Philosophy in Information Systems (SIGPhil)

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Track Chairs

Alan Litchfield, Auckland University if Technology,
Emmanuel Monod, Shanghai Jiao Tong University,

Track Description

The role of philosophy in Information Systems (IS) is to question fundamental problems about the nature of realities encountered in IS disciplines, how to define and identify the existence of taxonomies, knowledge, human and other values, reason and logic, and the definition and use of language. In the field of IS, philosophy relies on rational argument as much as it does on practical evidence and therefore philosophy uniquely enables the presentation of new theory and the verification or replacement of old. Philosophy covers a broad range of expression from epistemology (the nature and scope of knowledge) to logic (the study of the principles of correct reasoning), from moral and political philosophy and ethics to other applied philosophies.

The Philosophy in Information Systems track provides a forum for scholars who are open to questioning all aspects of Information Systems and seeking to find ways for the field to progress. We invite papers that discuss philosophical aspects of the IS field from all IS domains, and from all angles and levels of inquiry.

Mini-Track 1: Foundations of Information Systems

Nik Hassan, University of Minnesota at Duluth,

This mini-track provides a forum for every subfield in IS to analyze and reexamine the foundations of their subfield in light of exciting developments overtaking the IS field. All our research is based on some philosophical foundations whether we acknowledge them or not. This mini-track provides IS subfields cause to pause and reflect whether or not they have successfully contributed to the progress and stewardship of their domain such that the IS field can truly meet the needs of society. We invite papers that discuss philosophical aspects of the IS field from all IS domains, and from all angles and levels of inquiry. Topics relevant to this track include but not limited to: philosophy of technology; philosophy of information; philosophy of knowledge management; foundations of IS development; philosophy of design science; philosophy of IS education; philosophy of human computer interaction; reexamining “systems” in “information systems,” and rethinking organization science research in IS.

Mini-Track 2: Theory versus practice in IS: how to bridge the gap?

Emmanuel Monod, Shanghai Jiaotong University,

The gap between theory and practice in management has been described as a management crisis (Gulati, 2007), a tension between rigor and relevance (Starkey and Madan, 2001), a double hurdle (Pettigrew, 2001) or the “knowing-doing gap” (Mintzberg 2004; Spender 2007). This mini-track invites all kind of submissions around questions such as the following. How can we improve the impact of academic research on management practice (Shapiro et al., 2007), including IS research? Is the “strategy-as-practice” movement (Peppard, Galliers and Thorogood, 2014) a way to bridge the gap in IS? How can we develop theories of practice in the IS field? (Levina and Arriaga, 2014). How can we develop in IS Mode 2 knowledge (Van Aken, 2004) designed to solve problems and likely to be produced in the workplace through reflection on practice? How can we think about the practice of theorizing, like we do in grounded theory, or theorizing as crafting (Bourdieu et al 1968).

Mini-Track 3: People and Technology

Alan Litchfield, School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, Auckland University of Technology,

The questions related to “People and Technology” range from the concept of dependence, for instance cell phone addiction, to emancipation, for instance access to information. They also include the social pressure that social networks may operate on individuals. Interesting questions include the following. How long can we stand without our cellphone before being excluded from our community of practice? How many communication mistakes can we make on a social network before being excluded from your private social community? In our corporations, in what respect do ERP systems constraint not only innovation? Does sending emails became a risk because they may be used against you? How do concepts such as sociomateriality (Orlikowski and Scott, 2008), “embodiment” (Dourish, 2011) “entanglement” or “dictature of the they” (Heidegger) allow to understand relationships between IT and people? At the corporate level, what happened to the ideal of socio-technical systems? Does IT reinforce control, or may it promote participative management?

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