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Michael Barrett

Michael Barrett

Professor of Information Systems & Innovation Studies
Fellow of Hughes Hall

BSc (University of the West Indies), MSc (University of Ottawa), MBA (McMaster University), PhD (University of Cambridge)

Research interests

The role of social theory and discourse in understanding technology enabled processes of innovation and organisational change; longitudinal case study research using interpretive and multi-methods approaches; knowledge exchange in cross-cultural and multidisciplinary teams; service innovation in healthcare; use of mobile infrastructures to enable social innovation in emerging economies; open and collaborative innovation in financial markets; managing offshoring relationships. 

Subject group: Organisational Theory & Information Systems

Professional experience

Michael is a member of the Steering Board of the Cambridge Service Alliance and a member of the Management Executive Group of the Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care at Cambridge University. He has served as Director of Programmes and as Director of the Innovation, Strategy & Organisation Programme at Cambridge Judge Business School. He is Co-Editor of a Special Issue of MIS Quarterly on Service Innovation in a Digital Age, Senior Editor of Information & Organization and Senior Editor of the Journal of the Association of Information Systems. Michael has served as an Associate Editor of MIS Quarterly, Information Systems Research and is a member of the Editorial Board of Organization Science. He has contributed to articles in The Economist, The Times, and The Financial Post, and has served as an external examiner at Oxford University, the University of Edinburgh and the London School of Economics.

Michael has worked as an industrial engineer for Colgate Palmolive and won the Most Valuable Employee award for consulting and business development at Oracle Canada. He continues to work closely in research and executive education for a number of organisations, including Bank of China, China Mobile, BT, IBM, HP, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Coventry Building Society, Shell Exploration, and the World Health Organization.

Michael is currently an implementation theme co-lead on a CLAHRC (Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care) multidisciplinary grant with the Department of Psychiatry, Engineering Design, and Public Health. The focus of this research in mental health is enabling service innovation through knowledge exchange. He is also the School's sponsor of the business models work on complex services in the Cambridge Service Alliance. He is also passionate about the use of mobile and other information technologies for business model innovation in emerging economies. Michael has researched the role of collaborative innovation between large and small hi-tech firms in the development of MPESA for financial inclusion in Kenya. He was recently commissioned by the World Bank to co-author a report on the use of information technologies, for improving access and affordability of rural workers in agriculture.

Previous appointments

Michael has held visiting appointments at MIT (2006) and the London School of Economics (2000). Prior to joining Cambridge Judge Business School, he was an assistant professor in information systems at the University of Alberta (1996-2001), and an Adjunct Professor at the International Institute of Qualitative Methodology (1999-2001), also at the University of Alberta.

Awards & honours

  • Runner-up, Best Published Paper, Academy of Management, OCIS Division (for Barrett, M., Oborn, E., Orlikowski, W. and Yates, J. (2012) "Reconfiguring boundary relations: robotic innovations in pharmacy work." Organization Science, 23(5): 1448-1466), 2013
  • European Case Award in the category 'Knowledge, Information and Communication Systems Management', 2012
  • Best Interactive Paper Award, OCIS Division, Academy of Management, 2011
  • European Case Award in the category 'Knowledge, Information and Communication Systems Management', 2008
  • IBM Faculty Award, 2003
  • IBM Faculty Fellowship
  • Best Paper Award, OCIS Division, Academy of Management, 1999
  • Mackenzie Undergraduate Teaching Award, University of Alberta, 1998
  • JD Muir Fellowship, University of Alberta, 1998
  • Centre for International Business Research Fellowship, University of Alberta, 1998
  • Xerox Research Fellowship, University of Alberta, 1996
  • Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholar, 1992-1995
  • Most Valuable Employee, Oracle Canada, 1991
  • CIDA McMaster Scholarship, 1988-1989
  • Canadian Information Processing Society Scholarship, 1989-1990
  • Commonwealth Scholarship, 1985-1988

Selected publications

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

Constantinides, P. and Barrett, M. (2015) "Information infrastructure development and governance as collective action." Information Systems Research, 26(1): 40-56 (DOI: 10.1287/isre.2014.0542)

