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Sebastian Boell

Photo of Sebastian Boell

MA Saarland; PhD UNSW
Senior Lecturer

Rm 4063
H70 - Abercrombie Building
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia

Telephone +61 2 9351 2882
Fax +61 2 9351 7294
Web Sebastian Boell's site


Dr. Sebastian Boell joined the department of Business Information Systems at the University of Sydney Business School in 2014. He investigates how information and communication technologies (ICT) shape how organisations are able to create understanding about themselves and their environment. Seeing organisations as complex, continuously changing social systems Sebastian explores foundational questions about information systems, such as:  How do ICT shape organisational information? and, How do organisations change and adapt with and through information over time?

Sebastian’s research draws from his multi-disciplinary training in Information Systems, Information Science, Cognitive Psychology, Engineering and further expertise in different research methodologies including: histography, qualitative research, interpretive work, scientometric and bibliometric approaches, practical information retrieval and literature analysis. This broad intellectual foundation is applied to problems such as: the use of technology for remote work (telework); conducting literature searches and analysis; the visibility of research output in journals, libraries and online; the creation of knowledge in academic disciplines; and for investigating fundamental concepts in information systems and information science.

Sebastian holds a PhD in Information Systems from the University of New South Wales and an MA in Information Science from Saarland University, Germany. He has received several awards at international conferences for his research, including best conference theme paper at the International Conference on Information Systems. His research is published in top-tier journals across the fields of Information Systems, Information Science, and Work and Organizational Studies (see section Publications and Research Interests for further details). Sebastian currently serves as director for the Business and Labour History Group (BLHG) and is an active member in the Digital Disruption Research Group (DDRG).

Research Interests

Information and communication technologies (ICT) have a broad influence on how organisations are able to collect, store, provide and process information. ICT are thus shaping what organisations and individual actors within organisations know and can know about the organisation itself and its environment. Seeing organisations as complex, continuously changing social systems Dr. Boell asks questions, such as: How does technology shape organisational information?; How can we understand information systems? ; Or, how do organisations change and adapt with and through information over time?

Methodologically and conceptually, Sebastian’s work draws from histography, qualitative research methods, practice theory, process philosophy, sociomateriality, the late Wittgenstein's philosophy of language, social systems, interpretive work, virtual ethnography, as well as scientometric and bibliometric approaches. Sebastian also has an interest in Free and Open Source Software and the history of computer games.

Sebastian has broad research expertise as he has investigated ICT in various research projects including the use of technology for remote work (telework) and the role of ICT in shaping organisational information over longer time-frames. He also engages with problems beyond a narrow disciplinary focus, engaging with problems such as: how to approach literature search and analysis in the social sciences, or how scholarly claims of contributing to knowledge can be persuasively argued for. Finally, Sebastian investigates philosophical questions regarding the ontological status of the existence and nature of information and information systems.

Sebastian’s transdisciplinary and innovative research received several nominations and awards at international conferences including the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), the Australasian Conference on Information Systems (ACIS), and the Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS). Sebastian also received awards for his PhD and MA dissertations (ASIST ProQuest Doctoral Dissertation Award 2013, Professor Weinstock Memorial Price, VFI Award 2008). He has published in leading international journals across Information Systems, Information Science, as well as Work and Organizational Studies. Journals his work has appeared in includes: Journal of Information Technology (JIT), Information and Organisation (I&O), New Technology Work and Employment (NTWE), Communications of the Association of Information Systems (CAIS); the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST), and Scientometrics. For more detail on his publications please see the section Publications.

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Selected grants

Recent Units Taught

  • INFS2001 IS for Performance Improvement

    2016: S1, SS,

  • INFS5002 Digital Business Foundations

    2018: S1, S2,
    2017: S2,
    2016: S1, S2,