Gender Reflexivity: A Missing Element from Action Research in Information Systems


  • Teresa Waring


Action Research, Information Systems development


Much of the literature on AR in IS appears to have forgotten its radical roots and its subjective epistemology. More rigorous, mechanistic approaches and control mechanisms are continuing to emerge rather than more insightful and innovative methods of interpretation and reflexivity to facilitate making sense of the research. AR is a methodology, like ethnography, that involves people and as such is subject to organisational power and politics that can have dimensions of age, race, social class as well as gender. This paper argues that action researchers involved in information systems development should become more critical in their approach and provide insight into their research by avoiding linguistic reductionism and sanitised stories that remove the struggle, conflict and injustice inherent in all organisations involved in change. This can be done in a variety of ways. One such approach is by developing and presenting stories that are interpreted through different lenses that reveal to the reader new dimensions in the research. The lens used in this paper is a gender lens.



1 Jan 2002