Salge, T.O., Kohli, R. and Barrett, M. (2015) "Investing in information systems: on the behavioral and institutional search mechanisms underpinning hospitals' IS investment decisions." MIS Quarterly, 39(1): 61-90

Barrett, M., Davidson, E., Prabhu, J. and Vargo, S. (2015) "Service innovation in the digital age: key contributions and future directions." MIS Quarterly, 39(1): 135-154

Barrett, M., Oborn, E., Orlikowski, W. and Yates, J. (2012) "Reconfiguring boundary relations: robotic innovations in pharmacy work." Organization Science, 23(5): 1448-1466 (DOI: 10.1287/orsc.1100.0639)

Heracleous, L. and Barrett, M. (2001) "Organizational change as discourse: communicative actions and deep structures in the context of information technology implementation." Academy of Management Journal, 44(4): 755-778

Barrett, M. and Walsham, G. (1999) "Electronic trading and work transformation in the London Insurance Market." Information Systems Research, 10(1): 1-22

Journal articles

Barrett, M. and Walsham, G. (1995) "Managing IT for business innovation: issues of culture, learning, and leadership in a Jamaican insurance company." Journal of Global Information Management, 3(3): 25-33

Barrett, M. and Walsham, G. (1995) "Using IT to support business innovation: a case study of the London Insurance Market." Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems, 7(2): 3-21

Barrett, M., Sahay, S. and Drummond, A. (1996) "Cross-cultural issues in international software projects: the use of information systems personnel as expatriates." SEAMAIL, 10(8)

Barrett, M. (1999) "Challenges of EDI adoption for electronic trading in the London Insurance Market." European Journal of Information Systems, 8(1): 1-15

Barrett, M. and Walsham, G. (1999) "Electronic trading and work transformation in the London Insurance Market." Information Systems Research, 10(1): 1-22

Heracleous, L. and Barrett, M. (2001) "Organizational change as discourse: communicative actions and deep structures in the context of information technology implementation." Academy of Management Journal, 44(4): 755-778

Barrett, M. (2001) "Expert commentaries: the urge to merge." European Management Journal, 19(4): 438-442

Barrett, M., Sahay, S. and Walsham, G. (2001) "Information technology and social transformation: GIS for forestry management in India." Information Society, 17(1): 5-20

Morse, J.M., Barrett, M., Mayan, M., Olson, K. and Spiers, J. (2002) "Verification strategies for establishing reliability and validity in qualitative research." International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 1(2): 1-19

Barrett, M., Jarvenpaa, S., Silva, L. and Walsham, G. (2003) "ICTs, globalization and local diversity." Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 11: 486-497

Gendron, Y. and Barrett, M. (2004) "Professionalization in action: accountants' attempt at building a network of support for the Webtrust Seal of Assurance." Contemporary Accounting Research, 21(3): 563-602

Barrett, M. and Scott, S. (2004) "Electronic trading and the process of globalization in traditional futures exchanges: a temporal perspective." European Journal of Information Systems, 13(1): 65-79

Barrett, M., Cappleman, S., Shoib, G. and Walsham, G. (2004) "Learning in knowledge communities: managing technology and context." European Management Journal, 22(1): 1-11

Barrett, M., Cooper, D.J. and Jamal, K. (2005) "Globalization and the coordinating of work in multinational audits." Accounting, Organizations and Society, 30(1): 1-24

Scott, S.V. and Barrett, M.I. (2005) "Strategic risk positioning as sensemaking in crisis: the adoption of electronic trading at the London international financial futures and options exchange." Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 14(1): 45-68

Barrett, M., Fryatt, B., Walsham, G. and Joshi, S. (2005) "Building bridges between local and global knowledge: new ways of working at the World Health Organisation." Knowledge Management for Development Journal (KM4D), 1(2): 31-46

Constantinides, P. and Barrett, M. (2006) "Negotiating ICT development and use: the case of a regional telemedicine system in the healthcare region of Crete." Information and Organization, 16(1): 27-55

