Learning with Information Systems: Learning Cycles in Information Systems Development

By Simon Bell | Go to book overview

2

INFORMATION SYSTEMS AND PLANNING IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
The purpose of this chapter is to discuss, first separately and then collectively, the literature on the two critical factors of information systems and planning in developing countries. The questions tackled in this chapter are drawn out from the general issues covered in Chapter 1:
• Recognising that situations in the developing countries can be complex because of risk and uncertainty, what systems approaches are available to deal with such complexity?
•How does the analyst select a methodology and what weight does subjective preference have in dealing with the selection?
• What are the essential characteristics and assumptions of hard and soft (or quantitative and qualitative) approaches?
• How are eclectic approaches intended to improve upon hard and soft approaches? In this section Multiview, discussed briefly on page 28, is discussed in more detail.
• What can be learnt from the previous experience of planning in poorer countries? First the experience of agricultural research science is reviewed. Second the planning of rural development as a whole is considered.
• What points arise from existing information on analysis and design in such countries?

Figure 2.1 shows these questions leading off from the themes of Chapter 1.


ANALYSIS AND DESIGN AND COMPLEXITY

There is a wealth of material on how systems methods can be applied in complex situations in order to solve problems (see, for example, a selection of the papers in Knight 1989 on user participation; Checkland and Scholes 1990a; Avison and Wood-Harper 1990; or Avison and Fitzgerald 1988). A framework for reviewing systems methods in terms of their capacity to deal with complexity has been developed by the Systems Group at the Open University; it is described in detail in the third-level course T301 (Open University 1987).

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Learning with Information Systems: Learning Cycles in Information Systems Development
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures viii
  • Tables x
  • Acknowledgements xii
  • Abbreviations xiv
  • Summary of Contents xv
  • Part I - Introducing the Context 1
  • 1 - Introduction and Background 3
  • 2 - Information Systems and Planning in Developing Countries 30
  • Part II - The Question and the Approach 57
  • 3 - The Question for This Book 59
  • 4 - Selecting the Research Approach 62
  • Part III - Action-Research Learning 83
  • 5 - Learning Cycle 1: a Department of Roads 85
  • 6 - Learning Cycle 2: an Administrative Staff College 123
  • 7 - Learning Cycle 3: a Board for Technical Education 148
  • Part IV - Overview and Conclusions 175
  • 8 - An Overview of the Learning Process 177
  • 9 - The Next Steps 195
  • Notes 208
  • Bibliography 210
  • Index 224
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