Getting real about ICT: Applying critical realism to the framing of information and communication technologies

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: Hype about information and communication technology (ICT) emphasizes potential positive outcomes; while enabling factors are under‐emphasized and potential negative outcomes are excluded. The purpose of this paper is to broaden the framing of ICT to include enabling factors and potential negative outcomes.

    Design/methodology/approach: The paper takes the form of a critical realist study. Critical realist research seeks to improve understanding of causal mechanisms and causal contexts.

    Findings: Comprehensive enablers for decision making include balanced unambiguous information; specific trustworthy communication; quiet sufficient decision spaces; and independent engaged decision makers. The introduction of a new ICT can make a contribution to, and/or detract from, realization of these principal enabling factors.

    Research limitations/implications: In this paper ICT is positioned within a preliminary comprehensive framing of enabling factors for decision making. ICT is used for other purposes. Nonetheless, the positioning of ICT in a preliminary comprehensive framing for decision making support reveals how hype about ICT can be mediated by consideration of enabling factors and potential negative outcomes.

    Practical implications: The broader framing of enabling factors can provide a starting point for managers to undertake comprehensive improvement of information, communication, and contexts for decision making.

    Originality/value: The originality of this paper is that it applies critical realism to mediate hype about ICTs that could be used to support decision making. The value of this paper is that it provides a detailed description of inter‐related factors that need to be managed in decision making support.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)296-319
    JournalManagement Research Review
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • communication technologies
    • critical realism
    • decision making support
    • framing
    • information and communication technology
    • technology management


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