Is action research state of the art and future directions
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IS action research: State of the art and future directions. Ola Henfridsson Viktoria Institute & Halmstad University. Action Research. Dual goal: “The action researcher is concerned to create organizational change and simultaneously study the process” (Baskerville and Myers 2004, p. 329-330)

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Is action research state of the art and future directions

IS action research: State of the art and future directions

Ola Henfridsson

Viktoria Institute & Halmstad University


Action research

Action Research

  • Dual goal: “The action researcher is concerned to create organizational change and simultaneously study the process” (Baskerville and Myers 2004, p. 329-330)

  • Common motivations:

    • Epistemology: pragmatism

    • Relevance to practice

  • Promising methodology, but many different models of action research

  • Action research characteristics (Baskerville and Wood-Harper 1998):

    • Process model (Iterative, reflective, linear)

    • Structure (rigid, fluid)

    • Researcher involvement (collaborative, facilitative, experiment)

    • Primary goals (organizational development, systems design, scientific knowledge, training)


Types of is action research baskerville wood harper 1998

Types of IS action research (Baskerville & Wood-Harper 1998)


Is action research

IS action research

Two observations:

1. Few examples of empirical AR studies (with the objective of making a domain-specific (substantive) contribution to, e.g., KM or ERP)

  • Relatively many examples of AR theorizing (new models of, or perspectives on, AR)

    2. The IT-artifact has a marginal role in IS action research

  • IT-artifact = “bundles of material and cultural properties packaged in some socially recognized form such as hardware and/or software” (Orlikowski and Iacono 2001)


Is action research state of the art and future directions

Observation #1: Few examples of empirical AR studies (with the objective of making a domain-specific (substantive) contribution)


Dominance of ar methodology contributions

Dominance of AR methodology contributions

Dominance of AR methodology contributions

  • Two lately published special issues:

    • IT & People (2001: Editors: Kock and Lau): 6 articles

    • MIS Quarterly (2004: Editors: Baskerville and Myers): 6 articles

  • Domain-specific (substantive) contributions

    • Davison (2001)

    • Iverson et al. (2004)

    • Kohli and Kettinger (2004)

    • Lindgren, Henfridsson, and Schultze (2004)

    • Street and Meister (2004)

    • Yoong and Gallupe (2001)

  • AR methodology contributions

    • Avison, Baskerville, and Myers (2001)

    • Braa, Monteiro, and Sahay (2004)

    • Chiasson and Dexter (2001)

    • Mårtensson and Lee (2004)

    • McKay & Marshall (2001)

    • Mumford (2001)


Reflections on the current state

Reflections on the current state

  • Methodological development important

  • However, the value of AR must be evaluated in light of alternative methodologies

    • in terms of its capacity to facilitate substantive research contributions

    • in terms of its promised relevance to practice

  • MISQ special issue important to legitimize AR

  • However, action researchers have still things to prove


Observation 2 the it artifact has a marginal role in is action research

Observation #2: The IT-artifact has a marginal role in IS action research


Background the role of the it artifact in ar

IT-artifact:

“bundles of material and cultural properties packaged in some socially recognized form such as hardware and/or software” (Orlikowski and Iacono 2001)

Less inclusive than Hevner et al (2004): (constructs, instantiations, methods, and models)

Role:

Part in the researchers’ action

Part in developing the research contribution

Background: the role of the IT-artifact in AR


Reflections on the current state1

Reflections on the current state

  • The IT-artifact is part of the researchers’ action in some IS action research (3 out of the 6/12)

  • The IT-artifact is basically never a significant part of the contribution (developing the contribution)

  • This is a problem in IS action research


Two recent ar projects

Two recent AR projects

  • Design principles for Competence Management Systems [1999-2001]

    • Lindgren, R., Henfridsson, O., and Schultze, U. "Design Principles for Competence Management Systems: A Synthesis of an Action Research Study," MIS Quarterly (28:3) 2004, pp 435-472.

