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Scope of Work

Current Progress

With the completion of the final data collection phase of the MIII project, CTG is currently analyzing the results from our national survey and continuing to develop various results-oriented academic and practitioner publications. These publications are drawing from this analysis along with the rest of the extensive research data collected throughout this project. Please visit the MIII Results & Publications page to view existing papers, articles, and other publications and check back periodically for future products.

Project Background

Integrating and sharing information in multi-organizational government settings involves complex interactions within social and technological contexts. It also involves new work processes and significant organizational change. Initiatives to improve the integration and sharing of information in these settings are embedded in larger political and institutional environments that shape their goals and circumscribe their choices. The purpose of this research is to develop and test dynamic models of information integration in these settings.

The research set out to address three basic questions:
  1. What are the critical factors and processes involved in integrating information across levels and agencies in government? In particular, how do IT and social factors interact to influence the effectiveness of interorganizational information integration?
  2. How do the factors and processes vary for different types and degrees of integration?
  3. Can the processes of integration be modeled in ways that improve understanding of information system development and of interorganizational collaboration? Do these models contribute to new theoretical insights for developing and implementing advanced information technology?
The multi-year research program has concentrated on integration activities in two critical policy areas: justice and public health since they include a full range of functions across all three levels of government. These also are areas in which significant integration initiatives are underway and available for study. Federal, state, and local government agencies are collaborating in the research, as are organizations of government professionals concerned with information technology.

Understanding and supporting information integration is a multidisciplinary undertaking. The project therefore combines perspectives from organizational behavior, computer and information science, and political science. Two forms of modeling are being used: system dynamics modeling that emphasizes the temporal and feedback aspects of the process, and social process modeling that emphasizes the way collaboration and shared meanings are developed. These methods build on prior work of the investigators in interorganizational knowledge sharing, collaboration, and government technology innovation. The result will be new models of interorganizational information integration processes that can support system development, and lead to further research and education in the related disciplines.

The research was conducted in three overlapping phases:
  1. Phase one included two intensive integration projects: one with the leading state-level criminal justice agencies in New York to help them develop a governance structure for statewide criminal justice information sharing initiatives; and one with the New York State Department of Health and related state and local agencies involving a retrospective study of the state’s response to the 1999 West Nile virus outbreak and planning for the reemergence of the virus in 2000. This work was conducted starting in the summer of 2003 and continued through the spring of 2004.
  2. Phase two included six additional case studies to observe ongoing integration initiatives and to interview key actors; still within the public health and criminal justice policy arenas. This work was conducted in the first half of 2004 and involved the states of Colorado (public health and criminal justice), Connecticut (public health), North Carolina (criminal justice), Oregon (public health), and New York City (criminal justice).
  3. Phase three included a national survey designed to test the models of integration developed based on the results of phases one and two. The model development work began in summer of 2004 and the final survey was administered in early 2008.