Date of Award

1-1-2005

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (Information Systems)

Faculty

Faculty of Business and Law

First Advisor

Mark Williams

Abstract

The diagram shown in figure 1 gives an impression of this thesis around the key words slavery, enslavement, emancipation, freedom, power, critical thinker, and artistic writer. The text at the centre reads "my rich model evolution during this thesis." On rereading the text, I wonder if it is referring to my own evolution during the research, which could be described as "rich model," or the evolution of the rich model that encapsulates, and in one sense is, the chief contribution of the thesis.

That I use this sentence and this impressionistic diagram to begin this abstract should signal to you, dear reader, that this thesis tells my truth, with a little't', in my own way, about my reflective practitioner investigation of my experience of being part of the information systems profession and then part of a Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A) programme. As such, it is what some may term post-modem, although I hesitate to describe it as such.

Through my lived experience as an enslaved information systems professional, I can relate to the current situation of asymmetric warfare (note the picture of a fighter plane dropping a bomb with the word "hacker" under), asymmetric industrial relations, and some other forms of the master-relationship relationship. In my career as an information systems' professional I have experienced that here is a constant that permeates the world: that parties desire to achieve greater power over any other competitor while sacrificing as little as possible of their own resources. Whether this is an actual war or just a simple jousting for advantage, the process remains similar: Two structuralist sides in conflict. Perhaps this simple description is the apparent reason why most fights are simply a zero-sum game, that is, one side wins ( + 1) and the other loses (-1).

There are however variations to this theme. Hegel's Master-slave dialogue is one. In this case the vanquished who is now a slave, eventually gains power over their master, the original victor, not through force of arms, but by becoming indispensable to the Master. The major and subtle weapon the slave possesses is time with obsequiousness that leads to dependency of the master to the actions of the slave.

Again through my lived experience of near imagined slavery, I can also relate to another form of conflict that is now upon us, that of a structuralist formal army supported by post-structuralist critical-thinkers and the artist-writers of a post-modernist society against a structuralist guerrilla grouping, with a post-modem idealism giving vital quasi or actual intellectual support. This leaves the structuralist formal army seeking effective and favourable counters to this asymmetric situation through the weakness of the guerrilla forces, that is, a lack of critical-thinkers; else, it will see a form of defeat that is reliance upon the guerrilla force not to attack. It is a modem and curious situation where an overwhelming force seems to be impotent against a quick, opportunistic, attack by a much smaller, under-resourced opponent. Yet, if the guerrilla forces do in fact win, what is the result within the territory the guerrillas now control? It seems that it is not an egalitarian-based modem democracy, or even a functioning theocracy. The key is the critical-thinker, without these people who ask questions, embarrassing ones most times, the necessary balance to support a string of freedoms is lacking. The major problem is where do the guerrilla forces find these people, and support them by not exterminating them as counter-revolutionaries, thereby creating the basic weaknesses to the system they wish to impose.

However, the above guerrilla case need not prevail. In my experience of organisational relationships, which are by their very nature asymmetric, a structuralist organisation can defeat even its deadliest asymmetric foe - an enslaved, passed over, disgruntled, and sabotage-prone information systems employee. I was one such employee, one such enslaved person.

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