From Communicative Action Theory to Socio-Technical Artifacts: Presentation of Three System Prototypes
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Social issues have become as critical as technical ones for the designers of modern socio-technical systems that enable social interaction of any type such as group discussions, group writing or others. Design science research in the Information Systems (IS) discipline deals with the construction and evaluation of IT artifacts (Simon 1996; Hevner et al. 2004), which have impacts on people and organizations. Hence, design research encompasses socio-technical design, within which design issues are not merely concerned with how to make technology more efficient or how technology affects society, but also with issues such as how social concepts can be integrated in technology design, use and evaluation or how social ideals can enlighten technical design and evaluation. The combination of social and technical knowledge is necessary in order to reduce the socio-technical gap (Ackerman 2002), and for this purpose, social theories can be of practical value. In line with the view that ‘nothing is as practical as a good theory’ (Lewin 1945), we think that theories are practical as they allow knowledge to be accumulated in a systematic manner and this accumulated knowledge illuminates professional practice.
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