Novice-based data collection methods for the study of IOIS: practice probes and learning communities

Abstract

In response to the increasing influence of practice theory perspectives for studying organisational and inter-organisational information systems, we demonstrate that an important dilemma from this perspective for data collection methods is between authentic access to practices and the ability to thematize knowledge of practices. We propose a promising new approach to this dilemma that uses the learning experiences of novice practitioners to collect data as they are progressively enrolled in the practice, and describe two instantiations of this new approach, practice probes and learning communities.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Baskerville, R. L., & Myers, M. D. (2004). Special issue on action research in information systems: making is research relevant to practice – foreword. MIS Quarterly, 28(3), 329–335.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Baskerville, R. L., & Wood-Harper, A. T. (1996). A critical perspective on action research as a method for information systems research. Journal of Information Technology, 11(3), 235–246.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Blackler, F., & Regan, S. (2009). Intentionality, agency, change: practice theory and management. Management Learning, 40(2), 161–176.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Cicourel, A. V. (1964). Method and measurement in sociology. New York: The Free Press.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Dreyfus, H. L. (1992). Being-in-the-world: a commentary on Heidegger’s being and time, division I. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Feldman, M. S., & Orlikowski, W. J. (2011). Theorizing practice and practicing theory. Organization Science, 22(5), 1240–1253.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Gaver, B., Dunne, T., & Pacenti, E. (1999). Cultural probes. Interactions, 6(1), 21–29.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Gherardi, S. (2009). Introduction: the critical power of the ‘practice lens’. Management Learning, 40(2), 115–128.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Giddens, A. (1984). The constitution of society -- Outline of the theory of structuration. Berkley et al.: University of California Press.

  10. Hult, M., & Lennung, S.-A. (1980). Towards a definition of action research: a note and bibliography. Journal of Management Studies, 17, 241–250.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Jones, M. R., & Karsten, H. (2008). Giddens’s structuration theory and information systems review. MIS Quarterly, 32(1), 127–157.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Kubicek, H. (1992). The organization gap in large-scale EDI systems. In R. J. Streng, C. F. Ekering, E. van Heck and J. F. H. Schultz (Eds.), Scientific research on EDI - “Bringing worlds together”, Proceedings of the EDISPUUT Workshop, May 6th and 7th, 1992 (pp. 11–42). the Netherlands Alphen aan den Rijn: Samsom Publishers.

  13. Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning – Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  14. Lederman, R., & Johnston, R. B. (2011). Decision support or support of situated action: lessons for system design from effective manual systems. European Journal of Information Systems, 20, 510–528.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Levina, N. (2005). Collaborating on multiparty information systems development projects: a collective reflection-in-action view. Information Systems Research, 16(2), 109–130.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Levina, N., & Vaast, E. (2005). The emergence of boundary spanning competence in practice: implications for implementation and use of information systems. MIS Quarterly, 29(2), 335–363.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Linstone, H. A., & Turoff, M. (1975). The Delphi method: Techniques and applications. Reading: Adison-Wesley.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Morgan, D. L. (Ed.). (1993). Successful focus groups: Advancing the state of the art. Newbury Park: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Neuman, W. L. (2000). Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Nicolini, D. (2009). Articulating practice through the interview to the double. Management Learning, 40(2), 195–212.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Olson, M. (1965). The logic of collective action – Public goods and the theory of groups. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Orlikowski, W. J. (1992). The duality of technology: rethinking the concept of technology in organizations. Organization Science, 3(3), 398–427.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Orlikowski, W. J. (2000). Using technology and constituting structures: a practice lens for studying technology in organizations. Organization Science, 11(4), 404–428.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Orlikowski, W. J., & Iacono, C. S. (2001). Research commentary: desperately seeking the “IT” in IT research – a call to theorizing the IT artifact. Information Systems Research, 12(2), 121–134.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Reckwitz, A. (2002). Toward a theory of social practice – a development in culturalist theorizing. European Journal of Social Theory, 5(2), 243–263.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Reimers, K. & Johnston, R. B. (2008). Explaining persistence and resilience of inter-organisational information systems: Theoretical and methodological considerations, in proceedings of the 16th european conference on information systems, Galway, Ireland, June 9–11, 2008.

  27. Reimers, K., Johnston, R. B., & Klein, S. (2010). The difficulty of studying inter-organisational IS phenomena on large scales: Critical reflections on a research journey. Electronic Markets 20(3-4), 229–240.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Reimers, K., Johnston, R. B., & Klein, S. (2012). Evolution of inter-organizational information systems on long timescales: A practice theory approach. In K. Vaidya (Ed.), Inter-organizational information systems and business management: Theories for researchers (pp. 38–54). Hershey: IGI Global.

  29. Ringberg, T., & Reihlen, M. (2008). Toward a socio-cognitive approach to knoweledge transfer. Journal of Management Studies, 45(5), 912–935.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Schatzki, T. R. (2005). The sites of organizations. Organization Studies, 26(3), 465–484.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Schein, E. H. (1992). Organizational culture and leadership (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Simon, H. A. (1976). Administrative behavior. A study of decision-making processes in administrative organizations. N.Y.: Collier Macmillan Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Susman, G. I., & Evered, R. D. (1978). An assessment of the scientific merits of action research. Administrative Science Quarterly, 23(4), 582–603.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Venkateswaran, R., & Prabhu, G. N. (2010). Taking stock of research methods in strategy-as-practice. The Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 8(2), 156–162.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Wenger, E. (2002). Communities of practice – Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Zucker, L. G. (1977). The role of institutionalization in cultural persistence. American Sociological Review, 42, 726–743.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

This research has been supported by the German National Science Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, grant number 1328/3-1), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant numbers 70890081, 70972029, 71110107027, 70831003, 71273151), and the Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission (grant number Z07020600290793).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kai Reimers.

Additional information

Responsible Editor: Hans-Dieter Zimmermann and Nilmini Wickramasinghe

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Reimers, K., Johnston, R.B., Guo, X. et al. Novice-based data collection methods for the study of IOIS: practice probes and learning communities. Electron Markets 23, 285–293 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12525-013-0126-6

Download citation

Keywords

  • Inter-organisational information systems (IOIS)
  • Research methods
  • Data collection
  • Practice theory
  • Communities of practice
  • Embodied knowledge

JEL classification

  • C8