Concern Solving for IS Development

Concern Solving for IS Development

Mike Metcalfe (University of South Australia, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-104-9.ch007
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Mitroff and Linstone’s (1993) summit work, “The Unbounded Mind,” reiterates the multiple perspectives epistemology that was introduced to IS by Churchman (1971). They explain the advantages of dealing with IS development problems as involving three domains of knowledge–technical, meaning objective; personal, meaning lifestyle and ethics; and organisational, meaning social constructions and politics. They argue these align with Freud’s professional, personal and political layers of anxiety. This chapter focuses on the ‘organisational’ or ‘political’ domain, where the key is being able to deal with conflicting demands from stakeholders. The author recently returned from two years as adviser to the Deputy Premier of South Australia. This epitomises the typical working life of senior executives, who operate almost exclusively at this ‘organisational’ or political domain of analysis. His conclusion from that experience was that ‘problem solving’ in this domain should be relabelled ‘concern solving,’ as it was so much about dealing with stakeholders’ concerns rather than objective problems.

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