Barrett, M., Grant, D. and Wailes, N. (2006) "ICT and organizational change: introduction to the special issue." Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 42(1): 6-22

Constantinides, P. and Barrett, M. (2006) "Large-scale ICT innovation, power, and organizational change: the case of a regional health information network." Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 42(1): 76-90

Barrett, M. and Gendron, Y. (2006) "WebTrust and the 'commercialistic auditor': the unrealized vision of developing auditor trustworthiness in cyberspace." Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 19(5): 631-662 (DOI: 10.1108/09513570610689640)

Joshi, S., Barrett, M., Walsham, G. and Cappleman, S. (2007) "Balancing local knowledge within global organisations through computer-based systems: an activity theory approach." Journal of Global Information Management, 15(3): 1-19

Oborn, E. and Barrett, M. (2008) "The adoption of dispensing technology: an occasion for restructuring hospital pharmacy work." International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 16(2): 109-114 (DOI: 10.1211/ijpp.16.2.0008)

Vogl, P. and Barrett, M. (2010) "Regulating the information gatekeepers." Communications of the ACM, 53(11): 67-72 (DOI: 10.1145/1839676.1839695)

Oborn, E. and Barrett, M. (2010) "Boundary object use in cross-cultural software development teams." Human Relations, 63(8): 1199-1221 (DOI: 10.1177/0018726709355657)

Komporozos-Athanasiou, A., Oborn, E., Barrett, M. and Chan Y.E. (2011) "Policy as a struggle for meaning: disentangling knowledge translation across international health contexts." Knowledge Management Research and Practice, 9(3): 215–227 (DOI: 10.1057/kmrp.2011.20)

Oborn, E., Barrett, M. and Davidson, E. (2011) "Unity in diversity: electronic patient record use in multidisciplinary practice." Information Systems Research, 22(3): 547-564 (DOI: 10.1287/isre.1110.0372)

Oborn, E., Barrett, M. and Darzi, A. (2011) "Robots and service innovation in healthcare." Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, 16(1): 46-50 (DOI: 10.1258/jhsrp.2010.010001)

Constantinides, P. and Barrett, M. (2012) "A narrative networks approach to understanding coordination practices in emergency response." Information and Organization, 22(4): 273-294 (DOI: 10.1016/j.infoandorg.2012.07.001)

Oborn, E., Barrett, M. and Exworthy, M. (2011) "Policy entrepreneurship in the development of public sector strategy: the case of London health reform." Public Administration, 89(2): 325-344 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9299.2010.01889.x)

Barrett, M., Oborn, E., Orlikowski, W. and Yates, J. (2012) "Reconfiguring boundary relations: robotic innovations in pharmacy work." Organization Science, 23(5): 1448-1466 (DOI: 10.1287/orsc.1100.0639)

Zachariadis, M., Oborn, E., Barrett, M. and Zollinger-Read, P. (2013) "Leadership of healthcare commissioning networks in England: a mixed-methods study on clinical commissioning groups." BMJ Open, 3(2): e002112 (DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002112)

Oborn, E., Barrett, M., Prince, K. and Racko, G. (2013) "Balancing exploration and exploitation in transferring research into practice: a comparison of five knowledge translation entity archetypes." Implementation Science, 8: 104 (DOI: 10.1186/1748-5908-8-104)

Oborn, E., Barrett, M. and Racko, G. (2013) "Knowledge translation in healthcare: incorporating theories of learning and knowledge from the management literature." Journal of Health Organization and Management, 27(4): 412-231 (DOI: 10.1108/JHOM-01-2012-0004)

Salge, T.O., Farchi, T., Barrett, M.I. and Dopson, S. (2013) "When does search openness really matter? A contingency study of health-care innovation projects." Journal of Product Innovation Management, 30(4): 659-676 (DOI: 10.1111/jpim.12015)

Barrett, M. and Oborn, E. (2013) "Envisioning E-HRM and strategic HR: taking seriously identity, innovative practice, and service." Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 22(3): 252–256 (DOI: 10.1016/j.jsis.2013.07.002)

