Phronesis, Argumentation and Puzzle Solving in IS Research: Illustrating an Approach to Phronetic IS Research Practice

Ngwenyama Ojelanki, Klein Stefan


Abstract
The embedding of information systems (IS) infrastructure into everyday social activity is creating intractable value conflicts for society. However, IS research largely focuses on: (1) episteme, explanatory and predictive theories; and (2) techné, theories of action for implementation and management of IS technologies. Consequently, we lack applicable knowledge for deliberating about IS value conflicts. The third type of knowledge, phronesis, which Aristotle proposed to inform ethical application of episteme and techné, has not been given much attention in our discipline. Presently, we are experiencing a critical limitation in our capabilities for generating ethically applicable IS knowledge in the face of increasing value conflicts arising from pervasive digitalisation. In this paper, we introduce phronesis, discuss its philosophical foundations and illustrate an approach to phronetic enquiry into the underlying value conflicts of a failed national IS infrastructure project. Our aim is to strengthen and expand IS research methods for systematic critical enquiry into social-values dilemmas resulting from continued embedding of IS technologies into our social world. Keywords: Phronesis, value conflicts, IS infrastructure, digitalisation and ethical dilemmas, argumentation, retroduction, eHealth infrastructure, innovation

Keywords
Phronesis, value conflicts, IS infrastructure, digitalisation and ethical dilemmas, argumentation, retroduction, eHealth infrastructure, innovation



Publication type
Article in Journal

Peer reviewed
Yes

Publication status
Published

Year
2018

Journal
European Journal of Information Systems

Volume
28

DOI