Information technology as ontology : a phenomenological investigation into information technology and strategy in-the-world
This dissertation offers a phenomenological approach to the comprehension of Information Technology (IT) and Strategy, and of the relationships between these two phenomena. We argue that in order thoughtfully to understand the manifold connections between IT and Strategy, their contradictions, shortcomings, and possibilities, one has to rely on the essence of each of these phenomena. The rationale of this approach implied the need to make explicit the ontological assumptions on which the investigation relies. An essential uncovering of that which IT and Strategy are can only take place as long as we lay bare a primary position on the nature of that which is. Martin Heidegger's Being and Time and, to a lesser extent, the theory of autopoiesis are the foundations of this investigation. We claim that these theories are paradigmatically consistent and show relevant complementarities, namely in what concerns the issues of action information, and knowledge. The matching of these two theories provides the ontological and epistemological grounds of the investigation. Within this fundamental setting we argue that IT and Strategy will only essentially show up as long as they are accessed in-the-world in which they are. The research applies the phenomenological method of investigation in its original form as developed by Edmund Husserl. However we extend the Husserlian formulation in a last phase by using the arguments of Heidegger on the opening up of possible concealed meanings of phenomena. The method sets the boundaries of the research. IT and strategy are phenomenological analysed not as empirical objects, event, or states of affairs, but as intentional objects of consciousness. These are formally indicated from the outset of the investigation as the ITness of IT and the Strategyness of Strategy. The central conclusions of the investigation are that (1) IT is an ontological phenomenon substantively penetrating the being-in-the-world we, ourselves, are; and, (2) Strategy, essentially choosing to choose, has been unfolding throughout History guided by the concealed meaning of a striving for an authentic identity. These essential notions uncover a complex set of relationships between the phenomena. Those relationships are thus described and characterised. We also show that although phenomenology is not empirical its results have many important implications for the empirical world.