Development of Decision Support Tools for Urban Water Supply Management in Uganda
2008 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
In this study, five real-life problem situations were used to explore the challenges of developing and implementing decision support tools for management of an urban water utility in Uganda. The study sought to explore how the degree of adoption of formal decision support tools in practice, generally perceived to be low, could be improved. In the study, an Action Research (AR) approach was used. AR is an inquiry process that involves partnership between researchers and practitioners for the purpose of addressing a real-life problem issue, while simultaneously gener-ating scientific knowledge. Unlike other research methods where the researcher seeks to study organizational phenomena but not to change them, the action researcher attempts to create or-ganizational change and simultaneously to study the process. It is recognized that AR methods provide a potential avenue to improve the practical relevance of Information Systems (IS) re-search.
The five cases that were considered in the study involved participatory problem structuring to address water distribution bottlenecks; identification of Non-Revenue Water (NRW) reduction strategies; facilitation of decentralized management of customer accounts; monitoring and con-trol of procurements and expenditure; and geospatial investigation of declining water sales. Dur-ing the study, participation in problem identification was achieved through discussions and brain-storming sessions bringing together top and middle managers within the organization. A number of prototype decision support tools were developed and implemented. Maps and other geovisu-alization tools were also used to inform and enhance the processes of collective problem identifi-cation and structuring.
Results of the study emphasized the need for proper problem structuring prior to the formula-tion of actions; the challenge of moving from planning to action; the importance of user in-volvement in the development of tools; and the need to manage IS implementation as part of a holistic, organization-wide change process. The challenges of embedding formal decision support within existing work systems in organizations were highlighted, and recommendations were made on how best to achieve this. The AR approach was found to be useful in bridging the gap be-tween academic research and technological practice, thus supporting the development of IS with immediate and practical benefits to organizations.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2008. , x, 36 p.
Trita-LWR. LIC, ISSN 1650-8629 ; 2041
Decision support systems, Participatory decision-making, Geovisualization, Non-revenue water, Geostatistics, Action research
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4803ISBN: 978-91-7415-018-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-4803DiVA: diva2:14054
2008-06-13, V3, KTH, Teknikringen 72, Stockholm, 13:15
Ogao, Patrick, Assoc. Prof.
QC 201011152008-06-042008-06-042010-11-15Bibliographically approved
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