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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2451/14404

Title: STUDYING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY IN ORGANIZATIONS: RESEARCH APPROACHES AND ASSUMPTIONS
Authors: Orlikowski, Wanda
Baroudi, Jack J.
Issue Date: Feb-1990
Publisher: Stern School of Business, New York University
Series/Report no.: IS-90-04
Abstract: We examined 155 behavioral information systems research articles published from 1983-1988 and found that while this research is not rooted in a single overarching theoretical perspective it does exhibit a single set of philosophical assumptions about the nature of valid evidence and the phenomena of interest to information systems researchers. We argue in this paper that these philosophical assumptions draw on the natural science tradition, and hence may not always be appropriate for inquiry into the relationships between information technology and people or organizations. In particular, we suggest that the development and use of information technology within organizations is inherently processual and contextual, and that these characteristics are not always adequately captured by the philosophical assumptions prevalent in information systems research. Positing social process as central to information systems phenomena asserts the importance of studying the ongoing interactions among people, information technology and organizations, as these are situated historically and contextually. We argue in this paper that the dominant research perspective in information systems research is not well-equipped to deal with situated interactions over time, and propose additional research philosophies to augment the one currently favored by behavioral information systems researchers. We outline the features of such additional research perspectives, the interpretive and the critical, providing empirical examples to illustrate how and when they may be useful. We conclude that multiple research perspectives can usefully be employed within the information systems community to enrich understanding of behavioral information systems phenomena.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2451/14404
Appears in Collections:IOMS: Information Systems Working Papers

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