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Toward an Approach to Generate Forward-Looking Theories Using Systems Concepts

Abstract : The need to generate original theory about information systems phenom ena and ensure that such outputs are forward looking is an important concern. The paper gives examples of how IS project management practice and theories remain underpinned by concepts which do not map to experienced realities. The paper makes the case to use systems thinking approaches to unearth new theories to offer better explanations. In the pursuit of this goal, the paper first provides insight into the as-lived condition that makes human beings prone to being imprisoned by theories of yesteryear. This is done by discussing the role of language in cognition and theory development. In the IS literature, such discussions are limited despite the consid erable attention to on types of theories and anatomies of theories. The paper claims and demonstrates why debate on theory cannot take place without explicit attention to aspects of cognition and as-lived existence. In the context of these discussions, the paper puts forward the suggestion that theoretical contributions rooted in systems concepts could allow for the emergence of forward-looking theory about IS phenomena. As a means of illuminating how to go about developing such theories, the paper provides a brief overview of how soft systems methodology and work systems method concepts can be used in a theorizing framework to achieve this. The main contributions to knowledge are two-fold. First, there is the inter-contextual coherence which is established by creating coherence between as-lived human experience, embodied cognition, theory, and language. Second, within such a con text, we are able to demonstrate a pragmatic approach to generate better explanations about IS phenomena using systems concepts.
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Kosheek Sewchurran, Irwin Brown. Toward an Approach to Generate Forward-Looking Theories Using Systems Concepts. 1st Working Conference Researching the Future (Future-IS), Jun 2011, Turku, Finland. pp.11-26, ⟨10.1007/978-3-642-21364-9_2⟩. ⟨hal-01567995⟩

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