The philosophy of critical realism—An opportunity for information systems research
Kluwer Academic Publishers
Faculty of Business and Public Management
School of Business
It is argued that recent research in the information systems field has tended to either emphasise the structural/collective dimension or the agency/individual dimension, not both. Structuration theory is a more recent attempt to address both agency and structure, however there are a number of issues with the use of structuration theory in information systems research, not the least of which is its lack of recognition of the temporal and longitudinal nature of information systems development. A relatively new philosophy, critical realism, provides the potential for a new approach to social investigations in its provision of an ontology for the analytical separation of structure and agency. The philosophy is introduced and its implications for sociological investigation are discussed.