Barrett, M., Heracleous, L. and Walsham, G. (2013) "A rhetorical approach to IT diffusion: reconceptualizing the ideology-framing relationship in computerization movements." MIS Quarterly, 37(1): 201-220

Zachariadis, M., Scott, S. and Barrett, M. (2013) "Methodological implications of critical realism for mixed-methods research." MIS Quarterly, 37(3): 855-879

Oborn, E., Barrett, M. and Dawson, S. (2013) "Distributed leadership in policy formulation: a sociomaterial perspective." Organization Studies, 34(2): 253-276 (DOI: 10.1177/0170840612473552)

Prince, K., Barrett, M. and Oborn, E. (2014) "Dialogical strategies for orchestrating strategic innovation networks: the case of the Internet of Things." Information and Organization, 24(2): 106-127 (DOI: 10.1016/j.infoandorg.2014.05.001)

Venters, W., Oborn, E. and Barrett, M. (2014) "A trichordal temporal approach to digital coordination: the sociomaterial mangling of the CERN grid." MIS Quarterly, 38(3): 927-949

Constantinides, P. and Barrett, M. (2015) "Information infrastructure development and governance as collective action." Information Systems Research, 26(1): 40-56 (DOI: 10.1287/isre.2014.0542)

Farrington, C., Clare, I.C.H., Holland, A.J., Barrett, M. and Oborn, E. (2015) "Knowledge exchange and integrated services: experiences from an integrated community intellectual (learning) disability service for adults." Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 59(3): 238–247 (DOI: 10.1111/jir.12131)

Salge, T.O., Kohli, R. and Barrett, M. (2015) "Investing in information systems: on the behavioral and institutional search mechanisms underpinning hospitals' IS investment decisions." MIS Quarterly, 39(1): 61-90

Barrett, M., Davidson, E., Prabhu, J. and Vargo, S. (2015) "Service innovation in the digital age: key contributions and future directions." MIS Quarterly, 39(1): 135-154

Barrett, M., Oborn, E. and Orlikowski, W. (2016) "Creating value in online communities: the sociomaterial configuring of strategy, platform, and stakeholder engagement." Information Systems Research (DOI: 10.1287/isre.2016.0648) (published online Sep 2016; forthcoming in print)

Books, monographs, reports & case studies

Barrett, M. (2002) "London insurance market." European Case Clearing House (ECCH): 904-047-1.

Barrett, M. (2004) "London insurance market (C)." European Case Clearing House.

Barrett, M. (2004) "London insurance market (B)." European Case Clearing House.

Barrett, M. and Prince, K. (2006) "The EPC Network (I): putting RFID into action in the retail supply chain." European Case Clearing House.

Constantinides, P. and Barrett, M. (2006) "Healthnet: scaling-up innovation in the healthcare region of Crete." European Case Clearing House.

Barrett, M., Davidson, E., Middleton, C., and DeGross, J.I. (eds.) (2008) Information technology in the service economy: challenges and possibilities for the 21st century. Boston, MA: Springer.

Barrett, M. (2008) "Offshoring and innovation at Globalco: negotiating a win-win strategy for the outsourcing relationship." European Case Clearing House.

Kouroubali, A., Constantinides, P. and Barrett, M. (2009) "ICT and service innovation in the emergency care sector of Crete." European Case Clearing House (ECCH).

Book chapters

Krishna, S., Ojha, A.K. and Barrett, M. (2000) "Competitive advantage in the software industry: an analysis of the Indian experience." In Avgerou, C. and Walsham, G. (eds.): Information technology in context: studies from the perspective of developing countries. Aldershot: Ashgate, pp.182-197

Barrett, M. and Walsham, G. (2004) "Making contributions from interpretive case studies: examining processes of construction and use." In: Kaplan, B., Truex III, D.P., Wastell, D., Wood-Harper, A.T. and DeGross, J.I. (eds.) Information systems research: relevant theory and informed practice. Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp.293-314

Constantinides, P. and Barrett, M. (2005) "Approaching information infrastructure as an ecology of ubiquitous sociotechnical relations." In: Sorensen, C., Yoo, Y., Lyytinen, K. and DeGross, J.I. (eds.) Designing ubiquitous information environments: sociotechnical issues and challenges. New York: Springer Science & Business Media Inc., pp.249-260