  • Multi-Contextuality in Ubiquitous Computing [2002-2004]

    • Henfridsson, O., and Lindgren, R. "Multi-Contextuality in Ubiquitous Computing: Investigating the Car Case through Action Research," Information and Organization (15:2) 2005, pp 95-124.


Ar methodology in use at viktoria

AR Methodology in Use at Viktoria

  • Canonical action research (Davison et al. 2004; Susman & Evered 1978)

  • Prototype-based action

  • Delivering “design principles” for a specific system type grounded in socio-technical theory

  • IT-artifact in focus: without leaving social issues behind?


Background

Background

  • Modern automobile – success for ubiquitous computing technologies

    • Whole set of computer systems

    • Weaved into the fabric of our everyday life

  • However, the vehicle has been traditionally a closed system

  • Telematics is slowly changing this

  • The connected car

  • Implications for product development, insurance, car maintenance, transportation,


What is telematics

What is telematics?

  • The integrated use of telecommunications, positioning technologies, and IT

  • Specifically, the use of such systems within road vehicles

  • GM’s OnStar

    • All GM brands (and a few other) sold in the US

    • Subscription model: different service packages

  • Fleet management, infotainment, remote diagnostics, vehicle management, and many more


Personal telematics

Personal telematics

  • Integrated use of mobile devices and embedded computing platforms for providing in-car user services

  • Provides temporary and synchronized networks between vehicles and mobile devices for leveraging the convenience and safety such services

  • Lifecycle differences

  • Competition from aftermarket solution providers


Multi contextuality in ubiquitous computing

Mobile services are multi-contextual

Used over different spatio-temporal contexts by people on the move

Combining mass-scale with situated support: design challenge

Different use requirements in boundary-spanning mobility

Minimal assumptions about use contexts for maximizing mobility and personalization (Lyytinen and Yoo 2002)

Multi-contextuality: the co-existence of different use contexts

Multi-contextuality in ubiquitous computing


Multi contextuality in the car setting

Multi-Contextuality in the Car Setting

  • The Car Setting

    • Supports spatial/physical mobility

    • Mobile devices used for handling the temporality of social activity (cf. Kakihara and Sørensen 2002)

    • Provides advanced computing and connectivity capabilities

  • What are the socio-technical design implications related to the co-existence of different use contexts in the car?

  • Grounded action research study (Baskerville & Pries-Heje 1999)

    • Saab Automobile, Mecel, and Vodafone

  • Objectives

    • Develop and evaluate design principles for handling multi-contextuality surrounding mobile device use in cars

    • Explore socio-technical implications in an authentic setting


Mobile phone use in cars categories concepts and data

Mobile phone use in cars: categories, concepts, and data


Is action research state of the art and future directions

MOBILE DEVICE MANIPULATION

(PHYSICAL) CONTEXT CHANGE

ATTENTION-SHIFTING

PRE-PARING

(WIRED) WORK-AROUNDS


Design principles

Design principles

  • The principle of context switching support:

    • Support switches between different physical and social contexts.

  • The principle of contextually adapted manipulation:

    • Provide the user with device or service controls adapted to the spatio-temporal conditions in question.

  • The principle of context-sensitive service synchronization:

    • Make selective services associated with the mobile device available (deemed plausible for the car setting) to users.


The seamlesstalk prototype

The SeamlessTalk prototype

  • Facilitates driver (or passenger) control of Bluetooth-equipped mobile phones brought into the car

  • Embeds the design principles developed


Evaluation overview

Evaluation overview


Ubicomp challenges

UbiComp challenges

  • Synchronizing fluid use patterns

    • Differences in individual use patterns make it hard to deliver mass-scale services

    • The openness of mobile devices triggers an abundance of such use patterns

    • Increased number of services provided by multi-purpose devices

  • Scaling service manipulation

    • A UbiComp environment cannot always be assumed to meet the specific requirements of the services hosted

    • Different interaction models, e.g., differences in temporal assumptions

  • Signaling context-switches through awareness support

    • Context-switching can be a source of uncertainty

    • Signaling context-switches can be an appropriate way to place computing in the background, e.g., audio, motion, and visual feedback


Is action research state of the art and future directions

Many thanks for your attention!


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