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Copyright 2012 1 A Perspective on The Future of the IS Discipline ACIS – 5 December 2013 Geelong Roger Clarke Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, Canberra Visiting.

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Presentation on theme: "Copyright 2012 1 A Perspective on The Future of the IS Discipline ACIS – 5 December 2013 Geelong Roger Clarke Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, Canberra Visiting."— Presentation transcript:

1 Copyright A Perspective on The Future of the IS Discipline ACIS – 5 December 2013 Geelong Roger Clarke Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, Canberra Visiting Professor in Computer Science, ANU and in Cyberspace Law & Policy, UNSW

2 Copyright An Information System A set of interacting artefacts and human activities that performs one or more functions involving the handling of data and information, including data collection, creation, editing, processing and storage; and information selection, filtering, aggregration, presentation and use

3 Copyright The Information Systems Discipline The multi-disciplinary study of the collection, processing and storage of data; of the use of information by individuals and groups, especially within an organisational context; and of the impact, implications and management of artefacts and technologies applied to those activities The scope of the information systems area is broad, both organisational and technical Graduates, practitioners and academics require grounding in, and ongoing association with, several cognate disciplines (1990 – 2090?)

4 Copyright (1992)

5 Copyright Alternative Foci for Research Process incl. Applications of Technology How did / does / will it work? Adoption, Impediments How did /does / will it come to be used? Impact What were / are / will be its 1st-order effects? Implications What were / are / will be its 2nd-order effects?

6 Copyright Alternative Perspectives and Units of Study An Org'l Sub-Unit An Organisation An Industry Sector or Value-Chain An Economy A Nation-State Technology Research in organisational contexts Rational Management Research – Technology as an intervention into organisational settings

7 Copyright Alternative Perspectives and Units of Study An Org'l Sub-Unit An Organisation An Industry Sector or Value-Chain An Economy A Nation-State A Person A Group of People A Society Humanity The Biosphere...

8 Copyright Alternative Motivations for Research Pure Research Because its there Contribute to abstract, theoretical understanding Applied Research I have a hammer, so go and find me a nail Instrumentalist Research I have a problem, so go and find me a solution Policy Research Heres a solution, so whats the problem?

9 Copyright Conventional, Scientific Research Key Features Investigates Research Questions within a Domain Is driven by Theories that: (Ideally) are founded on Axioms (Ideally) comprise trees of Deductive Inference Generate refutable Hypotheses Is designed to Test the Hypotheses Exercises Control over confounding variables Leads to Theory Extension, Refinement or Anomaly

10 Copyright Conventional Scientific Research Corollaries Anomaly accumulation should be gradual Rigour is paramount, in order to build Theory Because the primary purpose is Rigour, Relevance has to be a secondary consideration Unstable phenomena are highly inconvenient Perturbable phenomena are as well

11 Copyright Understanding is needed of the world that's emerging around us, not the one being left behind Unstable and Perturbable Phenomena are not amenable to highly rigorous empirical research Relevance must be the primary criterion, with Rigour as an important constraint An Instrumentalist approach is needed, not elegant theoretical constructs, 'validation' inside imaginary worlds, and intellectualised discourses about them Propositions

12 Copyright A Future for the IS Discipline Abandon the Existential Angst Focus on Data and Information, not I(C)T Technology is second-order, not disciplinary core Encompass Analysis, not just Design Stop worshipping the God called Rigour and get back to balance against Relevance Extend beyond Applications to Implications Stop ceding Policy-Relevant Research to other, less timid disciplines


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