Action in Language, Organisations and Information Systems

  The development of information technology has had a tremendous impact on organisations during the last decades. New information systems have been introduced and the effects of them are both positive and negative. The management of IT in organisations is a very challenging task. Too often implementation of new information systems fails.
       The relations between the IS and its organisational context are complex and the theoretical understanding of these complex phenomena and relations are still not sufficiently deep.

The complexities of the organisational practice of information systems put demands on research and knowledge. There are many conceptual approaches aiming at describing and explaining these complex phenomena. Where do we find the promising ones?

Some approaches emphasise the action concept. Without acknowledging actions, there seems to be difficult to create good scientific descriptions and explanations. Although such approaches may have differing theoretical perspectives, they have a unifying interest in the action concept and its explanatory power. Examples of such approaches are

  • activity theory
  • actor network theory
  • structuration theory and
  • language action theory.

There may be other approaches with theoretical influences of more or less explicit action orientation, such as social phenomenology, symbolic interactionism, ethnomethodology, soft systems theory, critical social theory, hermeneutics, social semiotics, socio-pragmatism, practice theory and affordance theory.
       Together with this interest in action comes also an interest in many related issues, as for example, knowledge, language, communication, social interaction, social institutions, coordination, artefacts, power and values.

The purpose of this research workshop is to bring together researchers with an interest in action-theoretic approaches for studying information systems and their relations to organisations.
       It is a main assumption that such a forum will contribute to fruitful meetings between research traditions of different kinds but with some action-theoretic affinities. We hope that researchers coming from different traditions can benefit from this attempt of crossing borders and elaborating syntheses.