Integrating philosophy into IS research

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Faculty of Business and Law


School of Management




Dobson, P. (2007). Integrating philosophy into IS research. In the Proceeding of the Conference on Information Management and Internet Research (CIMIR). Perth, Australia: Edith Cowan University.


This paper argues for a more intimate role for philosophy in IS research. Orlikowski and Baroudi (1991) suggest that IS research is dominated by the interpretive, critical and positivist perspectives. This paper suggests that that a modern realist approach be included as a potential category for IS research. Such an approach is critical realism which can provide an ongoing and integrated role for philosophy in research by providing what Bhaskar (1979) describes as "underlabourer and occasional midwife". The term underlabouring is taken from Locke (1894, p. 14) as "clearing the ground a little ... removing some of the rubbish that lies in the way of knowledge". As a philosophy of the social sciences critical realism is well grounded to examine the social implications of technology implementation, particularly enterprise systems with their ongoing and wide ranging organizational and social implications.

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