Twenty one years ago Russell Ackoff (1967) published a scathing attack on the design principles underlying the development of “Management Information Systems”. Amongst the assumptions he identified as being erroneous were that managers suffer from a lack of information, that each manager needs the information he/she wants, and that the possession of information improves decision making. Twenty years on Dick Boland (1987) berates IS researchers for failing “to address the essence of information in our work”. He goes on to describe five “fantasies” which, he claims, are part of our everyday working assumptions when thinking about information systems in organisations. These “fantasies” include the belief that information consists of structured data, that an organisation as a whole is similarly structured data, and that information is perfectable. Boland argues that these fantasies are false and that they present “a distorted and unfounded view of language, communication and the importance of dialogue in the creation of meaning”.
KeywordsDition Harness Metaphor Dick Banner
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