Critical Thinking and Human Centered Methods in Information Systems

Critical Thinking and Human Centered Methods in Information Systems

Lorraine Warren (University of Lincolnshire and Humberside, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-878289-64-3.ch012
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Abstract

Over the last four decades, information technology (IT) has permeated almost every aspect of our lives. From its origins in the data processing (DP) departments of large organisations, where bureaucratic operations were automated on mainframe computers, IT has penetrated ever further into all kinds of organisational activity, largely due to the accessibility of the personal computer (PC) in the 1980s and the 1990s. Beyond that, IT is also involved in many aspects of our everyday lives, such as education, leisure and entertainment, now that the boundaries between traditional telecommunications technologies and computer-based systems effectively no longer exist. This permeation has meant that the range of people now closely involved with IT on a regular basis has expanded far beyond the white-coated experts in the early DP departments, with terms such as ‘the information society’ in common parlance. It is therefore hardly surprising that the discipline of information systems (IS) emerged and is now evolving to meet the challenge of analysis and design in this complex and dynamic social environment. Nor is it surprising that IS is moving on from its early emphasis on highly structured formal methods of analysis and design, designed to cope with the machine-like preoccupations of the data processing world, to a far softer, human-centred focus. There is clearly an agenda for improvement for IS; although the notions of success and failure may be problematic in themselves, we hear of IS ‘failures’ which make the evening news at depressingly regular intervals — Y2K, the UK air traffic control project at West Drayton, the recent Passport Agency fiasco, for example. More generally, a wide-ranging (14,000 organisations) survey in the UK carried out by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Department of Trade and Industry (OASIG, 1996) concerning the outcomes of IT investments makes worrying reading, reporting that:

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Table of Contents
Preface
Steve Clarke, Brian Lehaney
Chapter 1
Steve Clarke, Brian Lehaney
This chapter seeks to cast light on the commonly encountered ‘human-centred’ versus ‘technology’ debate in information systems (IS: Clarke and... Sample PDF
Introduction: Information Systems as Constrained Variety-Issues and Scope
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Chapter 2
Andrew Wenn
This chapter describes some aspects of the development of VICNET, an assemblage of computers, cables, modems, people, texts, libraries, buildings... Sample PDF
Topological Transformations: The Co-Construction of an Open System
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Chapter 3
M. Gordon Hunter
There is evidence which suggests the software crisis still exists and is negatively impacting both information systems (IS) development and... Sample PDF
Excellent Systems Analysts: A Grounded Theory Approach to Qualitative Research
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Chapter 4
W. Hutchinson
Development techniques almost always use top-down approaches to develop software and business systems. Humans need to simplify the external world by... Sample PDF
Bottom-Up Management and System Design
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Chapter 5
Jonathan K. Lazar, Anthony F. Norcio
Errors are a major problem for users. In the distant past, the users of computer technology often were limited to computer professionals with... Sample PDF
System and Training Design for End-User Error
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Chapter 6
Ruth V. Small, Marilyn P. Arnone
As millions of people “search-and-surf “ the Internet, seeking needed products and services or just exploring to see “what’s out there,” businesses... Sample PDF
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Web Sites
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Chapter 7
Simon Bell
Information technology (IT) projects regularly fail. IT projects fail rapidly, spectacularly and with monotonous regularity. IT and related... Sample PDF
Vulnerability and the Aware IS Practitioner: A Reflexive Discourse on Unfinished Business
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Chapter 8
Dianne Willis, Elayne Coakes
This chapter looks at the use of enabling technology, in particular the Internet, to share experiences of socio-technical thinking and practice.... Sample PDF
Enabling Technology for Collaborative Working: A Socio-Technical Experience
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Chapter 9
Gill Mallalieu, Steve Clarke
The idea of the ‘wicked problem’ (Churchman, 1967), which advocates a pragmatic oscillation between problem and solution, rather than an attempt to... Sample PDF
Information Systems as Wicked Problems
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Chapter 10
E. Vance Wilson, Joline P. Morrison
A key determinant in the success of computer-mediated communication systems (CMCS) and group support systems (GSS) is the task they are used for... Sample PDF
A Measuring of Task-Technology Fit for Computer-Mediated Communication
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Chapter 11
Elizabeth J. Davidson
Metaphors have long pervaded the discourse around information technology (IT) design (Johnson, 1994), helping developers to conceptualize... Sample PDF
The Metaphorical Implications of Data Warehousing
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Chapter 12
Lorraine Warren
Over the last four decades, information technology (IT) has permeated almost every aspect of our lives. From its origins in the data processing (DP)... Sample PDF
Critical Thinking and Human Centered Methods in Information Systems
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Chapter 13
Jose Rodrigo Cordoba, Gerald Midgley, Diego Ricardo Torres
Current practice in strategic information systems (IS) planning seems to be focused on surfacing an organisation’s vision and goals, exploring the... Sample PDF
Rethinking Stakeholder Involvement: An Application of the Theories of Autopoiesis and Boundary Critique to IS Planning
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About the Authors