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This year's SIGPHIL workshop at ICIS 2013 gets to the crux of two philosophical approaches that both claim to defend a realist ontology but are neither positivist nor interpretivist . The workshop seeks to cut through all of the confusing philosophical jargon by comparing and contrasting in a "rubber meets the road" examination of their core elements, strengths and limitations.

12/15/2013 to 12/16/2013
When: 15-16 DEC, 2013
7:30-10:00PM DEC 15, 6:00-10PM, DEC 16
Where: ICIS Conference
Milano, Italy
Contact: Nik R. Hassan
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Milano, Italy - December 15-16, 2013

In conjunction with the 2013 International Conference of Information Systems (ICIS), the AIS Special Interest Group on Philosophy (AIS-SIGPHIL) will hold its third concurrent-ICIS SIGPHIL Research Workshop during two evenings of the ICIS conference in Milano, Italy. Although labeled as a workshop, this event provides an opportunity to attend the ICIS conference and at the same time spend quality time with thought leaders of the IS community in an informal and friendly environment.


Alistair Mutch, Nottingham Trent University, UK

Benjamin Mueller, University of Mannheim, Germany

John Mingers, University of Kent, UK

Kai Riemer, University of Sydney, Australia

Karlheinz Kautz, University of Wollongong, Australia

Nik R. Hassan, University of Minnesota Duluth, US

Ulrike Schultze, Southern Methodist University, US


This year's workshop gets to the crux of two philosophical approaches that appear to be at odds but claim to defend a realist and post-positivist ontology (Leonardi and Barley 2010; Mingers 2004; Mutch 2002; Orlikowski and Scott 2008). The workshop seeks to cut through all of the confusing philosophical jargon by comparing and contrasting in a "rubber meets the road" examination of their core elements, strengths and limitations. As evidenced by recent conference panels, two special issues in MIS Quarterly (Special Issue on Critical Realism September 2013, Special Issue on Sociomateriality forthcoming) and spirited exchanges in the Information and Organization journal, including one of the journal's most downloaded article by Alistair Mutch (2013)("Sociomateriality — Taking the wrong turning"), the supporters of both approaches promise an equally interesting workshop discussion. The goal of this discussion is to get to the heart of the matter on:

· The origins of both approaches, their commonalities and differences

· The kind of language that will support productive IS research

· Empirical methods that highlight the strengths of the approaches for understanding, explaining or predicting IS phenomena

· The future of both approaches in the IS field

Join us as the workshop speakers and panelists go beyond defending the merits of their viewpoints towards a nexus that will enhance the IS field.

Sun, Dec 15, 2013 (Arrival day)

6:00-7:30pm ICIS Welcome reception

7:30-8:15pm Keynote/Discussion led by Prof. Alistair Mutch "Sociomateriality-Taking the Wrong Turn”

Prof Alistair will kick-off the workshop with a deliberation on the origins of both approaches, their commonalities and why one may be more suited for IS than the other.

8:15-10:00pm Response to Prof. Mutch's Keynote discussion by panelists Profs Ulrike Schultze, Benjamin Mueller, Karlheinz Kautz and Kai Riemer.

Mon, Dec 16, 2013

5:30-7:00pm Dinner

7:00-8:00pm Second keynote presentation by Prof John Mingers

9:00-9:45pm Workshop paper reviews by attendees

9:45-10:00pm Workshop wrap-up


We invite you to submit your philosophy-related works, or works-in-progress to be reviewed by selected discussants. Papers can be as short as 2 pages or full-length papers. Papers should be designed to encourage in-depth discussion during the workshop. Submitting authors will present their papers and discussants will be selected to discuss each paper. We are particularly interested in papers that are close to the theme of the workshop, in particular papers that address theories and theorizing in IS. However, we welcome all papers on any IS philosophy-related topics. This workshop also provides an early review for authors interested in submitting to the Advance Theories and Theorizing Track at the ECIS 2014 Conference in Tel-Aviv. Doctoral students and junior faculty members are especially encouraged to submit their research. Student papers will be given special consideration. The SIGPhil can provide written confirmation for authors needing support for conference travel. Submit all papers to the EasyChair conference site https://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=sigphilicis2013 before October 20th, 2013.

Important Information and dates:

Register for ICIS Conference and workshop as early as possible

Workshop Registration Fee: $80 includes one dinner

Submission deadline https://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=sigphilicis2013 for workshop papers: October 20th, 2013

Decision on papers: November 5th, 2013

Discussant for paper appointed: November 15th, 2013

SIGPhil Home Page: http://sigphil.wordpress.com


Association for Information Systems (AIS) Special Interest Group on Philosophy (SIGPhil)

The SIGPhil provides a focal point for philosophy-related topics and discussions in information systems (IS) research that are currently dispersed over many conference proceedings, journals and books. By drawing on the philosophical literature, the SIGPhil seeks to strengthen the exchange of ideas and community ties within the AIS and with other disciplines, especially the human, cultural and social sciences, and ultimately enhance IS research and the application of research results. Home page: http://sigphil.wordpress.com


Leonardi, P.M., and Barley, S.R. 2010. "What's under Construction Here? Social Action, Materiality, and Power in Constructivist Studies of Technology and Organizing," The Academy of Management Annals (4:1), pp. 1-51.

Mingers, J. 2004. "Real-Izing Information Systems: Critical Realism as an Underpinning Philosophy for Information Systems," Information and Organization (14:2), pp. 87-103.

Mutch, A. 2002. "Actors and Networks or Agents and Structures: Towards a Realist View of Information Systems," Organization (9:3), pp. 513-532.

Mutch, A. 2013. "Sociomateriality — Taking the Wrong Turning?," Information and Organization (23:1), pp. 28–40.

Orlikowski, W.J., and Scott, S.V. 2008. "Sociomateriality: Challenging the Separation of Technology, Work and Organization," The Academy of Management Annals (2:1), pp. 433-474.

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