Resources, staff beliefs and organizational culture: Factors in the use of information and communication technology for adults with intellectual disabilities

Parsons, Sarah, Daniels, Harry, Porter, Jill and Robertson, Christopher (2008) Resources, staff beliefs and organizational culture: Factors in the use of information and communication technology for adults with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 21, (1), 19-33. (doi:10.1111/j.1468-3148.2007.00361.x).


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Background Access to, and the use of, information and communication technology (ICT) is increasingly becoming a vital component of mainstream life. First-order (e.g. time and money) and second-order factors (e.g. beliefs of staff members) affect the use of ICT in different contexts. It is timely to investigate what these factors may be in the context of service provision for adults with intellectual disabilities given the role ICT could play in facilitating communication and access to information and opportunities as suggested in Valuing People. Method Taking a qualitative approach, nine day service sites within one organization were visited over a period of 6 months to observe ICT-related practice and seek the views of staff members working with adults with intellectual disabilities. All day services were equipped with modern ICT equipment including computers, digital cameras, Internet connections and related peripherals. Results Staff members reported time, training and budget as significant first-order factors. Organizational culture and beliefs about the suitability of technology for older or less able service users were the striking second-order factors mentioned. Despite similar levels of equipment, support and training, ICT use had developed in very different ways across sites. Conclusion The provision of ICT equipment and training is not sufficient to ensure their use; the beliefs of staff members and organizational culture of sites play a substantial role in how ICT is used with and by service users. Activity theory provides a useful framework for considering how first- and second order factors are related. Staff members need to be given clear information about the broader purpose of activities in day services,especially in relation to the lifelong learning agenda, in order to see the relevance and usefulness of ICT resources for all service users.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1111/j.1468-3148.2007.00361.x
ISSNs: 1468-3148 (electronic)
1360-2322 (print)
Keywords: activity theory, adults, day services, information and communication technology, lifelong learning, person-centred planning, social inclusion, staff members
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > L Education (General)
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Education > Social Justice and Inclusive Education
ePrint ID: 170815
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
January 2008Published
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2011 09:45
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:31

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