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The Good Person in Information Systems Development: A Reflexive Investigation of HCI in the Acquisition Process
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Human - Computer Interaction, MDI.
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

This thesis is an exploration of why the development of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) systems (IS) does not include more humanistic issues. I argue that this exclusion is one reason for the annoying situation of users and organizations: we are forced to deal with poorly designed systems that cause major frustration. In this reflexive investigation I present theories, data, analysis and arguments in the form of a theatrical script. With the theatre metaphor I aim to make visible the ideological elements not only within IS acquisition but also within research, in particular HCI research. The thesis includes three studies performed during 2003-2005: two interview studies with a total of 47 interviews, and one field study with extensive observations and 22 interviews. The material was analyzed with a focus on power structures and the ways common sense is constructed within the discourses of Information Systems Development (ISD). The theoretical perspective is inspired by discourse theory, social constructionism, and reflexivity. The main argument is that ISD is pervaded by a truth construct in which rationality and logic constitutes the norm and everything else, including humans, becomes subordinate. In my analysis of the research material I see that user participation through informal “methods” and user representation does not lead to meaningful involvement; instead it adds to the power structures in which ICT expertise and technology determination are hegemonic. I distinguish several significant subjects within the discourses of ISD and argue that the ways they are construed and positioned relate to certain functions; for example ICT experts as authority and users as trouble makers both function to exclude users from ISD. HCI has an important role as a resistive discourse but to increase its impact we must refocus our attention on systems development, directing our efforts towards the procurers of ICT systems instead of trying to integrate human perspectives into the functional paradigm.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2008. , 173 p.
Trita-CSC-A, ISSN 1653-5723 ; 2008:14
Keyword [en]
Human-computer interaction, information systems development, acquisition, procurement, reflexivity, discourse analysis
National Category
Communication Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9111ISBN: 978-91-7415-126-8OAI: diva2:24296
Public defence
2008-10-14, D3, Lindstedtsvägen 5, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
QC 20100913Available from: 2008-10-03 Created: 2008-09-19 Last updated: 2010-09-13Bibliographically approved

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