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Journal Article

Evaluating Information Systems according to Stakeholders: a pragmatic perspective and method  pp73-88

Jenny Lagsten

© Jan 2011 Volume 14 Issue 1, ECIME 2010 Special Issue, Editor: Miguel de Castro Neto, pp1 - 166

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In the last decade several researchers have addressed the problem that there does not seem to be much evidence of extensive use of interpretive evaluation approaches in practice. Researchers have though recognized the interpretive evaluation approach as well founded academically and theoretically offering potential advantages such as stakeholder commitment and learning opportunities. One reason for this non‑use could be that there are few, if any, interpretive evaluation methods ready at hand for evaluators in practice. An interpretive IS evaluation method means a method in support for doing evaluation as interpretation. This research presents a practical method for doing evaluation of information systems as a joint act of interpretation performed by the stakeholders of the information system in use. In our research we have expanded the interpretive philosophical base to embrace a pragmatic knowledge interest in order to underpin the overall strive for evaluation that is to contribute to change and betterment. The method presented is named VISU (Swedish acronym for IS evaluation for workpractice development). The process of evaluating accordingly to the VISU method has been extensively tested in practice and in theoretical grounding processes and is now considered ready for wider use. The research process for developing VISU has been conducted with canonical action research through parallel work with evaluation and method development in six episodes within two cases. VISU consists of prescribed actions that are anchored in a set of underlying principles stemming from the philosophy of American pragmatism. Evaluation according to VISU is performed in three phases; arrange, evaluate and develop. In the paper VISU is described according to phases, actions, main concepts and principles. The use of VISU is demonstrated through examples from a performed evaluation of an information system in support for social welfare services.


Keywords: IS evaluation, stakeholder model, interpretive IS evaluation method, pragmatism, action research


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