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Organisations are facing problems of adapting new information technologies to business
strategies. The process of information systems planning (IS) becomes a key component to
ensure the proper alignment between information systems and corporate plans. In this paper,
a critical systems thinking based approach to support the process of information systems (IS)
planning is defined, enabling practitioners to address emerging issues and enhance
possibilities for participation of different stakeholders. Initially, this approach was conceived
of as a combination between the systems theories of autopoiesis and boundary critique.
During a practical application of this approach, issues of ethics related to practitioners seeing
themselves as ‘ethical subjects’ emerged. This motivated the author to complement critical
thinking with Michel Foucault’s notion of ethics in relation to power, which offers those
involved in planning the possibility to reflect about their own ethics. This reflection involves
critical inquiry about ethical identities for subjects, be them individual or collective. The
paper concludes by suggesting some implications of using the notion of power-ethics in the
practice of information systems planning.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2002
EventBritish Academy of Management -
Duration: 3 Sept 20035 Sept 2003


ConferenceBritish Academy of Management


  • Systems Thinking
  • Information systems
  • Foucault

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