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Business Information Systems

Sociomateriality - More than Jargon Monoxide? Questions from the Jester to the Sovereign

Karlheinz Kautz, CBS

10th Nov 2011  10:30 am - 12:30 pm Meeting Room 11, Darlington Centre

Recently the notion of 'Sociomateriality' has gained in popularity among information systems (IS) scholars in their search for providing new ways of investigating and understanding IS in organizations and society at large. While some scholars put forward arguments and research accounts that have the potential of leading to new insights, others provide reports which expose a cursory treatment and partial appreciation of the idea. Certain IS scholars have even been accused to introduce yet more academic jargon monoxide by using the term to explain an important phenomenon. Overall the current use of the concept in IS while showing some potential for progressing the theorizing of the 'wicked relation' of man and the soft-machine (the IS/IT artefact) points to the necessity of a deeper exploration of the term. This talk - inspired by the Alternative Genres Track at ECIS 2012, and based on existing literature dealing with sociomateriality in IS - attempts to "take a fresh look, to evoke new insights, and to gain a deeper understanding"1 of the notion of sociomateriality in the IS field. To ensure a constructive discussion, a particular genre where the audience is invited to attend a prolonged dialogue - characterized by honesty, frank observations, and wit - between the court jester and the sovereign, the queen and the king, is used. In doing so, the hope is to contribute with a refreshing debate that builds on open-minded questions in the pursuit of key answers to strengthen our discipline.

Karlheinz Kautz, Dr philos is professor in Systems Development at the Department of Operations Management at the Copenhagen Business School, Denmark and the former Director of Studies of Europe's oldest course program on IT and Business Administration. Previously he has been employed as a senior researcher at the Norwegian Computing Center and at universities in Germany, Norway, England and Denmark.

He is a founding member and a former chairman of the IFIP TC8 WG 8.6 on Diffusion, Transfer, and Implementation of Information Technology and a member of AIS. He is the former coordinating editor of the Scandinavian Journal of IS. Currently he serves as senior editor or associate editor for the Communications of the AIS, the Journal of Information Technology, Information, Technology & People, and the Journal of Information Technology Theory and Application. His research interests are in systems development, the diffusion and adoption of information technology innovations and the organizational and societal impact of IT.