Synthesizing User Centered and Designer Centered IS Development Approaches Using General Systems Theory

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This paper uses general systems theory to provide an expanded view of information systems in organizations. Three general viewpoints and corresponding approaches to information systems development are identified. The designer centered or American approach to information systems development is based on a “functionalist” perspective of information systems and a problem solving orientation. The user centered or European approach to information systems development takes an expanded view of information systems that specifically considers humans and recognizes their aspirations and goals and uses a democratic, participative approach to develop systems in an effort to produce an improved workplace and a better quality of worklife for users. A third viewpoint on information systems development, business process centering, is identified that further expands the components of the system to include the set of integrated tasks that provide value to the customer. We define a new development approach that combines the strengths of these approaches based on general systems theory, business process centering, and a measurement and control system.

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