Power and Ethics in IS Evaluation

Power and Ethics in IS Evaluation

José-Rodrigo Córdoba (University of Hull, UK) and Wendy Robson (University of Hull, UK)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-564-1.ch013
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Abstract

In this chapter, we widen the perspective on power as an issue in the practice of information systems (IS) evaluation. Power is frequently seen as a resource that some people have and some do not. Therefore it is primarily discussed in the context of IS development methodologies and little is said about power in evaluation. Based on Michel Foucault’s ideas, we discuss the role(s) of power and ethics strategies in the evaluation of information systems plans. Reflections from practice of an evaluation at Javeriana University in Colombia led us to identify some salient features of ethics and power in IS evaluation, which we could use to inform further IS evaluation exercises. The experience also led us to acknowledge two layers of power that influenced the evaluation: An institutional level and an “emerging” local level. At the time of the evaluation, these layers exhibited their own mechanisms by which information systems projects were defined, justified, implemented, and evaluated at the organization. These layers also influenced the ethics of evaluators. Recognising their existence could influence the strategies that evaluators define to deal with issues that emerge in the process of information systems development and implementation.

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