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Lecture 10: Planning and Formulating IS Strategy. This Lecture Examines The findings of Earlier Chapters. A reconceptualisation of information systems strategic management based on these findings. A strategic action framework drawn from the above reconceptualisation.

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lecture 10 planning and formulating is strategy
Lecture 10: Planning and Formulating IS Strategy

This Lecture Examines

  • The findings of Earlier Chapters.
  • A reconceptualisation of information systems strategic management based on these findings.
  • A strategic action framework drawn from the above reconceptualisation.

Steve Clarke

lecture 10 planning and formulating is strategy2
Lecture 10: Planning and Formulating IS Strategy

“IS, it has been argued, can no longer be seen as concerned primarily with the implementation of technological solutions, but emerges, from both practical and theoretical perspectives, as consisting of ‘hard’ technology-based elements and ‘soft’ human-centred elements, in an uncomfortable co-existence. Emerging from this is a perceived need to combine both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ approaches, in order to better serve the technical and social aspects of information systems.”

Steve Clarke

lecture 10 planning and formulating is strategy4
Lecture 10: Planning and Formulating IS Strategy

“What is required in IS strategic management is not the forecasting of some repetitive pattern or predictable event, but the ‘discontinuities’, of which the technological developments which so often enable information systems are a prime example. The answer is not to attempt to forecast such discontinuities, since such forecasting is clearly impossible, but to react once they are identified. Strategy under this approach becomes ‘planning’ for the unknown, and as such must make use of subjective judgement.”

Steve Clarke

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Lecture 10: Planning and Formulating IS Strategy

Any approach to Strategic Information Management must bring together the findings from:

Chapter 1: The Nature of IS

Chapter 2: Lessons from Corporate Strategy

Chapter 5: Strategic Alignment

Chapter 6: Competitive Advantage

This synthesis is the basis of the IS Strategic Model

(Figure 11.3)

Steve Clarke

lecture 10 planning is strategy summary
Lecture 10: Planning IS Strategy: Summary
  • Information systems should be seen as a human-centred domain, enabled by technology, and therefore requiring a mixture of human-centred and technology-based methods.
  • Corporate strategy is similarly and predominantly a human-centred domain, in which planning/design issues should not be allowed to dominate.
  • Information systems strategic issues further support the domain as being human-centred.
  • The overall conclusion is that ISSM needs to be approached from a perspective informed by participative analysis, and a framework has been presented to achieve this.

Steve Clarke

lecture 11 the future of issm
Lecture 11: The Future of ISSM

This Lecture Examines

  • Systems thinking, and its relevance to ISSM.
  • Information systems strategic management from a social systems perspective.
  • A critical systems approach to ISSM.
  • A critique of Habermas as a basis for ISSM, and a return to Kantian thinking.
  • A revised critical systems framework for the process of information systems strategic management.

Steve Clarke

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Lecture 11: The Future of ISSM

“Systems thinking has a direct application within the study of IS generally, and information systems strategic management (ISSM) in particular. A technological approach to IS reduces the complexity of the system of study, and attempts to define it in terms of rules and procedures by which given inputs can be turned into predictable outputs: a so-called deterministic system. A human-centred approach is quite different. Human activity systems are ‘complex’ and ‘adaptive’, and cannot be fully described in terms of rules and procedures. Deterministic systems can be addressed through scientific method. The fundamental basis of science, reductionism, can be used to reduce a system to component parts, devise laws for these components and find the laws hold true when studying the system as a whole. As complexity increases, however, such an approach can be seen to fail.”

Steve Clarke

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Lecture 11: The Future of ISSM

“A critical systems approach to ISSM, by recognising the merits of both hard (technology-based) and soft (human-centred) methods, offers a way forward from the current emphasis on, at worst, solely technological issues, and at best a technological approach which has added to it some acceptance of the need to deal with human activity. To date, within management studies and IS, the primary theoretical support for this approach has been grounded in the work of Habermas, in particular his Theory of Knowledge Constitutive Interests.”

Steve Clarke

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Lecture 11: The Future of ISSM

A Critical Approach to ISSM: Beyond Habermas:

“… a solution is sought from the roots of critical theory which, from a modernist perspective, may be seen to lie in Kantian (1724-1804) thought. From this position, no longer are we to be concerned simply with the system that exists: ‘what is’; we need to be considering the normative position: ‘what ought to be’.”

Steve Clarke

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Lecture 11: The Future of ISSM

Ulrich’s (1983) work has focused on these issues, and uses critique in three distinct ways:

  • To surface the normative content of systems designs.
  • Applied to boundary judgements in helping determine the system of concern.
  • To reveal the normative content in ‘system’ – to challenge “objectivist delusion”.

“The key problem that makes applied science, as compared with basic science, so difficult to justify lies in the normative content that its propositions gain in the context of application” Ulrich (1983).

Steve Clarke

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Lecture 11: The Future of ISSM

ISSM AS CRITICAL SYSTEMS PRACTICE

Though theoretically complex, the practice of applying critique within ISSM is relatively straightforward, and can be seen from a reinterpretation of the ‘Framework for Information Systems Strategic Management’ (Figure 8.2). This reinterpretation gives us a revised critical process for ISSM, represented by Figure 9.3. The basic issues to be included in the framework are:

  • Critique within the ISSM process should have the explicit aim of surfacing the ‘normative’ content of the system ‘design’.
  • Critique should address the values and norms of the system.
  • The justification for this approach lies in the ability to claim that it is based on rational discourse. Such a claim is seen to fail if all involved and affected in the system of concern are not included as participants.
  • Boundaries must be set critically. Critical systems meets this problem head on: the system boundary must include the unknown or even unknowable.

Steve Clarke

lecture 11 the future of issm summary
Lecture 11: The Future of ISSM: Summary
  • The properties of systems can be seen to make systems study directly relevant to ISSM
  • Information systems should be viewed as human activity systems, and investigated theoretically through social theory.
  • A study of social systems reveals IS and corporate strategy to be domains dominated by regulative methods.
  • A radical humanist approach, grounded in Kantian thinking, offers a way forward from this dilemma.
  • The application of critical thinking to ISSM has led to a reconceptualisation of the ISSM process.

Steve Clarke