Accenture.

Mark is acknowledged within the public domain as one of architects of Open Innovation thinking within the UK public sector. In 2007-8 he was a senior adviser to UK Shadow Cabinet under George Osborne, for whom he delivered an influential report proposing widespread adoption of open standards in government IT that has since become policy, helping to create a sea-change in the way the government approaches and uses technology. Mark was credited by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude as having laid the foundation for the government's current technology procurement strategy and has subsequently authored, co-authored, or significantly influenced a series of white papers, policy documents, and a parliamentary report. Such papers include a think-tank document, Better for Less with Liam Maxwell, which formed the strategy for Cabinet Office's Efficiently and Reform Group, a journal article that has been widely shared in government, the Government IT Strategy and Strategic Implementation Plan.

Mark is a regularly invited industry and government speaker, and is pioneering these ideas in practice through London-based Methods Group, where he is delivering radical, often disruptive transformation with over 15 pathfinding government organisations. He has appeared in digital panels at both Labour and Conservative Party conferences - as well as critiquing some of the early policy developments for the coming manifesto period.

Mark is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Selected publications

Here are a selection of Mark Thompson's publications. Please see the "Selected publications" tab above for a more comprehensive list.

Fishenden, J. and Thompson, M. (2013) "Digital government, open architecture, and innovation: why public sector IT will never be the same again." Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 23(4): 977-1004 (DOI: 10.1093/jopart/mus022)

Thompson, M. (2012) "People, practice, and technology: restoring Giddens' broader philosophy to the study of information systems." Information and Organization, 22(3): 188-207 (DOI: 10.1016/j.infoandorg.2012.04.001)

Thompson, M. (2011) "Ontological shift or ontological drift? Reality claims, epistemological frameworks and theory generation in organization studies." Academy of Management Review, 36(4): 754-773

Thompson, M. and Walsham, G. (2010) "ICT research in Africa: need for a strategic developmental focus." Information Technology for Development, 16(2): 112-127 (DOI: 10.1080/02681101003737390)

Thompson, M. (2008) "ICT and development studies: towards development 2.0." Journal of International Development, 20(6): 821-835 (DOI: 10.1002/jid.1498)

Thompson, M. (2005) "Structural and epistemic parameters in communities of practice." Organization Science, 16(2): 151-164

Journal articles

Thompson, M.P.A. (2002) "Cultivating meaning: interpretive fine-tuning of a South African health information system." Information and Organization, 12(3): 183-211

Thompson, M.P.A. and Walsham, G. (2004) "Placing knowledge management in context." Journal of Management Studies, 41(5): 725-747

Thompson, M.P.A. (2004) "Some proposals for strengthening organizational activity theory." Organization, 11(5): 579-602

Thompson, M. (2004) "Discourse, 'development' and the 'digital divide': ICT and the World Bank." Review of African Political Economy, 31(99): 103-123

Thompson, M. (2005) "Structural and epistemic parameters in communities of practice." Organization Science, 16(2): 151-164

Thompson, M.P.A. (2005) "ICT, power and developmental discourse: a critical analysis." The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, 20: [1-25]

Thompson, M. (2008) "ICT and development studies: towards development 2.0." Journal of International Development, 20(6): 821-835 (DOI: 10.1002/jid.1498)

Thompson, M. and Walsham, G. (2010) "ICT research in Africa: need for a strategic developmental focus." Information Technology for Development, 16(2): 112-127 (DOI: 10.1080/02681101003737390)

Thompson, M. (2011) "Ontological shift or ontological drift? Reality claims, epistemological frameworks and theory generation in organization studies." Academy of Management Review, 36(4): 754-773

Thompson, M. (2012) "Open standards are about the business model, not the technology." Computer Weekly, April 2012

Thompson, M. (2012) "Schools must open their minds to new models: open thinking needs to move closer to the heart of the MBA curriculum." FT.com, 12 March 2012

Thompson, M. (2012) "How to liberate government IT from its hostage situation with system suppliers." The Guardian: Public Leaders Network, 20 December 2012

Thompson, M. (2012) "People, practice, and technology: restoring Giddens' broader philosophy to the study of information systems." Information and Organization, 22(3): 188-207 (DOI: 10.1016/j.infoandorg.2012.04.001)

