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The Risk of Computerised Bureaucracy



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Journal of Information System Security
Volume 5, Number 2 (2009)
Pages 325
ISSN 1551-0123
Ian O. Angell — London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
Spyridon Samonas — London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
Information Institute Publishing, Washington DC, USA




This paper claims that computerised systems introduce and impose their own distinct kind of bureaucracy on organisations. We argue that this computerised bureaucracy should be seen as a security risk, which needs tobe seriously considered by IS security practitioners and academics. Through the inhibition of discretion, and to the consequent denial of the principle of requisite variety, this form of bureaucracy represents a very real danger to organisations. In this context, we call for a redefinition of IS security, so that it encompasses the new forms of risk arising from computerised bureaucracy. The paper concludes with certain recommendations regarding trust, innovation and the appropriate use of discretion. A number of illustrative examples are used throughout the paper to support our argumentation.




Discretion, Bureaucracy, Power, Risk, Trust, Information Security




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