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How Does the Lens of Pragmatism Help in Understanding, Using, or Improving Work System Theory?

Steven Alter
University of San Francisco, USA

This paper explores linkages between work system theory (WST) and central concerns of the SIGPrag community related to theorizing the IT artifact and its organizational and societal context. The first part of the paper provides background about the development, basic ideas, and underlying premises of WST. In addition to summarizing older facets of WST, it summarizes three new extensions of WST, a service value chain framework for looking at service systems in terms of service concepts, a metamodel (Alter, 2010a) for looking at work systems in more depth than is supported easily by the work system framework, and a concept classification matrix (Alter, 2010e) that can support analysis and design activities and that might provide a way to organize a body of knowledge for the IS field. The second part of the paper returns to the questions about the fit and synergy between WST and the interests of the SIGPrag community. While it is clear that WST fits with central themes in pragmatist IS interests and research, such as usefulness, action, change, and knowledge, the potential synergy between WST and existing research topics in the SIGPrag community is not obvious.

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Reference:Alter, S. (2010). "How Does the Lens of Pragmatism Help in Understanding, Using, or Improving Work System Theory?," Proceedings > Proceedings of SIGPrag Workshop . Sprouts: Working Papers on Information Systems, 10(121). http://sprouts.aisnet.org/10-121
Keywords:pragmatist IS research, work system method, work system theory, systems analysis and design
Item Type:Article - Volume 10 Article 121 (2010)
Email: Steven Alter (alter@usfca.edu)

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