Barrett, M. (2006) "ICTs, organizational change and new modes of organizing." In Salazar, A.J. and Sawyer, S. (eds.): Handbook of information technology in organizations and electronic markets. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing, pp.39-55

Barrett, M., and Davidson, E. (2008) "Exploring the diversity of service worlds in the service economy." In Barrett, M., Davidson, E., Middleton, C., and DeGross, J.I. (eds.): Information technology in the service economy: challenges and possibilities for the 21st century. Boston, MA: Springer, pp.1-10

Barrett, M., Hinings, C.R. and Oborn, E. (2008) "Legitimacy management and trust in offshoring IT services." In Barrett, M., Davidson, E., Middleton, C., and DeGross, J.I. (eds.): Information technology in the service economy: challenges and possibilities for the 21st century. Boston, MA: Springer, pp.283-300

Barrett M. and Oborn E. (2008) "Global sourcing in a developing country context: organizing IS resources to develop local knowledge." In Heinzl, A., Hirschheim, R., Winkler, J. and Dibbern, J. (eds.): Information systems outsourcing: enduring themes, new perspectives and global challenges. Springer, 3rd edition. (DOI: 10.1007/978-3-540-88851-2)

Barrett, M. and Oborn, E. (2010) "Challenges of using IT to support multi-disciplinary team decision making." In: Nutt, P.C. and Wilson, D.C. (eds.) Blackwell handbook of decision making. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, pp.403-430

Miani, C., Zachariadis, M., Oborn, E. and Barrett, M. (2012) "Knowledge and collaboration in multi-hub networks: orchestration processes among clinical commissioning groups in the UK." In: Liebowitz, J. (ed.) Knowledge management handbook: collaboration and social networking. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor and Francis, 2nd edition, pp.11-28

Oborn, E., Barrett, M., Komporozos-Athanasiou, A. and Chan, Y.E. (2012) "Discourse in health care policy: comparing UK and Canada." In: Dickinson, H. and Mannion, R. (eds.) The reform of health care: shaping, adapting and resisting policy developments. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, pp.109-121

Oborn, E., Barrett, M. and Staples, B. (2014) "Multi-disciplinary collaboration: bridging professional differences for service improvement in adolescent mental health care." In: Borkowski, N. and Deckard, G. (eds.) Case studies in organizational behavior and theory for health care. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning, pp.9-25

Conference papers

Barrett, M., Sahay, S. and Walsham, G. (1996) "Understanding IT and social transformation: development and illustration of a conceptual scheme." In DeGross, J.I., Jarvenpaa, S. and Srinivasan, A. (eds.) Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems (17th), 16-18 December 1998, Cleveland, Ohio, USA. New York: ACM Press, pp.42-50

Barrett, M. and Heracleous, L. (1999) "Understanding globalization as a structurational process in the context of the London Insurance Market." In Havlovic, S.J. (ed.) Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management: Best Papers (59th), 6-11 August 1999, Chicago, Illinois, USA. New York: Academy of Management, pp.A1-A6

Barrett, M. and Scott, S. (2000) "The emergence of electronic trading in global financial markets: envisioning the role of futures exchanges in the next millenium." In Hansen, H., Bichler, M. and Mahrer, H. (eds.) ECIS 2000: a cyberspace odyssey: Proceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems (8th), 3-5 July 2000, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Vienna, Austria. Vienna: Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, pp.717-722

Barrett, M. and Scott, S. (2001) "Electronic trading and the transformation of futures exchanges in global work times." In Quattrone, P. (ed.) Rethinking globalization and standardization: Proceedings of the International Conference on Spacing and Timing, 1-3 November 2001, Palermo, Italy.

Barrett, M., Cooper, D.J. and Jamal, K. (2001) "Managing across the 'friction of space' in auditing." In Quattrone, P. (ed.) Rethinking globalization and standardization: Proceedings of the International Conference on Spacing and Timing, 1-3 November 2001, Palermo, Italy.

