Round Table: Maung K. Sein - What exactly do (or should) we design?
The College of IS&T Round Table presents:
Maung K. Sein
Professor of Information Systems at University of Agder, Norway
Visiting Professor Position at Luleå University of Technology, Sweden
What exactly do (or should) we design?
Thursday, September 18th, 2014
12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
(Talk starts at 12:30 p.m.)
Subs and sodas provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As designers of IT artefacts, we all agree that we design for users, even though the relative emphasis on users varies by the paradigm of the field to which we belong Information Systems (IS) or Informatics or Software Engineering or Computer Science. As researchers and practitioners in IS, we work at the intersection of IT and People (individual users or organizations). Hence, we adhere to the concept of socio-technical systems (STS) where what we design is a mix of the social and the technical. While this is intuitive (at least to me), it also throws up a challenge that has sustained over the years: What exactly do we design? Is it a technological artefact or “technology wrapped in the organization and the individual”? The question we wrestle with can be stated as: To what extent is this process and act of design center around producing a piece of technology primarily or are we actually designing routines, processes and procedures that are embedded in that piece of technology? At the core of this question lies how we conceptualize technology. In this talk, I will present and discuss three current perspectives of the IT artefact – sociomateriality, affordances and “IT as ensemble”. All of them can inform design (or already have), but all are also controversial and much debated. I will try to provide a flavor of the discourse and present my own ideas of how we can answer the question: What exactly do (or should) we design? In doing so, I hope to exchange ideas with the audience and be informed by the audience.
Maung K. Sein is Professor of Information Systems at University of Agder, Norway, and holds a visiting Professor position at Luleå University of Technology, Sweden. He has previously served on the faculties of Florida International University, Indiana University and Georgia State University in USA and at The University of Bergen in Norway. He has been a visiting scholar at Claremont Graduate University USA, Helsinki School of Business and Economics Finland (now Aalto University) and the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) in Thailand. He has a Ph.D. and an MBA in Management Information Systems from Indiana University USA, an MBA in Finance from University of Dhaka Bangladesh, and a BSc. in Electrical Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. His current research is on the role of Information and Communication Technology in national development (ICT4D), e-Government, and proactive research approaches. He has published in such prestigious journals as MIS Quarterly, Information Systems Research and Information Systems Journal. Currently a Senior Editor of Journal of AIS and eService Journal, his editorial board experience includes MISQ, MISQ Executive, ITDJ, CAIS and guest-editing Communications of the ACM and Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems. He is the chair of IFIP W.G. 9.4 (Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries) and co-founded AIS SIGe-Gov.