Rethinking Management Information Systems: An Interdisciplinary Perspective

Rethinking Management Information Systems: An Interdisciplinary Perspective

Rethinking Management Information Systems: An Interdisciplinary Perspective

Rethinking Management Information Systems: An Interdisciplinary Perspective

Synopsis

This book examines influential ideas within Management Information Systems (MIS). Leading international contributors summarize key topics and explore a variety of issues currently being discussed in the field. They re-visit influential ideas such as socio-technical theory, systems thinking, and structuration theory and demonstrate their relevance to newer ideas such as re-engineering, hybrid management, knowledge workers, and outsourcing. In locating MIS within an interdisciplinary context, particularly in the light of rapid technological changes, this book will form the link between past and future approaches to MIS.

Excerpt

This section discusses theoretical and methodological perspectives which have influenced thinking on the management of information systems within organisations. One important question which is always at the forefront of any research enquiry is: what is the theoretical foundation of and methodological approach to the study? Whilst it is outside the scope of this volume to enter into a philosophical debate on this subject, it is recognised that, for a research enquiry to have validity, it should be underpinned by theoretical and methodological approaches which are relevant and applicable. This is irrespective of whether the researcher adopts a unitary or pluralist research perspective. Moreover, a failure to address these important theoretical, epistemological, and methodological questions may result in a research offering which may be of interest to practitioners, but lacks intellectual credibility within the academic community.

One of the common criticisms about management research is the tendency of some researchers to commence a research project without first thinking through the theoretical and methodological issues. Research should not occur in an intellectual vacuum, devoid of any theoretical, espistemological, or methodological association. Important questions which are sometimes not addressed by researchers are, for example, 'Can quantitative and qualitative techniques be used together? What are the philosophical objections to adopting a phenomenological as opposed to a positivist approach?', 'How can the preconceptions and biases of the researchers be addressed?, 'Is it possible to adopt a multi-paradigm research methodology for the same research project?', 'What are the key aims and objectives of this research enquiry?'

Although these questions and concerns are difficult to resolve in any research enquiry, no matter how interesting the research problem may be, they should at least be given more than just lip-service by researchers. This is because, all too often, the results of a research study presented at an academic conference or in the form of a journal article frequently confuse fact with interpretation. In other words, ideology, interpretation, and speculation is often presented as 'objective reality'. This sometimes occurs when researchers present quantitative data on individual attitudes to specific social phenomena as proof of objective reality. Conversely, these researchers often seek to dismiss interpretative accounts of reality as 'mere speculation', even . . .

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