Scott, S.V. and Barrett, M.I. (2002) "The development of electronic trading in the futures industry: strategic risk positioning in a globalising age." In: Social Studies of Finance Conference, 3-4 May 2002, Columbia University, New York.

Barrett, M., Heracleous, L., Orlikowski, W., Panteli, N. (2003) "Discourse and organizational transformation in information systems research." In Wynn, E.H., Whitley, E.A., Myers, M.D., De Gross, J.I.: IFIP WG8 Working Conference on Global and Organizational Discourse about Information Technology, 12-14 Dec 2002, Barcelona, Spain. Norwell, Mass.: Kluwer, pp.533-538

Barrett, M. and Walsham, G. (2004) "Making contributions from interpretive case studies: examining processes of construction and use." In Kaplan, B., Truex III, D.P., Wastell, D., and DeGross, J.I. (eds.) Relevant theory and informed practice: looking forward from a 20-year perspective on IS research: IFIP TC8 WG8.2 20th Year Retrospective, 15-17 July 2004, Manchester, England. Dordrecht: Kluwer, pp.293-314

Prince, K. and Barrett, M. (2005) "Privacy implications of technology innovation processes." In: Forever new frontiers: International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), 11-14 December 2005, Las Vegas, NV.

Working papers

Barrett, M. and Scott, S. (1999) "The emergence of electronic trading in global financial markets: envisioning the role of futures exchanges in the next millenium." Information Systems Department, London School of Economics and Political Science, Working Paper No.73

Walsham, G. and Barrett, M. (2005) "ICTs and changing processes of knowing in a global development agency." Judge Institute of Management Working Papers, No.02/2005

Joshi, S., Barrett, M., Walsham, G. and Cappleman, S. (2006) "In search of balance: local knowledge within global organisations." Cambridge Judge Business School Working Papers, No.09/2006. Cambridge: University of Cambridge.

Barrett, M., Oborn, E., Orlikowski, W. and Yates, J. (2007) "Boundary relations: technological objects and the restructuring of workplace boundaries." Cambridge Judge Business School Working Papers, No.16/2007. Cambridge: University of Cambridge.

Barrett, M., Constantinides, P. and Oborn, E. (2007) "Accomplishing institutional work: the role of visibility in multidisciplinary service innovation." Cambridge Judge Business School Working Papers, No.17/2007. Cambridge: University of Cambridge.

Barrett, M. and Oborn, E. (2007) "Knowledge sharing in cross-cultural software teams." Cambridge Judge Business School Working Papers, No.18/2007. Cambridge: University of Cambridge.

Barrett, M., Joshi, S. and Walsham, G. (2007) "Institutional entrepreneurship in the Linux certification field: the role of discursive strategies and social positioning." Cambridge Judge Business School Working Papers, No.21/2007. Cambridge: University of Cambridge.

Zachariadis, M., Scott, S. and Barrett, M. (2010) "Exploring critical realism as the theoretical foundation of mixed-method research: evidence from the economics of IS innovations." Judge Business School Working Papers, No.03/2010. Cambridge: University of Cambridge.

Velu, C., Barrett, M., Kohli, R. and Salge, T.O. (2010) "Thriving in open innovation ecosystems: toward a collaborative market orientation." Judge Business School Working Papers, No.04/2010. Cambridge: University of Cambridge.

Oborn, E., Barrett, M. and Racko, G. (2010) "Knowledge translation in healthcare: a review of the literature." Judge Business School Working Papers, No.05/2010. Cambridge: University of Cambridge.

Orlikowski, W. and Barrett, M. (2014) "Digital innovation in emerging markets: a case study of mobile money." MIT Sloan Management Center for Information Systems Research Briefings. Cambridge, MA: MIT Sloan.

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Contact details

Michael Barrett
Cambridge Judge Business School
University of Cambridge
Trumpington Street
Cambridge CB2 1AG
UK

Tel: +44 (0)1223 339600
Fax: +44 (0)1223 339701

m.barrett@jbs.cam.ac.uk