Reframing Information System Design as Learning Across Communities of Practice

Reframing Information System Design as Learning Across Communities of Practice

Kevin Gallagher (Northern Kentucky University, USA) and Robert M. Mason (University of Washington, USA)
Copyright: © 2007 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/jthi.2007100102
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This article frames the requirements definition phase of systems design as a problem of knowledge transfer and learning between two communities of practice: IS designers and system users. The theoretical basis for the proposed approach is Wenger’s (1998) framework for social learning, which involves three dimensions: alignment, imagination, and engagement. The article treats the requirements definition task in systems design as a set of activities involving mutual learning and knowledge transfer between two communities of practice (CoP) along these three dimensions. In taking this approach, the article maps the results of past research on the systems design process onto this CoP framework and illustrates that the proposed framework encompasses the same activities used by traditional methods of requirements definition. However, this approach focuses attention on the learning that must take place between the two CoPs and thereby helps resolve some of the inherent shortcomings of prior efforts and approaches. The framework provides both a more encompassing conceptual lens for research on improving the requirements definition task and practical guidance for managers who are charged with a systems design project.

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