References on Critical Social Theory

This is a list of references on Critical Social Theory (CST). After a brief introduction which suggests those works which are essential reading for newcomers to the field, the list is organized into two parts: the first part lists some important citations related to the approach in other disciplines (including the source disciplines), the second lists citations related to the approach in Information Systems. You can use the Edit Find command in Netscape to look for a specific citation.

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[Introduction] [Citations in Other Disciplines] [Citations in Information Systems]


For a general introduction to Critical Social Theory, the book by Held (1980) is excellent.

A good comparison of positivist, interpretive, and critical research philosophies as they pertain to information systems research is the article by Orlikowski and Baroudi (1991). A more indepth treatment of CST and its relation to IS research is the article by Ngwenyama (1991). For a more recent treatment of critical social theory, see the article by Hirschheim and Klein (1994).



Citations in Other Disciplines

Alvesson, M., and Willmott, H. (eds.). Critical Management Studies, Sage Publications, London, 1992a.

Alvesson, M., and Willmott, H. (eds.), "On the idea of emancipation in management and organization studies," Academy of Management Review (17:3) July 1992b, pp. 432-464.

Bernstein, R.J. Beyond Objectivism and Relativism, University of Pennsylvania Press, Pennsylvania, 1983.

Broadbent, J., Laughlin, R. and Read, S. "Recent Financial and Administrative Changes in the NHS: A Critical Theory Analysis," Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 2, 1991, pp. 1-29.

Feenberg, A. Critical Theory of Technology. Oxford University Press, New York, 1991.

Forester, John. "Critical ethnography: on field work in an Habermasian way," in Critical Management Studies, M. Alvesson, and H. Willmott (eds.), Sage Publications, London, 1992, pp. 46-65.

Foucault, M. The Archaeology of Knowledge, Tavistock, London, 1972.

Giddens, A. The Constitution of Society: Outline of the Theory of Structure, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, 1984.

Habermas, J. The Theory of Communicative Action: Reason and the Rationalization of Society, Vol. 1, T. McCarthy (tr.), Beacon Press, Boston, MA, 1984.

Held, D.Introduction to Critical Theory: Horkheimer to Habermas, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1980.

McCarthy, T. The Critical Theory of Jurgen Habermas, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1982.

Thompson, J.B. and Held, D. (eds.). Habermas: Critical Debates, Macmillan, London, 1982.



Citations in Information Systems

Dietz, J.L.G. and Widdershoven, G.A.M. "Speech Acts or Communicative Action?" Proceedings of the Second European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, 1991, p. 235-248.

Dietz, J.L.G. and Widdershoven, G.A.M. "A comparison of the linguistic theories of Searle and Habermas as a basis for communication support systems," in Linguistic Instruments in Knowledge Engineering, R. Van der Reit, and R. Meersman, (eds.), North-Holland, New York, 1992, p. 121-130.

Hirschheim, R. and Klein, H. "Realizing Emancipatory Principles in Information Systems Development: The Case for ETHICS," MIS Quarterly (18:1), March 1994, pp.83-109.

Klein, H. and Hirschheim, R. "The Application of Neohumanist Principles in Information Systems Development," in Human, Organizational, and Social Dimensions of Information Systems Development, Avison, D, Kendall, J.E. and DeGross, J.I. (eds.), North-Holland, Amsterdam, pp. 263-280.

Lehtinen, E., and Lyytinen, K. "Action based model of information system," Information Systems (2:4), 1986, pp. 299317.

Lyytinen, K. and Ngwenyama, O.K. "What does computer support for cooperative work mean? A structurational analysis of computer supported cooperative work," Accounting, Management and Information Technologies (2:1), 1992, pp. 19-37.

Lyytinen, K. "Information systems and critical theory," in Critical Management Studies, M. Alvesson, and H. Willmott (eds.), Sage Publications, London, 1992, pp. 159180.

Madsen, K.H. "Breakthrough by Breakdown," in Information Systems Development for Human Progress in Organizations, H.K. Klein and K. Kumar (eds.), 1989, pp. 41-53.

Mingers, J.C. "Towards an Appropriate Social Theory for Applied Systems Thinking: Critical Social Theory and Soft Systems Methodology," Journal of Applied Systems Analysis (7), 1981, pp. 4149.

Murray, F. "Techical rationality and the IS specialist: Power, discourse and identity," Critical Perspectives on Accounting (2) 1991, pp. 5981.

Myers, M.D. "A disaster for everyone to see: an interpretive analysis of a failed IS project," Accounting, Management and Information Technologies (4:4), 1994a, pp. 185-201.

Myers, M.D. "Dialectical hermeneutics: a theoretical framework for the implementation of information systems," Information Systems Journal (5:1), 1995, pp. 51-70.

Ngwenyama, O.K. "The Critical Social Theory Approach to Information Systems: Problems and Challenges," in Information Systems Research: Contemporary Approaches and Emergent Traditions, H-E. Nissen, H.K. Klein, R.A. Hirschheim (eds.), NorthHolland, Amsterdam, 1991, pp. 267-280.

Orlikowski, W.J. "Integrated Information Environment or Matrix of Control? The Contradictory Implications of Information Technology," Accounting, Management and Information Technologies (1:1), 1991, pp. 9-42.

Orlikowski, W.J. & Baroudi, J.J. "Studying Information Technology in Organizations: Research Approaches and Assumptions", Information Systems Research (2) 1991, pp. 1-28.

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Revised: February 05, 2004

This work was published in MISQ Discovery on May 20, 1997. This is the original archival version. It is currently maintained by Michael D. Myers. Corrections, clarifications, and suggested modifications should be directed to him at Serious problems should be referred to the Editor-in-Chief.