Autopoietic Approach for Information System Development

Autopoietic Approach for Information System Development

El-Sayed Abou-Zeid
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-933-5.ch085
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In the last decade a new generation of information systems (IS), such as enterprise resource planning, Web-based information systems and knowledge management support systems, have emerged in response to ever-changing organizational needs. As these systems are socio-technical phenomena in which social and technical factors interweave the ways in which people work, the issue of “how to integrate the work activity and social context of users into the IS which is being designed” becomes one of the principal problems of IS development (Bai et al., 1999). Therefore, the need for new information system design theories is recognized. According to Walls et al. (1992), an “IS design theory” must have two aspects—one dealing with the description of the system and one dealing with the prescription, that is, the process of developing of the system. The prescription aspect includes a description of procedures and guidelines for system development. In addition, these two aspects have to be grounded on theories from natural or social sciences, that is, kernel theories. Therefore, the development of new IS design theories requires a closer look at the system theories that go beyond the traditional system theory that is based, among other things, on Cartesian dualism, that is, mind/body or cognition/action, and on a model of cognition as the processing of representational information (Mingers, 2001). One of the candidate theories is the theory of autopoiesis, which can be best viewed as a system-grounded way of thinking with biological foundations, together with its extension into social domain.

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