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Back to the future: digital decision making

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The process of making decisions about the conception, design, development, deployment and regulation of complex information and communications technologies (ICT) systems with the potential to effect significant changes in society could be labelled 'digital decision making' (or DDM, for short). DDM is not the rational process that we might assume or wish it to be. It can even be difficult to define the boundaries of the social, political or technical environments to which the process applies. It depends on craft knowledge, power and agenda, politics and situational messiness, personal values, law and environment, and a host of other factors starkly illustrated by cases ranging from the Three Mile Island to the space shuttle Challenger disasters. Too often DDM leads to information systems failures, and it is time we started to learn from those past failures.

Keywords: Challenger; DDM; McKie; Three Mile Island; decision making; information systems; systems thinking

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Open University, UK

Publication date: October 1, 2008

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