A dialectical framework for problem structuring and information technology

I. Millet, J. L. Gogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This paper proposes that problem structuring is characterized by dialectical processes, and that different problem situations call for differing emphasis on the organizing versus disorganizing potential of information technologies. The term 'dialectical' emphasizes the conflicting forces of structuring and unstructuring in processes of problem solving. A case study of an enterprise software conversion project examines four processes: structuring, unstructuring, groping, and adjusting. Applying the dialectic perspective to the classic Gorry and Scott-Morton framework yields propositions as to which of these four processes should be emphasized by information systems addressing different types of problems. Implications for the design of decision support systems and for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)434-442
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Operational Research Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Information Systems
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Marketing


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