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Journal Issue
Volume 17 Issue 4 / Dec 2019  pp192‑243

Editor: Ann Brown

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A Model for Improving Knowledge Generation in Design Science Research through Reflective Practice  pp192‑211

J.T. Janse van Rensburg, Roelien Goede

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Activity Theory used as an Analytical Lens for Business Research  pp212‑228

Raphael Kamanga, Patricia (Trish) M Alexander, Fredrick Kanobe

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Abstract

Activity Theory is used in this paper to demonstrate the process of critical analysis of qualitative data from two case studies. The paper explains the elements of an activity system (the subject, object, outcome, mediating tools, rules, community and division of labour). Thereafter, practical examples from the work of two recent PhD students are used to show the importance of identifying and analysing activities that are found either in the introduction or the current use of information systems in business organisations. These examples highlight the applicability of Activity Theory in analysing data from projects of interest to Business Management whose topics and contexts are very different. The first focusses on the introduction of an Accounting Information System to microbusinesses in a low‑income community in South Africa and the second focusses on Information Security Management in Mobile Network Organisations in Uganda. The examples illustrate the value of Activity Theory as a lens and as a way of stimulating critical analysis. Activity Theory is known for its ability to identify reasons for failure or disappointing performance in existing situations by highlighting contradictions either between different activities, between an earlier version of an activity and a later version as the activity evolves, or within an activity (between the elements of that activity). However, as shown in the first example, it can also be seen as a useful tool when proposing a new project as a predictor of success. Despite the fact that data is typically qualitative, the analytical process related to Activity Theory can be structured, which assists novice researchers or those unaccustomed to interpretivist analysis to uncover insights that are not immediately obvious. Activity Theory is said to act as a lens in data analysis and is particularly useful in organisational sciences for the theorization of technology‑mediated organizational change. 

 

Keywords: Activity Theory, contradictions, analysis of qualitative data, technology-mediated organisational change, Accounting Information Systems, Information Security Management, participative action research, case study

 

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Charting a Clear Course Through the Methodological Jungle: Lessons About PAR from and for Simulation‑Based Educational Research  pp229‑242

Suzaan Hughes, Frances Scholtz

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EJBRM Editorial for Volume 17 Issue 4 2019  pp243‑243

Ann Brown

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