Thompson, M. and Fishenden, J. (2013) "The great deverticalisation." Computer Weekly, January 2013

Thompson, M. (2013) "Don't politicise digital government - public platforms belong to no-one." Computer Weekly, December 2013

Trevor, J. and Thompson, M. (2013) "Strength in numbers: has the siloed organisation had its day?" Economist Intelligence Unit, 24 May 2013

Fishenden, J. and Thompson, M. (2013) "Digital government, open architecture, and innovation: why public sector IT will never be the same again." Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 23(4): 977-1004 (DOI: 10.1093/jopart/mus022)

Thompson, M. (2013) "Digital government: will it feature in the Labour and Tory manifestos?" Public Servant, 8 October 2013

Thompson, M. (2014) "Searching for the signal of open standards amid the growing noise of agile." Computer Weekly, February 2014

Thompson, M. (2014) "Why digital platforms make politicians unelectable." Computer Weekly, June 2014

Thompson, M. (2014) "Similarity and difference: the shared ontology and diverse epistemologies of practice theory (Review of Davide Nicolini's Practice theory, work and organization: an introduction)." Ephemera, 14(2): 289-295

Book chapters

Holgeid, K. and Thompson, M. (2013) "A reflection on why large projects fail." In: Römmele, A. and Schober, H. (eds.) The governance of large-scale projects: linking citizens and the state. Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, pp.219-244

Conference papers

Thompson, M. and Walsham, G. (2001) "Learning to value the bardic tradition: culture, communication and organisational knowledge." In Smithson, S., Gricar, J., Podlogar, M. and Avgerinou, S. (eds.) Global co-operation in the new millenium: Proceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems (9th), 27-29 June 2001, Bled, Slovenia. Bled: ECIS, pp.706-714

Thompson, M. (2003) "ICT, power, and developmental discourse: a critical analysis." In Wynn, E.H., Whitley, E.A., Myers, M.D. and DeGross, J.I. (eds.) Global and organizational discourse about information technology: IFIP TC8 WG8.2 Working Conference, 12-14 December 2002, Barcelona, Spain. Boston, Mass.: Kluwer Academic, pp.347-373

Thompson, M. and Walsham, G. (2008) "ICT research in Africa: need for a strategic developmental focus." In: Towards an ICT research agenda for African development: IFIP 9.4 Working Conference, 23-24 September 2008, Pretoria, South Africa.

Thompson, M. and Walsham, G. (2009) "Organizational communities of practice: wrong fork in the road?" In: Theorizing Practice in Communities of Practice: EGOS Colloquium, 23rd, 2-4 July, Barcelona, Spain.

Thompson, M. (2009) "Where has everyone gone? Re-integrating people into accounts of organizational practice." In: Cardiff Employment Research Unit (ERU) Annual Conference, 24th, 3-4 September 2009, Cardiff, UK.

Thompson, M. (2009) "Why government IT is your problem, too!" In: EURIM Information Society Alliance Meeting, 24 September 2009, London, UK.

Thompson, M. (2010) "Open standards and innovation in government IT." In: Annual General Meeting of Intellect (UK Technology Trade Association), January 2010, London, UK.

Thompson, M. (2010) "Ontological creep within organisation studies: the case of communities of practice." In: EGOS Colloquium, 26th, 28 June-3 July 2010, Lisbon, Portugal.

Maxwell, L. and Thompson, M. (2010) "How to make government deliver IT savings." In: Intellect Government Group Meeting, 7 December 2010, London.

Thompson, M. (2011) "Digital government, open architecture, and innovation: why nothing can be the same again." In: SOCITM (Society of Information Technology Management) Conference, 1 December 2011, Birmingham NEC, Birmingham, UK.

Thompson, M. (2012) "Killing off the white elephants? Digital government, open architecture, and innovation: why nothing can ever be the same again." In: Gartner PPM Club Meeting, 26 January 2012, Institute of Directors, London.

Thompson, M. (2012) "Digital government, open architecture, and innovation: why nothing can be the same again." In: The Charity and Finance Directors Association (CFDG) Annual IT Conference, 6 March 2012, Royal College of Surgeons, London, UK.

