The Challenge of Epistemic Divergence in IS Development

The organizational environment increasingly demands that computer-based information systems are responsive to change and can work with each other seamlessly (ideally from a dynamic perspective). Given the large investment that organizations have in mission-critical legacy systems, evolutionary maintenance and systems integration now form a very significant part of the cost and effort profile of systems development. In terms of the integration issue, much of the difficulty lies in the fact that different systems often contain different ‘representations’ of the world. In the development process, it is generally accepted that the ‘information’ an information system contains about its business domain(s) is an essential intellectual part of the system, and the domain of fundamental concern. This concern is generally regarded as unitary, however, requiring no further breakdown into parts and it is commonly perceived that its relation to the business information system is simple and direct.


Communications of the ACM, Vol. 52, No. 6. p. 127, June 2009


Chris Partridge (BORO Solutions)
Mark Lycett (Brunel University)