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Journal of the Operational Research Society

, Volume 57, Issue 9, pp 1064–1080 | Cite as

Broadening the boundaries: an application of critical systems thinking to IS planning in Colombia

  • J-R CórdobaEmail author
  • G Midgley
Case-Oriented Paper

Abstract

Most current information systems (IS) planning methodologies are focused on achieving plans that provide competitive advantage to business and solve the problems of information needs by using the latest technologies available. This paper presents an alternative approach to IS planning based on critical systems thinking—a research perspective that encourages the analysis of stakeholders' understandings of social contexts prior to the selection and/or design of planning methods. The approach is underpinned by a combination of the systems theories of autopoiesis and boundary critique, and it enables participants to reflect on different concerns and values during IS planning. This approach was applied in a project with a Colombian University, and it helped participants to uncover and address important human issues not usually seen as relevant by traditional approaches to IS planning. In addition, it led the authors to undertake further research on ethics after the project had been concluded.

Keywords

autopoiesis boundary critique critical systems thinking ethics of OR information systems planning systems methodology 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank all the people at Javeriana University who were involved in the project, particularly Diego Torres (our co-facilitator) and the other members of staff in the Computer Science Department, who provided us with so much support.

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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of HullHullUK
  2. 2.Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR)ChristchurchNew Zealand
  3. 3.Victoria UniversityWellingtonNew Zealand

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