Triggers for the critical engagement with decision support systems


Hartmann, T. (2012) Triggers for the critical engagement with decision support systems. In: Engineering Project Organization Conference (EPOC 2012), July 10-12, 2012, Estes Park, Colorado (pp. 1 - 22).

open access
Abstract:In previous work, we showed that the critical engagement with a decision sup-
port system during its implementation by a project team is an important an-
tecedent for the successful later use of the technology. However, the mechanisms
that trigger such critical engagement are so far not well understood. Drawing
on Heidegger's modes of Being-in-the-world this paper provides a theoretical
frame to understand trigger mechanisms of critical deliberation in more detail.
In particular, I argue that critical engagement is triggered by breakdowns dur-
ing which the system becomes unavailable for use. Such breakdowns, in turn,
enable thematic deliberation which leads to critical engagement with the de-
cision support system. I also argue that breakdowns can alternatively lead to
periods of theoretical detachment during which the meaningful use of the deci-
sion support system and meaningful manipulations of the system to implement
it for a speci�c decision making purpose are not possible. To provide �rst evi-
dence for these mechanisms, I will analyze a number of episodes that I observed
while participating in a large-scale decision support system implementation ef-
fort on a major construction project. By developing and illustrating how critical
engagement is triggered by breakdowns, the paper contributes to our in depth
understanding of grassroots decision support system implementations by project
Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Engineering Technology (CTW)
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