Critical perspectives on information systems: an impression of the research landscape
This article complements a paper in an earlier special issue of this volume of the Journal of Information Technology which was entitled 'What Does it Mean to be "Critical" in IS Research?' That paper conducted a preliminary review of the state of critical thinking in the fields of information systems (IS) and organization. In addressing the question 'what is critical research?' it showed how its definition has changed and broadened over time. This paper follows on by opening up some key questions relating to why researchers in IS should view critical research as having a valuable contribution to make. It begins by considering the apparently wide range of researchers for whom critical research has become an activity. Noting earlier calls for more empirical research, the paper looks at some examples of specific empirical applications. This leads us to consider how critical research impacts upon actual IS praxis, in particular the role of the IS professional, systems development and changes in the nature of organizational life itself. This is not intended to be a comprehensive review of the literature. Rather by drawing upon a sample of material covering a range of perspectives it aims to give an impression of the many developments in critical studies on organization and IS and to consider their implications for future direction.