Communication in organizations: the heart of information systems

  • We propose a theory characterizing information systems (IS) as language communities which use and develop domain-specific languages for communication. Our theory is anchored in Language Critique, a branch of philosophy of language. In developing our theory, we draw on Systems Theory and Cybernetics as a theoretical framework. "Organization" of a system is directly related to communication of its sub-systems. "Big systems" are self-organizing and the control of this ability is disseminated throughout the system itself. Therefore, the influence on changes of the system from its outside is limited. Operations intended to change an organization are restricted to indirect approaches. The creation of domain-specific languages by the system itself leads to advantageous communication costs compared to colloquial communication at the price of set-up costs for language communities. Furthermore, we demonstrate how our theoretical constructs help to describe and predict the behavior of IS. Finally, we discuss implications of our theory for further research and IS in general. Keywords: Language Critique, language communities, communication, self-organization, IS research

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Author:Roland HoltenORCiDGND, Christoph RosenkranzORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Sprouts : Working Papers on Information Systems
Publisher:Information Systems Department in Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University
Place of publication:Cleveland, Ohio
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2010/10/19
Year of first Publication:2008
Publishing Institution:Universit├Ątsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2010/10/19
Tag:IS research; Language Critique; communication; language communities; self-organization
Copyright: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works License
Source:Proceedings of JAIS Theory Development Workshop. Sprouts: Working Papers on Information Systems, 8(29). ; URL:
Institutes:Wirtschaftswissenschaften / Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 33 Wirtschaft / 330 Wirtschaft
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung, Nicht kommerziell, Keine Bearbeitung 2.0