Thompson, M. (2012) "Doing business with SMEs." In: HM Government Public Procurement Briefing 2012: Driving a Culture of Innovation and Enterprise with SMEs, 9 March 2012, One Great George Street, London, UK.

Thompson, M. (2012) "The death of the vertical! What transforming really means." In: Transformation through Technology Conference, 24 May 2012, The Barbican, London, UK.

Thompson, M. (2012) "Keynote panel discussion with Lord Freud, Paula Venellis (Chief Executive of the Post Office) and Lord Erroll on public sector organisational reform." In: Go On: ND2012, National Digital Conference (7th), 30-31 May 2012, Old Billingsgate, London, UK.

Thompson, M. (2012) "The death of the vertical! Grasping cloud's implications for the public sector." In: Govnet Next Steps for Government ICT Conference, 13 September 2012, QE11 Conference Centre, London, UK.

Thompson, M. (2013) "Next steps for public cloud? (Plenary talk)" In: Govnet Next Steps for Government ICT Conference, January 2013.

Thompson, M. (2013) "The death of the vertical: government's new IT strategy (Keynote)." In: Transforming the Public Sector and Focusing on Growth: E-government Conference (Boussias Conferences), 16 May 2013, Athens, Greece.

Thompson, M. (2013) "Going digital (Chair and opening/closing remarks)." In: National Digital Conference, 11-12 June 2013, Congress Centre, London, England.

Thompson, M. (2013) "Digital government and platforms." In: Digital Panel, Labour Party Conference, 23 September 2013, Brighton, UK.

Thompson, M. (2013) "Public ICT for the future (Chair and opening remarks)." In: Govnet Government Technology 2.0 Conference, 25 September 2013, QEII Conference Centre, London, England.

Thompson, M. (2013) "Digital government and platform." In: Digital Panel, Conservative Party Conference, 29 September 2013, Manchester, UK.

Thompson, M. (2013) "Developing digital capacity (Chair and opening/closing remarks)." In: Digital Leaders' Conference, 3-4 December 2013, Microsoft UK, London, England.

Thompson, M. (2014) "Embracing platforms (Chair and opening remarks)." In: Govnet Government ICT 2014 Conference, 14 January 2014, QEII Conference Centre, London, England.

Thompson, M. (2014) "Preparing for political change." In: SOCITM Spring Conference, 9 April 2014, The Barbican, London, UK.

Watch a video of Mark's conference presentation

Thompson, M. (2014) "Digital and the forthcoming election." In: How Technology Can Reinvent Government, Policy Exchange Media Roundtable, 4 April 2014, London, UK.

Komporozos-Athanasiou, A. and Thompson, M. (2014) "A performative framework for measuring accountability in healthcare organizations." In: Biennial International Conference in Organisational Behaviour in Health Care (9th), 23-25 April 2014, Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Working papers

Thompson, M.P.A. (2004) "Confessions of an IS consultant, or, the limitations of structuration theory." Judge Institute of Management, Cambridge University, Research Paper No.2004/1

Thompson, M. (2007) "ICT and development studies: towards development 2.0." Cambridge Judge Business School Working Papers, No.27/2007. Cambridge: University of Cambridge.

Thompson, M. (2009) "Where has everyone gone? Re-integrating people into accounts of organisational practice." Cambridge Judge Business School Working Papers, No.4/2009. Cambridge: University of Cambridge.

Brown, A., Fishenden J. and Thompson, M. (2014) "Revolutionising digital public service delivery: a UK government perspective."

Contact details

Mark Thompson
Cambridge Judge Business School
University of Cambridge
Trumpington Street
Cambridge CB2 1AG
UK

Fax: +44 (0)1223 339701

m.thompson@jbs.cam.ac.uk

blogs.jbs.cam.ac.uk/markthompson

Visit Mark's website  

Latest blog post

Research impact

Preventing the next government IT disaster

From Obamacare to Universal Credit, government has a poor record when it comes to handling major IT projects. Happily research by Dr Mark Thompson is laying the foundations of a new IT strategy which many hope will open up new markets and opportunities for innovation.

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