Exclusiveness vs. Inclusiveness in Software Development: The Triple-Loop-Learning Approach

Exclusiveness vs. Inclusiveness in Software Development: The Triple-Loop-Learning Approach

Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger (WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0020-1.ch008
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The question of digital divide along gender and culture is still an important one and has to be re-visited after a long period of scientific discourses. Most of the scientific contributions focus on issues of gender-specific use of computer systems or gender-specific segregation of the field of information and communication technologies. Contrary to those approaches, this chapter deals with how exclusion mechanisms are created during the software development process. It is shown that system designers are strongly biased in terms of gender and culture and unconsciously use their own mental models. Selected results of empirical studies demonstrate how these a-priori assumptions can be made visible, and a new approach of system design, based on the triple-loop-learning concept, will be presented.
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The issues of “gender and ICT” do already have a long discourse tradition (for an overview see Wajcman 2010). At the very beginning of feminist critiques on technology development a major topic was how to increase the female participation in the branch to assure that women’s voice is heard. Although this is a very important issue, it is often overlooked that women always played an important role e.g. in the history of computer science. Be it Augusta Ada Byron, Lady Lovelace giving 1843 the first “program” to Charles Babagge’s analytical machine, or be it the “ENIAC girls” programming the first computational machines (see Gurer, 1995), women contributed strongly and actively to the development of computer systems.

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