Monday, 23 March 2009

Discussion of research

We are due our PhD students day, when we have discussions around the table with ten minutes for each student to present their work to each other and to academics. Occasionally, academics have little to contribute but are still interested. See last year's discussion here.

Today, with no round table pressure I had the luck to discuss my research with a senior academic in IT, who works in the OU and has researched IT using social capital. He read the paper I'd sent to EURAM, and my OUBS web page, and then he asked me useful questions, like
  • what's the difference between social capital and trust?
  • what is capital?
  • what is engagement?
  • what is quality of engagement?
  • why IT?
  • why the public sector?
  • where's the value arise from engagement?
He suggested relevant literature, including, Habermas. Habermas is not where I would have gone, but apparently he described four forms of communication:
  • instructive
  • strategic
  • discursive
  • co-ordinative (not Habermas's term)
I could use Habermas's forms as ways of analysing engagement along a spectrum. See the theory of communicative action.

Another interesting point he made is that there is an IS Professor Dunleavy at LSE who has researched and written on macro level IT systems in national public sectors. He's found that IT projects are governed by national interest in building capacity of an IT industry in a global market place. If a nation, such as UK or Japan has an IT industry then it is more loath to pull out of failing public IT projects than countries like Holland that doesn't have an IT industry to contribute to the economy.

May the PhD day turn out as useful.

I suspect the Professor Dunleavy is the Patrick Dunleavy who wrote that really useful text on Authoring a Phd : How to plan, draft, write and finish a doctoral thesis or dissertation that I mentioned here.

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