Triggers for the critical engagement with decision support systems

Timo Hartmann

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In previous work, we showed that the critical engagement with a decision sup- port system during its implementation by a project team is an important an- tecedent for the successful later use of the technology. However, the mechanisms that trigger such critical engagement are so far not well understood. Drawing on Heidegger's modes of Being-in-the-world this paper provides a theoretical frame to understand trigger mechanisms of critical deliberation in more detail. In particular, I argue that critical engagement is triggered by breakdowns dur- ing which the system becomes unavailable for use. Such breakdowns, in turn, enable thematic deliberation which leads to critical engagement with the de- cision support system. I also argue that breakdowns can alternatively lead to periods of theoretical detachment during which the meaningful use of the deci- sion support system and meaningful manipulations of the system to implement it for a speci�c decision making purpose are not possible. To provide �rst evi- dence for these mechanisms, I will analyze a number of episodes that I observed while participating in a large-scale decision support system implementation ef- fort on a major construction project. By developing and illustrating how critical engagement is triggered by breakdowns, the paper contributes to our in depth understanding of grassroots decision support system implementations by project team
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorking paper series, proceedings of the engineering project organization conference (EPOC 2012), July 10-12, 2012, Rheden, The Netherlands
EditorsA. Javernick-Will, P. Chinowsky
Place of PublicationEstes Park, Colorado
PublisherUniversity of Colorado
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2012
EventEngineering Project Organization Conference, EPOC 2012 - Rheden, Netherlands
Duration: 10 Jul 201212 Jul 2012

Publication series

PublisherUniversity of Colorado


ConferenceEngineering Project Organization Conference, EPOC 2012
Abbreviated titleEPOC
Internet address


  • IR-81184
  • METIS-287612


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