Journal of Information Technology

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 301–311 | Cite as

Information technology as disciplinary technology: being critical in interpretive research on information systems

  • Bill Doolin


This paper argues that interpretive researchers need to consciously adopt a critical and reflective stance in relation to the role that the information technologies which they describe play in maintaining social orders and power relations in organizations. The concern of the paper is to highlight-potential shortcomings in the treatment of technology in interpretive research on information systems, but also to present a specific approach to studying information technology and organization which may overcome these weaknesses. By utilizing a perspective drawn from the discursive and disciplinary work of Foucault and recent work on the sociology of technology, we can complement the thick description of interpretive research with the broader sweep of critical social theory.


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Copyright information

© Association for Information Technology Trust 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bill Doolin
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Interdisciplinary Management Studies, University of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand

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