IT Artefact Design & Workpractice Intervention



An international workshop for IS scholars interested in one or more of the following related issues:

  • design science research
  • theorizing the IT artefact
  • action research and other intervention strategies
  • theorizing practices and work-systems
  • the use of action-oriented theories in IS
  • practice relevance and usefulness of IS research
  • researcher-practitioner collaboration
  • engaged scholarship
  • practice research
  • pragmatist epistemology
There is a growing interest in IS research for research strategies aiming for design and change. This can be pursued through design science research (Hevner et al, 2004), action research (Davison et al, 2004) or combinations thereof (Sein et al, 2011). Accompanying an interest for the design of IT artefacts is a quest for theorizing the IT artefact (Orlikowski & Iacono, 2001). Improved understanding of IT artefacts is needed in relation to their design, use and evolution. An improved understanding of the context of IT artefacts is needed as well. There is growing interest to theorize the context as practices (Feldman & Orlikowski, 2011; Goldkuhl, 2011) or work-systems (Alter, 2006). This includes an interest for the combined social and material characters of such practices (Orlikowski & Scott, 2008).

The interest for design and change follows the claim for relevance and usefulness of IS research (Benbasat & Zmud, 1999) and the importance of researcher-practitioner collaboration (Mathiassen, 2002). This kind of research orientation have been giving different labels like e.g. engaged scholarship (Van de Ven, 2007; Mathiassen & Nielsen, 2008), mode 2 knowledge production (Nowotny et al, 2001), practice research (Mathiassen, 2002; Goldkuhl, 2011) or practical science (Gregor, 2008). Pivotal in this search for more relevant and useful research is the articulation of supportive, prescriptive and normative knowledge. This can take the form of design theory (Gregor & Jones, 2007) or the broader notion of practical theory (Cronen, 2001; Goldkuhl, 2007).

In order to bring these different threads together we must turn to pragmatist epistemology. There is a re-introduction of pragmatism as a viable research paradigm in some social sciences (Wicks & Freeman, 1998; Fishman, 1999) including information systems (Goles & Hirschheim, 2000; Ågerfalk, 2010; Goldkuhl, 2012) as manifested by the formation of the AIS Special Interest Group on Pragmatist IS Research (SIGPRag) in 2008 ( The pragmatist foundations of design science research (Lee & Nickerson, 2010) and action research (Baskerville & Myers, 2004) have also been acknowledged.

Pragmatist epistemology joins together the different threads described above:
  • Knowledge in the making
  • Relevant and useful knowledge
  • Knowledge of actions and practices

The purpose of this workshop is to bring together scholars interested in one or more of these pragmatist threads. This is done in order to weave a pragmatist web to be more powerful in its knowledge generation and use. Theoretical reflections and concrete examples are demanded!